Parents Face Charges After Children Die from Treatable Conditions

April 29, 2008 02:43 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Child deaths in Wisconsin and Oregon rekindle the debate over spirituality, and whether parents are responsible for seeking medical care.

30-Second Summary

Wisconsin authorities charged Dale and Leilani Neumann with second-degree reckless homicide after their daughter Madeline, 11, died on Easter Sunday of diabetes. Her death, the district attorney in Marathon County says, was preventable. The Neumanns did not seek medical treatment, but instead turned to prayer.

Their story is unusual but not unheard of. An Oregon couple has been indicted for not seeking treatment after Ava Worthington, their 15-month-old daughter, died of bacterial pneumonia, another treatable condition.

A Pennsylvania couple in 2001 went to prison for manslaughter and child endangerment after their daughter died of a condition similar to Madeline’s.

Author Shawn Francis Peters warns that trying cases like the Neumanns’ is “a surprisingly complicated task.”

Online reactions to this story vary. Bryan Lambert of the blog You Are Dumb wrote: “It's unfortunate, and tragic, but that's one of the things that happens to stupid people.”

Unleavened Bread Ministries created a Web site to help the Neumann family. “When I heard Dale and Leilani were being investigated, I thought, how sad, since authorities don’t investigate the people who put their trust in doctors whose family members die by the hundreds of thousands from medical mistakes every year, according the AMA's own admission,” wrote Pastor Bob of Spirit 1 Broadcasting.

Headline Links: Parents charged after diabetes death

Opinion & Analysis: Allocating and diffusing blame

Related Link: Parents sent to prison in faith-healing death


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