Calgary trial hears parents of dead diabetic teen forged blood-sugar readings

A doctor has testified that the parents of a teen who died of starvation and complications from untreated diabetes were providing fake blood-sugar readings while caring for him after his initial diagnosis.

CALGARY — A doctor has testified that the parents of a teen who died of starvation and complications from untreated diabetes were providing fake blood-sugar readings while caring for him after his initial diagnosis.

Dr. Daniel Metzger from the British Columbia Children’s Hospital told the couple’s trial on Tuesday that they refused to believe their son had diabetes and had to be pressured by child and family services to treat him before he could be released from hospital in 2000.

“The major thing that I remember is the initial resistance: that I was wrong about the diagnosis of diabetes, that we hadn’t done the right tests, that we still were not correct with the diagnosis,” Metzger testified.

Emil Radita, 59, and his wife Rodica, 53, have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of 15-year-old Alexandru, who weighed less than 37 pounds when he died in Calgary in 2013.

A judge, who is hearing the case without a jury, has yet to decide if evidence dealing with the family’s time in B.C. will be admitted.

Metzger, a pediatric endocrinologist, was one of the first physicians to deal with Alexandru and his parents when the boy was diagnosed at about age two.

The doctor said training the couple on the basics of diabetes was difficult and, after Alexandru’s release, a community health nurse had to visit the family’s home twice a day to make sure he was getting insulin.

It was discovered in March 2001 that the parents appeared to be taking their own blood-sugar readings and calling them in to the hospital, Metzger said. A check of the blood-sugar meter confirmed that something wasn’t right.

“At one point, the blood sugars were very consistently the same. I’ve been doing this for 23 years. We have a lot of teenagers who fabricate blood sugars. You start to recognize patterns,” he said.

“I concluded that somebody was probably falsifying the blood sugars — perhaps doing their own finger pokes, because you have to put a sample on the meter to get a reading.”

The results from a non-diabetic person were being recorded, Metzger concluded.

The doctor documented his concerns to the government ministry that was looking out for Alexandru. A short time later, the B.C. Children’s Hospital was told the boy was going to be treated at a hospital in Surrey.

After another admission to hospital for malnutrition in 2003, Alexandru was placed in foster care for one year before being returned to his parents. At that point, the boy gained weight, his condition was being managed and he appeared to be thriving, said Metzger, who saw him twice a year until 2008.

A call was placed to children’s services, the doctor testified, after Alexandru failed to appear for a scheduled appointment in July 2008 and another six months later.

“Anybody who misses two visits, we would get concerned. Obviously this is a high-risk situation and so we needed the ministry to try and find him for us,” Metzger said.

“We did as many inquiries as we could do (and) … checked provincial dispensing records. At that point, it had been a year since the parents had bought insulin in British Columbia. We called the school and they hadn’t seen him in a long time.”

The family had moved to Alberta in 2008.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Three more cases of COVID-19 found in Red Deer

Across the province, two more deaths have been confirmed

A message from the Advocate publisher

In good times and bad, The Red Deer Advocate has been here… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools to lay off support staff June 1

Educational assistants at Red Deer Public Schools will be laid off June… Continue reading

Airport primed for expansion

Ambitious vision sees airport as air freight and aircraft servicing centre

Red Deer Food Bank getting support from Dr. Deena Hinshaw T-shirt sales

The Red Deer Food Bank will receive a big donation, thanks to… Continue reading

WATCH: Firefighters, RCMP help Red Deer boy celebrate 3rd birthday

Firefighters and RCMP officers helped a Red Deer boy celebrate his third… Continue reading

Alberta Health Services provides COVID-19 prevention tips

Alberta Health Services has a number of recommendations for people amid the… Continue reading

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

Police in Saskatchewan charge man with killing his parents and son

Police in Saskatchewan charge man with killing his parents and son

PM, Scheer among MPs to donate pay hike to charities during COVID-19 crisis

PM, Scheer among MPs to donate pay hike to charities during COVID-19 crisis

Feds likely didn’t have enough protective gear in emergency stockpile: Hajdu

Feds likely didn’t have enough protective gear in emergency stockpile: Hajdu

Supply-line disruptions could cause Canadian drug shortage

Supply-line disruptions could cause Canadian drug shortage

Duration of COVID-19 measures depends on obeying health authorities: PM

Duration of COVID-19 measures depends on obeying health authorities: PM

Parliament to sit again to approve more COVID-19 relief as spending climbs

Parliament to sit again to approve more COVID-19 relief as spending climbs

Most Read