A vegan Pennsylvania woman who was, per her family, determined to live on "water and sunlight" apparently took her extreme dietary views too far and has now been accused of starving her 11-month-old baby, feeding him nothing but fruit and nuts, CBS Pittsburgh reports. The child's father, who's separated from the mother, Elizabeth Hawk, grew concerned after seeing his son's condition go downhill and brought the baby to a Children and Youth Services facility in Fayette County, the Washington Post reports; the baby was rushed to a West Virginia hospital from there. Brandy Hall, Hawk's sister-in-law, tells CBS that the baby was developmentally delayed—including not being able to use his hands—and had a rash that a physician who examined him said was "inhumane" not to treat, per court records.
It's not that a vegan diet is inherently dangerous for babies. Per the Post, it can be safe if the child is given enough calories and supplemental nutrients and the family follows infant-specific recommendations from experts. Hawk, said to be in her early 30s, reportedly told family members that the baby simply had "allergies" and not to worry, but the dad did indeed worry, telling officials his estranged wife was "obsessed" with diet. The attending doctor said the baby had reached a "failure to thrive" level, and the unattended rash could've led to septic shock. Now the baby, as well as his two siblings, lives with his dad and is "doing great," Brandy Hawk tells CBS. Elizabeth Hawk faces child endangerment charges and has a preliminary hearing Nov. 14, per Philly.com. (Another baby faced the same predicament over the summer.)