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Judge tries to save little girl’s eye….from her parents

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on July 15, 2010

Yes, you read it right. The 7-month old daughter of  members of the Followers of Christ church, risks loosing eyesight in her left eye due to blatant medical neglect on the part of her parents.

The Wylands’ daughter, Alayna, had a small discoloration over her left eye when she was born.

The area started swelling and the fast-growing mass of blood vessels, known as a hemangioma, eventually caused her eye to shut, pushed the eyeball down and outward, and affected the eye socket, said Dr. Thomas Valvano, a pediatrician at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital at Oregon Health & Science University.

“This was medical neglect,” said Valvano, who testified at the hearing. Alayna could lose vision in her left eye and probably will need surgery, he said.

I’ve read versions of this sad story countless times, yet I still cannot get over them. How can a parent play dice with their child’s health because of their imaginary god? At what point do your parental instincts kick in and make you say “to hell with the church, I’m saving my child”? I guess never for these people; something’s wrong in their head!

The Wylands said they never considered getting medical attention for the growth and would not have if DHS had not intervened.

Attorneys for the Wylands said the couple weren’t given a chance to obtain medical care after DHS got involved in the case late last month and have been largely excluded from medical appointments.

So let me get it straight dear attorneys: the people who concede that they would not have taken their daughter to the doctor were impeded from doing what they weren’t thinking of doing by the DHS? That’s like saying : “The good Samaritan’s intervention prevented the rapist from stopping the raping of the victim”! Are you sure that’s the argument you want to make in defense of your client?

Gilmartin asked Rebecca Wyland why she didn’t take Alayna to a doctor.

“Because I believe in God and put my faith in him,” she replied.

And he let you down Rebecca; he let you down considerably. At what point will you consider dumping him?

The illogic of belief

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on April 22, 2010

Via Unreasonable Faith we get this straight to the point comic:

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To The Followers of Christ, Oregon City

Posted in JREF by Skepdude on February 4, 2010

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT RANDI.ORG

Oregon City teenager Neil Beagley died in June 2008 following complications from an untreated congenital urinary tract blockage that flooded his system with urea, causing renal failure, heart attack, and death.beagleys

Neil Beagley didn’t die in a hospital. He didn’t die surrounded by doctors who were stumped regarding his next stage of treatment. Sixteen-year-old Neil Beagley didn’t die peacefully with an IV in his arm pumping in morphine to lessen what must have been excruciating pain. He died in his grandmother’s bed, without having received any medical treatment of any kind. Doctors say that Neil’s illness was treatable right up until the day he died.

Jeff and Marci Beagley, Neil’s parents, are members of Followers of Christ Church of Oregon City – a fundamentalist organization that teaches a literalist interpretation of scripture, and relies heavily on faith healing. The cemetery behind the church contains graves belonging to seventy-eight minors. It is estimated that at least twenty-one of these children’s lives could have been saved with medical treatment.

However, Followers of Christ Church shuns medical treatment – and the devout followers of the church refuse all medications and treatments, and visits to medical professionals of any kind.

Jeff and Marci Beagley have been found guilty of criminally negligent homicide in Neil’s death, and they are scheduled for sentencing on February 18th of this year. Of the twelve jurors deciding the case, ten found the couple guilty. Two found them innocent.

Oregon, prior to 1999, viewed faith healing as a Get Out Of Jail Free card. An individual could not be convicted of homicide in a case where religion was used instead of medical care. Then an act was passed that allowed for a compromise – faith healing could still be used as a treatment, but could not be the only treatment in cases involving children. Parents were thereafter required to (and it seems this should be obvious) take care of their children, despite their beliefs in deities, the laying on of hands, or the efficacy of anointing someone’s body with oil.

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT RANDI.ORG

Ore. parents found guilty of neglecting ill son

Posted in News by Skepdude on February 3, 2010

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT THE WASHINGTON POST

OREGON CITY, Ore. — An Oregon couple was found guilty Tuesday of criminally negligent homicide for praying over their ill son instead of seeking medical help.

The jury returned the verdict on the second day of deliberations in the trial of Jeff and Marci Beagley, both members of the Followers of Christ Church in Oregon City. Church members gasped as Judge Steven Maurer read the verdicts.

The couple, who remain free on bail, is scheduled for sentencing on Feb. 18. Because neither has a prior conviction, state sentencing guidelines call for 16 to 18 months in prison.

Prosecutors said the Beagleys had a duty as parents to provide medical care for their 16-year-old son, Neil, who died in 2008 of complications from a urinary tract blockage. The defense argued the teenager had symptoms more like a cold or the flu.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT THE WASHINGTON POST

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Doctor who hailed herbal cancer cure arrested

Posted in News by Skepdude on October 10, 2009

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT MSNBC

LOS ANGELES – Prosecutors brought fraud charges Thursday against a family doctor accused of promising terminally ill cancer patients in their darkest hours that they would be cured with an herbal treatment.

Using her influence as an ordained Pentecostal minister, Dr. Christine Daniel tapped into the vessel of faith to entice people from across the nation to try her regimen. She even appeared on cable’s Trinity Broadcasting Network in 2002 touting her cancer cure and its 60 percent success rate, according to federal investigators.

