Pediatric doctor takes stand in retrial of David and Collet Stephan

Another medical professional is taking the stand Thursday in the retrial of David and Collet Stephan.

Their toddler, Ezekiel, died in March 2012 of bacterial meningitis. David and Collet Stephan face one count each of failing to provide the necessaries of life for their son.

Thursday’s testimony was filled by Dr. Shauna Burkholder, a pediatric critical care specialist at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary.

She was the doctor who first assessed Ezekiel at the hospital once he arrived.

Burkholder told the court that the child was not breathing on his own and was unresponsive when he arrived.


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She said based on her own physical assessments, the information she gathered from the boy’s parents, along with information the first doctor who saw Ezekiel in the Cardston Hospital passed along, she strongly suspected bacterial meningitis early on.

She called the CT scan done after Ezekiel arrived one of the most abnormal CT scans she had ever seen.

During cross-examination, David Stephan asked Dr. Burkholder what the symptoms of meningitis would be.

The doctor said some would be headaches, stiffness, vomiting, sensitivity to light, irritability, lethargy and seizures.

Collet and David had previously said their son had flu-like symptoms and they had been treating him with home remedies.

The trial is slated for at least another two weeks.

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