The parents of a baby girl who suffered from severe eczema ignored the advice of doctors and persisted with alternative medicine for their daughter until she died from a severe infection, an Australian court has heard.

Thomas Sam, who worked as a homeopath in Sydney, and his wife Manju Sam are accused of the manslaughter of their 9-month-old infant daughter, Gloria Thomas, by gross criminal negligence.

On the opening day of their Supreme Court trial, a 12-member jury was told the Indian-born parents knew Gloria was suffering eczema on her face, arms, legs and torso at four -months, but they failed to take her to a dermatologist.

The lead prosecutor said that Sam was treating his daughter with homeopathic drops to no avail. Whenever the couple did follow the advice of a conventional doctor for a few days after a consultation, Gloria's condition improved.

"They would then revert back to homeopathic treatment and her condition would deteriorate," he said.

In the last five months of her life, Gloria was subjected to repeated infections which "placed a great deal of stress on her body," the prosecutor said. He added that the baby "wasn't able to get sufficient nutrition to fight off infections to grow".

Gloria died from septicemia, commonly referred to as blood poisoning, in May 2002 weighing just 11 pounds, which was "well below the third percentile for her age", the court heard.

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