Authorities arrested Daniel, 55, at her San Fernando Valley home Thursday and charged her with two counts each of wire and mail fraud. If convicted, she faces up to 80 years in prison.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT MSNBC

Shame on Washington state

Posted in Pharyngula by Skepdude on August 28, 2009

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTYR AT PHARYNGULA

My home state! In a region with some of the highest percentages of godless people in the country! And they have this awful law on the books.

Washington’s law specifies that a person treated through faith healing “by a duly accredited Christian Science practitioner in lieu of medical care is not considered deprived of medically necessary health care or abandoned.” Other religions are not mentioned.

Christian Science is not science, and it is definitely not medicine. I presume some religious lobby got this evil exemption on the books years ago, but now it’s time to remove it—it’s killing people. The mention of the law comes from a story about a young man, Zachery Swezey, who died a slow, painful death from a ruptured appendix, with his parents looking on.

The day his son died, Greg Swezey told sheriff’s investigators he knew Zakk would die 10 or 15 minutes before the teenager passed away. His condition had gotten much worse about an hour and a half before Zakk died, he told the investigators, and he realized Zakk was exhibiting some of the symptoms of death he’d seen when older church members died.

He did not consider calling an ambulance, he told them.

Who did he call instead? Elders of his church, who showed up to splash oil on the poor kid and pray.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTYR AT PHARYNGULA

Man testifies he expected God to heal his child

Posted in News, Skepdude by Skepdude on August 3, 2009

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT MSNBC

WAUSAU, Wisconsin – A father charged with killing his daughter by praying instead of taking her to a doctor read from the Bible while testifying Thursday that he couldn’t seek medical help without disobeying God.

Dale Neumann told the jury he didn’t seek medical help for his child because “I can’t do that because Biblically, I cannot find that is the way people are healed.”

He added: “If I go to the doctor, I am putting the doctor before God. I am not believing what he said he would do.”

Neumann, 47, is charged with second-degree reckless homicide in the March 23, 2003, death of his 11-year-old daughter, Madeline, from undiagnosed diabetes. Prosecutors say he should have taken the girl to a hospital because she couldn’t walk, talk, eat or speak.

Instead, Madeline died on the floor of the family’s rural Weston home as people surrounded her and prayed.

Her father was the last person to testify in his trial. Closing arguments are scheduled for Friday morning.

Neumann, who once studied to be a Pentecostal minister, preached to the jury about his faith in God’s healing powers and cried out like he was talking to the Lord. He said he has been a born-again Christian since 1982.

‘Who am I to predict death’?

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT MSNBC

Skepdude says: Bullshit! This is child abuse plain and simple. Both parents deserve jail time, long jail time!

Ore. pretrial hearing begins in ill girl’s death

Posted in News by Skepdude on June 15, 2009

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT “SEATTLE TIMES”

OREGON CITY, Ore. —

A judge on Monday denied a defense motion to exclude photographs of the body of a 15-month-old child who died after her parents prayed rather than seeking medical attention for her.

Clackamas County Circuit Judge Steven Maurer told defense attorneys for Carl and Raylene Worthington that it would be up to a jury to decide the value of the photographs.

The Oregon City couple, who belong to the Followers of Christ Church, faces manslaughter charges in the death of their daughter, Ava. Members of the church have a history of treating gravely ill children only with prayer.

Ava died of pneumonia in March 2008. A state medical examiner has said she could have been treated with antibiotics.

Defense attorneys argued that the photos of Ava’s body were so disturbing that they could prejudice the jury.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT “SEATTLE TIMES”

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Keep your prayers to yourself, Nurse

Posted in Pharyngula by Skepdude on February 3, 2009

A nurse on a home visit decided to offer her services as a personal intermediary to a deity and pray for her patient. The patient objected and complained to the health organization — after all, the patient may not like her nasty bronze age god, and may feel put upon that a presumed professional is proposing to waste her time on chanted magic spells. It’s also a matter of courtesy: when I’m teaching, I don’t hector my students on matters outside the course content, like atheism, and when I’m being treated by a nurse or doctor, I expect them to leave irrelevant superstitions out of the examining room.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT PHARYNGULA.

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Trials for Parents Who Chose Faith Over Medicine

Posted in News by Skepdude on January 21, 2009

WESTON, Wis. — Kara Neumann, 11, had grown so weak that she could not walk or speak. Her parents, who believe that God alone has the ability to heal the sick, prayed for her recovery but did not take her to a doctor.

After an aunt from California called the sheriff’s department here, frantically pleading that the sick child be rescued, an ambulance arrived at the Neumann’s rural home on the outskirts of Wausau and rushed Kara to the hospital. She was pronounced dead on arrival.

The county coroner ruled that she had died from diabetic ketoacidosis resulting from undiagnosed and untreated juvenile diabetes. The condition occurs when the body fails to produce insulin, which leads to severe dehydration and impairment of muscle, lung and heart function.

About a month after Kara’s death last March, the Marathon County state attorney, Jill Falstad, brought charges of reckless endangerment against her parents, Dale and Leilani Neumann. Despite the Neumanns’ claim that the charges violated their constitutional right to religious freedom, Judge Vincent Howard of Marathon County Circuit Court ordered Ms. Neumann to stand trial on May 14, and Mr. Neumann on June 23. If convicted, each faces up to 25 years in prison.

“The free exercise clause of the First Amendment protects religious belief,” the judge wrote in his ruling, “but not necessarily conduct.”

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT THE NY TIMES

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