A 7-month-old baby in Belgium has died after being fed vegetable milk by his parents.
Vegetable milk, a vegan milk substitute made from oats, buckwheat, rice, quinoa, and semolina, was the cause of death for a 7-month-old baby in Belgium. The courts, however, have laid the blame squarely on the little boy’s parents.
Newsweek reported that seven-month-old Lucas’s parents, identified only as Peter S. and Sandrina V., maintain that they only had their baby’s best interests at heart. The owners of a health food store, the baby’s parents wanted to feed their son a vegan diet and eschewed the usual cow-based baby formula in favor of their own vegetable milk concoction.
However, it is commonly held that babies need certain specific nutrients in order to grow and develop, and these nutrients are not contained in vegetable milk. While a vegan diet may be suitable for consenting adults, it is not at all sufficient to sustain a human baby, as shown by the tragic death of baby Lucas.
However, it’s not just the parents’ unfortunate choice of diet for their young son that was to blame for the boy’s death. The court, which went on to convict the parents of the death of their son, held that the boy’s death was caused by the “systematic offer of food which was not suitable.” The court also found that the parents ignored all warning signs that their young son was in medical trouble.
CBS News reported that at the time of his death, baby Lucas weighed just nine pounds, much lower than the acceptable weight for a 7-month-old boy. ABC News added that the baby had gained only 2.2 pounds since his birth.
In addition to his small size and weight, the parents allegedly opted not to seek medical attention when their son was “gasping for air” in the days leading up to his eventual death.
After he died, it was found that the baby’s stomach was completely empty and his organs had shrunk to half their usual size.
Not only did the parents fail to seek medical care for their son when he showed signs of dehydration, malnutrition, and breathing problems in the days leading up to his death, Peter S. and Sandrina V. had never sought medical care for their son. The Belgian public prosecutors submitted evidence to the court that doctors’ offices and other medical clinics had no record of the child, nor did child protective services.
Lucas’s father testified that the baby had never visited a doctor’s office or medical clinic because “we never noticed anything unusual.” However, it was also submitted into evidence that the parents had attempted to drive to a homeopathic doctor “on the other side of the country” when it became apparent that Lucas was starving.
While finding the couple guilty of the death of their son, the court nevertheless conceded that they had “truly loved” their child and that it was for this reason that a lenient six-month suspended sentence was imposed.
“It is clear that the defendants have already been severely punished because they need to proceed with life in the knowledge that they are responsible for the death of their son, who they truly loved.”
[Featured Image by URAIWONS/Shutterstock]