Ramblings about what I encounter within the realm of the geosciences, as well as the occasional rant about nonsense.

03 February 2010

Faith-"Healing" Kills

I am appalled by this. This morning, NPR reported on a family in Oregon who lost their 16 year old son to renal failure. What appalls me, is the family DID NOTHING to prevent the loss of their son. They belong to a church group that practices faith-"healing", which spurns modern scientifically-based medicine in favor of praying.

Let me say this again. The family LET their 16 year old son die.... of RENAL FAILURE. Kidney problems can be VERY painful. Their son's kidney failure was brought on by a urinary tract blockage that resulted from a minor birth defect. This sort of birth defect would have been detected when he was still an infant (if his family ever took him to a doctor). From there, the family could have been on the lookout for warning signs, and this whole tragedy could have been avoided. Science-based medicine is good about these things. Prayer is not.

What's worse is the family had a track record for ignoring science and letting family members succumb to preventable illness:
The teenager died of complications from a congenital urinary tract blockage that doctors testified could have been treated up until the day he died.

The Beagleys' 15-month-old granddaughter, Ava Worthington, died in March 2008 of pneumonia and a blood infection that also could have been treated.

Instead, Neil and Ava were anointed with oil while the family prayed and laid on hands.
The defense attorney had an interesting note.

But one of the defense attorneys, Wayne Mackeson, insisted the trial was about the care they provided as parents, not about their beliefs [Me: which, I concede, are apparently "fringe"].

"It's never been a referendum on the church. This case involves parents who didn't understand how sick their child was," he said. [emphasis added]

Now don't get me wrong. I am appalled by the fact that people ignore science and reason, and let bronze age mythology rule their lives. But I agree with the defense on this case, it isn't their belief that science is apparently an affront to religion, it is that they are totally unqualified to act as a parent. However, this argument of ignorance does not give them a pass (the defense wants the sentence to be reduced to probation). I understand it is the defense's job to get the best result for their client, but the possible sentence of 16-18 months seems lenient to me. Especially since this group has a track record for not understanding how sick some child is (their grand-daughter died just 9 months prior under similar circumstances).

We aren't talking about the sniffles or a sore throat. We are talking about RENAL FAILURE. The 16 year old's Blood-Urea-Nitrogen level was 288 milligrams/deciliter (kidney failure starts around 60, normal levels are between 7 and 20). Science-based medicine could have saved this kid, "up until the day he died". Science-based medicine could have saved the grand-daughter's life. Faith-"healing" robbed these kids of their lives.

1 comment:

Lockwood said...

I've been following this case pretty closely; you sum it up well. Last spring and summer, I posted a few pieces on the trial of the little girl. I was very dispirited that the mother was let off completely. The father was convicted of negligence and given a 60-day sentence, to be served on weekends, if I remember. They were allowed to keep custody of their other children.

The fact that another child in the same family has died shows that they haven't learned their lesson. I'm sure they're very sad and sorrowful. Just not enough, you know, to get medical care for other sick children in their care. I'm waiting to see what sentence is handed down.


All the Latin on this page is from my vague recollections from High School. There are mistakes in the text. I just was trying to get the point across

Between Los Alamos,NM and White Rock, NM

Between Los Alamos,NM and White Rock, NM
The photo of the travertine spring was taken in the small opening in the center of the image.

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