Analysis: How the system failed diabetic teen

Alexandru Radita was found dead in a Citadel home in May 2013. His father and mother are facing...

Alexandru Radita was found dead in a Citadel home in May 2013. His father and mother are facing first-degree murder charges.

Michael Platt, Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:38 AM ET

Protected as a child, forgotten as a teen.

With two Calgary parents facing first-degree murder charges in the starvation death of their severely emaciated 15-year-old son, the question now is not so much why — but how social services in two provinces failed to protect a child known to be in trouble.

The death of Alexandru Gabriel Radita in his Citadel Drive home ended a short life rife with medical issues, and plagued by adults who couldn’t agree on how to treat him.

On one side there were doctors in the Lower Mainland, who diagnosed the sickly, dark-haired boy with diabetes requiring intense medical care and a three-week stay in hospital.

On the other side, an immigrant mother and father distrustful of the medical system, who saw physicians focusing on only one illness, when it was clear to them their boy had many.

“They are accusing us that we have medically neglected our son, and pursuing Family Services to take our son from us,” reads a letter dated Dec. 27, 2003, reportedly written by the boy’s father to the United Nations Commission for Human Rights.

“If Everything HAD been done Properly In the Beginning we SHOULD not be here today.”

Repeated visits to the hospital, and disagreements over what was wrong with the boy — his parents second-guessing the doctors and making their own diagnoses — finally led to the ailing Alexandru being taken into foster care by the B.C. government.

That was Dec. 2003, and the next year saw his family — including seven siblings — in a very public battle for custody, with stories on the fight appearing in Romanian community forums.


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