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Antibiotics were administered prior to blood tests, court hears

June 14, 2019

A pediatric intensive care specialist offers explanations to David and Collet Stephan as to why there were no signs of bacteria in toddler’s blood.

It is the end of the second week of the retrial of David and Collet Stephan. The couple was originally convicted for failing to provide the necessaries of life for their 18-month old son, Ezekiel who died of bacterial meningitis in 2012.

Pediatric specialist, Doctor Shauna Burkholder took the stand this week.  She testified that blood cultures were taken in both Cardston and Calgary, but only after ceftriaxone, an antibiotic for bacterial infections was administered.  The drug takes only hours to take effect and is a possible key as to why no bacteria was found in the toddler.

Stephan also questioned Burkholder on the medical records from Netcare, a record-keeping system maintained by Alberta Health Services.  He asked why information between midnight March 14, 2012 to noon on March 15, a 36-hour period was missing from the medical files that were supplied to him.

She told the court it was not unusual for some records not to be entered into Netcare.  She explained that other types of records were used during that time period, such as manual notes and another record-keeping system that doctors used.