A Toronto woman who waited 10 hours to get emergency medical help for her badly scalded baby has been convicted of manslaughter.
Melissa Alexander, 25, hung her head in court in Toronto as the decision was being read Monday.
Her son, 19-month-old Miguel Fernandes, died after suffering severe burns to 40 per cent of his body after likely being immersed in a tub of hot water on the afternoon of Sept. 11, 2007.
But Alexander only called 911 at 2:20 a.m. the next day. The only treatment she had given her boy until that point was an application of cream and some cotton dressing, court has heard.
"I am fully confident that if Melissa Alexander sustained third degree burns to 40 per cent of her own body, she would not have contented herself with some Vaseline and absorbent cotton," Ontario Superior Court Justice Anne Molloy wrote in her ruling. "She would have gotten herself to a hospital, and quickly. Her son deserved no less."
After applying the cream, Alexander left Miguel with his 29-month-old stepbrother to go shopping for about two hours, court heard. It is not clear if someone was babysitting the boys at that time.
Any person who found out Fernandes's mother didn't get help would be horrified, Molloy wrote.
If she had acted promptly in getting treatment for Miguel, it is most likely that he would have made a full recovery, Molloy said.
Paramedics had testified earlier in Alexander's trial that she informed them that the baby had pulled a pot of boiling water on himself at around 4 p.m. Sept. 11. Alexander said she had put Miguel to bed at 10 p.m. and called 911 when she found he wasn't breathing, the paramedics had testified.
Two doctors who testified in the case, however, said that his burns were likely caused by immersion in very hot liquid.
Dr. Howard Clarke, the medical director of the burn unit at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, said in a report there was a "reasonable probability" that Miguel would have survived had he been taken to hospital promptly.
Outside of the court, Miguel's grandmother, Maria Fernandes, released a dozen balloons to mark what would have been his fifth birthday.
'Nothing is going to bring Miguel back'
"I told my husband that for me justice was for [Alexander] to be be guilty because it doesn't matter to me how many years ... because nothing is going to bring Miguel back.
"I just hope that every time she closes her eyes, I hope for the rest of her life, she won't have peace," Fernandes told CBC News.
The defence had argued that prosecutors had failed to prove that the toddler would have survived if his mother had taken him to hospital.
Alexander has been released on bail until Apr. 19, when she is due to be sentenced.