Calgary baby death trial hears rash suggested nutritional deficiency, not eczema

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CALGARY — The trial for a Calgary couple charged in the death of their 14-month-old son has heard from a dermatologist that the rash that covered the child’s body did not fit the pattern of eczema.

Jeromie and Jennifer Clark have pleaded not guilty to criminal negligence causing death and failure to provide the necessaries of life for their son John.

The trial has already heard from emergency and intensive care doctors that John had some black toes, an abnormally low body temperature and was covered in a rash thought to be eczema when his parents took him to the hospital on Nov. 28, 2013.

Calgary dermatologist Laurie Parsons, who the Crown called today as an expert witness, said she did not treat the boy, but saw post-mortem photographs and an autopsy report.

She said a blistering, unusually patterned rash like the one John had suggested a deficiency of nutrients such as zinc.

Under cross-examination from Jeromie Clark’s lawyer David Chow, Parsons confirmed she did not see any of John’s blood work and that she never actually saw the baby.

She also said she could not confirm whether John had had eczema in the past, but the rash she saw in photographs was “certainly not the pattern of childhood eczema.”

John Phillips, Jennifer Clark’s lawyer, asked Parsons whether she based her opinion on the pathologist’s report and whether she challenged it.

“It all fit with the clinical picture,” she testified Tuesday.

John died the day after he was admitted into intensive care at the Alberta Children’s Hospital of what was later determined to be a staph infection.

Prosecutor Shane Parker said in his opening statement that John was born at home, had never been vaccinated, hadn’t been fed properly and never saw a doctor until the day before he died.

News credit- The Canadian Press

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