Some poor babies are born in hell…
Gloria Thomas’s eczema death ‘was parents’ fault’
By Margaret Scheikowski
Thomas and Manju Sam faced manslaughter charges in court and were found guilty.
In the last months of her life, baby Gloria Thomas suffered such terrible eczema her skin would weep and peel, sticking to her clothing when she was changed.
Despite her bleeding, crying and malnutrition, her mother and homeopath father failed to get conventional medical help before she died a painful death, a Sydney jury has been told.
Thomas Sam, 42, and his IT professional wife, Manju Sam, 36, have pleaded not guilty to their nine-month-old daughter’s manslaughter by gross criminal negligence in Sydney in May 2002.
In the Crown’s opening address to the New South Wales Supreme Court jury, Mark Tedeschi QC said Gloria’s parents failed to get her proper medical attention in the last five months of her life.
He said Thomas Sam’s sister had pleaded with her brother on a number of occasions to get Gloria some conventional medicine.
“He responded by saying: ‘I am not able to do that,'” Mr Tedeschi said.
“Instead, Thomas Sam and Manju Sam gave to Gloria various types of homeopathic drops.”
He said Gloria spent much of the final months “crying, irritable, scratching”.
“The only thing that gave her solace was to suck on her mother’s breast.”
Born in July 2001, Gloria thrived until November when a nurse noticed her eczema and told the mother to see a skin specialist.
Instead of doing this, Mr Tedeschi said the mother took her to a GP who was extremely concerned at the eczema, saying it was the most severe case he had ever seen.
Although the GP wrote a referral letter to a specialist, the parents never saw him.
Mr Tedeschi said Gloria’s skin would break when her clothing and nappy were changed and she became thinner and weaker, which allowed infections to enter her body.
The eczema and infections placed “an enormous toll on her body” which meant all the nutrition she took in was spent on fighting this off, instead of being used to grow.
At four months, she weighed 6.5kg but at nine months she was down to 5.3kg and died of septicemia.
Mr Tedeschi said the parents were married in India. The father was educated in homeopathy in India and in Australia undertook a masters degree in health administration, while his wife had a science degree and a postgraduate diplomat in computers.
“They both come from very supportive, giving families,” he said.
Thomas Sam worked as a homeopath in Sydney and taught the subject at a Sydney college.
Mr Tedeschi will continue his opening address tomorrow, at the trial before Justice Peter Johnson.