In 2009, a 2 year-old boy who lived with his family near Philadelphia passed away. The coroner determined that the child had died from pneumonia. His parents had not sought medical help for their son - no doctors, hospitals or even medicine. They belong to a church called First Century Gospel Church where they do not believe in seeking medical attention. They thought that the better idea was to pray for God to heal their son. They prayed for 10 days but the boy still died.
The couple, Herbert and Catherine Schaible, were charged and convicted of involuntary manslaughter. They could have received jail time but instead were placed on probation for 10 years. As part of their probation, the couple was ordered they must get regular medical check ups for their remaining 7 children.
I was outraged at the time that this couple was allowed to retain custody of their other children and didn't receive jail time but I thought, perhaps, that they had learned something from this incident - or I hoped they had. See, in Pennsylvania - home of a large Amish community -religious freedom is extremely important in the eyes of the law so the judge had to consider that aspect of the case.
Earlier this week, an 8 month-old son of the Schaibles passed away. He was suffering from diarrhea and breathing problems for days and it appears that his parents did not seek medical help for him.
I have just one question: Just how many children are we going to allow to die under these circumstances before we do something?!?
This reminds me of the Virginia teen who died from appendicitis last year and this Wisconsin child who died because she was diabetic. I'm sure there are many other cases.
It is one thing for an adult to decide, for whatever reason, that he or she doesn't wish to seek medical attention. If that is what you want, go at it. I won't say a word. It is quite another thing for parents to allow their own children to die because they won't get help for them! It's abuse, plain and simple and states like Pennsylvania allow people to get away with it!
This simply has to stop. The welfare of children has to be more important to parents than their beliefs in a supernatural deity and if it isn't, we need to remove the children from those homes and prosecute the parents. Perhaps if they realize they might end up in jail, they'll get their children the medical help they need.
Image obtained here