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18th May 2017

Seven-month-old baby dies after parents fed him alternative diet

Orlaith Condon

A seven-month-old baby died after his parents had him on a gluten-free diet that left him dangerously underweight.

A court heard how the parents had their son, Lucas, on an alternative diet even after doctors warned them against it.

The boy, who lived in Beveren in Belgium, weighed just 9lbs at the time of his death, half the recommended weight for a child his age.

Prosecutors told the court how the baby boy could be heard gasping for air in his final days yet his parents never thought to get medical help.

An autopsy carried out proved the boy was severely dehydrated and his stomach was completely empty.

“The parents determined their own diagnosis that their child was gluten intolerant and had a lactose allergy,” said the prosecution on the case.

“Not a single doctor had a dossier about Lucas and child protection services did not know about them.”

The child’s parents defended their decision, telling the court:

“We never went with Lucas to a doctor because we never noticed anything unusual. Sometimes he gained a little weight, sometimes he lost a little. We never wished for the death of our son.”