Parents of starved diabetic teen refused to accept diagnosis: doctor

A British Columbia physician says the parents of a starved teen refused to accept a diabetes diagnosis when the boy was initially admitted to hospital 13 years before his death.

CALGARY — A British Columbia physician says the parents of a starved teen refused to accept a diabetes diagnosis when the boy was initially admitted to hospital 13 years before his death.

Dr. Laura Stewart, a pediatric endocrinologist, testified Monday that the husband and wife were reluctant to give their son insulin after he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the children’s hospital in Vancouver in 2000.

Emil Radita, 59, and his wife Rodica Radita, 53, are charged with first-degree murder in the 2013 death of 15-year-old Alexandru. The boy, who was one of eight children, weighed less than 37 pounds and died of complications due to untreated diabetes and starvation.

The judge, who is hearing the case without a jury, has yet to decide if the evidence from B.C. will be admitted at trial.

Stewart said Alexandru tested at the severe end of diabetic ketoacidosis, which occurs when the blood becomes acidic and can result in muscle aches, nausea, vomiting and in some cases organ failure. A lack of insulin causes the body to break down muscle and fat cells.

Although their son reacted well to treatment, the parents weren’t allowed to take him home until they had proven they were capable of administering insulin and checking his blood sugar.

“What I remember is the mother still not accepting the diagnosis of diabetes and initially did not want to learn how to manage it. Eventually she did comply on how, to get the child home, but never did acknowledge the diagnosis.”

Alexandru gained weight and appeared to be a healthy child when he came for an outpatient checkup a few months later in February 2001 just after his third birthday. She said his height was just over three feet and he weighed about 35 pounds, which was normal for his age.

Stewart said she saw Alexandru again in October 2003 when he was readmitted after presenting as “very ill” at a hospital in Surrey, B.C.

“Alexandru was so severely malnourished at the time of admission it was felt by the attending staff at the time that he was not safe to be in the care of his family.”

Stewart said children’s services in British Columbia was notified and Alexandru was “apprehended” from his parents care while he was still in hospital.

Dr. Paul Korn, an expert in pediatric emergency medicine works at the hospital. He was called to consult on the case by B.C.’s Ministry of Children and Family Development.

Korn said he talked to the parents and was told that Alexandru had been fine two weeks earlier.

“I was already aware that Alex was a very sick boy. It was hard for me to really understand how a child could be totally well and fine and, over the next two weeks, deteriorate to the point where he is going into hypotensive shock,” Korn said.

Hypotensive shock occurs when not enough blood and oxygen flow to the body’s major organs, including the brain.

Korn said the child was “profoundly malnourished”, with a swollen abdomen and fluid in the lining of the lungs and around his heart.

“I have never seen a patient as malnourished as this in my career. I’ve certainly read about these cases and seen this all on television in terms of countries that have famine.”

Alexandru was put into foster care when he was discharged from hospital.

The Raditas moved from B.C. to Alberta in 2009.

The medical examiner in the case said Alexandru was skeletal in appearance when he died, had very little body fat and was severely underweight. His body was covered with ulcers and his teeth had rotted down to the root.

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

Just Posted

Red Deer Public Schools says that in the absence of additional funds from the provincial government, there was no consideration of using alternate classroom sites in the district. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Red Deer Public Schools launches online engagement process

Red Deer Public schools is seeking community input to help ensure a… Continue reading

Students walk into Hunting Hills High School, which is one of the Red Deer Public Schools with solar panels on its roof. (Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff)
Red Deer high school was placed in lockdown following potential threat

Hunting Hills High School was placed in a lockdown Friday after Red… Continue reading

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer says some details of the provincial government’s 2021-22 budget need to be ‘sorted out’ when it comes to the hospital expansion funding. (File photo by Advocate staff)
More detail needed regarding hospital funding, says Red Deer mayor

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer says some information is unclear regarding the… Continue reading

Alberta Health reported two new COVID-19 deaths in Red Deer Friday. (Image courtesy CDC)
Two more deaths linked to Olymel outbreak in Red Deer

Province reported 356 additional COVID-19 cases Friday

Nicole Buchanan, chair of Red Deer Public Schools board, says it’s too soon to say how the provincial government’s 2021-22 will impact the district. (Contributed file photo)
Red Deer school boards react to provincial budget

It’s still too soon to say how the latest provincial budget will… Continue reading

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

A worker carrying a disinfectant sprayer walks past a WestJet Airlines Boeing 737-800 aircraft, after cleaning another plane at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., on Thursday, January 21, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
WestJet to lay off undisclosed number of pilots amid labour negotiations

WestJet to lay off undisclosed number of pilots amid labour negotiations

The Site C Dam location is seen along the Peace River in Fort St. John, B.C., Tuesday, April 18, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
British Columbia’s Site C dam to cost $16 billion, delayed until 2025

British Columbia’s Site C dam to cost $16 billion, delayed until 2025

Mark Machin, President and CEO of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, speaks at a seminar on building a sustainable social security system in Beijing, China on Monday, Feb.20, 2017. Machin has resigned after admitting he was vaccinated for COVID-19 abroad. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Canada Pension Plan Investment Board MANDATORY CREDIT
CPP Investments CEO Mark Machin resigns after travelling to UAE for COVID-19 vaccine

CPP Investments CEO Mark Machin resigns after travelling to UAE for COVID-19 vaccine

Selina Robinson listens to Premier John Horgan in Coquitlam, B.C., Friday, Nov. 17, 2017. Robinson, B.C's finance minister, says she's encouraged by predictions that British Columbia's economy will rebound this year and next. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Economists predict slight rebound and moderate growth for B.C. economy in 2021

Economists predict slight rebound and moderate growth for B.C. economy in 2021

A street sign along Bay Street in Toronto's financial district is shown on Tuesday, January 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
S&P/TSX composite falls as commodities, financials struggle

S&P/TSX composite falls as commodities, financials struggle

This image released by Briarcliff Entertainment shows Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, left, with journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a scene from the documentary "The Dissident." (Briarcliff Entertainment via AP)
US implicates Saudi crown prince in journalist’s killing

US implicates Saudi crown prince in journalist’s killing

This image released by Amazon Studios shows Maria Bakalova, left, and Sacha Baron Cohen in a scene from "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm." The film was nominated for a Golden Globe for best musical/comedy.(Amazon Studios via AP)
Breakout ‘Borat’ star Maria Bakalova conquers Hollywood

Breakout ‘Borat’ star Maria Bakalova conquers Hollywood

Doctors, caregivers push for in-home COVID-19 vaccinations for housebound seniors

Doctors, caregivers push for in-home COVID-19 vaccinations for housebound seniors

Most Read