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Girl With Diabetes Dies as Parents Pray

Is Prayer the Best Medicine? Parents' Faith Fails Daughter

An 11-year-old Wisconsin girl with Type-I diabetes has died after her parents used prayer to try to control her disease. The mother says she didn't know her daughter was terminally ill as she prayed for her to get better instead of taking her to the doctor. The girl's condition worsened suddenly while the parents stayed in prayer, believing she would recover.

Not concerned about a police investigation, the mother says because she and her husband believe their lives are in God's hands, they did nothing criminal. Their belief is that they only tried to do the best they could for their daughter.

The local Police Chief says the autopsy showed that the girl died from a type of diabetes that left her with too little insulin in her body. He estimates she had probably been ill for about a month.

Is this criminal negligence or an assertion of freedom of faith?


Join The Conversation
Roarman Roarman 9 years
I don't know that they should be thrown in jail but I think what they did was wrong. They are adults and can believe in whatever they want. If they are sick and don't want to seek treatment that is fine. They have had a lifetime to decide what they believe in and why. Their daughter did not and now she never will. Once you have children they are your responsibility and you do what is best for them, not what is best for you. She deserved a chance at life.
phatE phatE 9 years
I am a little late in seeing this, but as a Christian who believes in the power of prayer, I think these parents are wack.. This almost seems like it's more of an Amish approach.. So, for all of you who automatically jumped on religion, I will speak for what I know, this is not the “norm” or typical practice.. I consider it neglect in SO many ways, and while the parents may have meant well, there are resources for us, why on earth would we not use them? I think this type of thinking is dangerous, and don’t really understand it. I think the advances in technology and medicine have benefited us in SO many ways, and have come from the talents and gifts of people. I don’t see why we wouldn’t take advantage of that. My personal belief is that God has given us free will, and that God is an active part of our lives, but He doesn’t control us like puppets, and it’s our responsibility to walk things out, trusting in Him not just for cures, but that He will get us through whatever we face. I really don't understand the mentality of the parents, and knowing diabetes, I am thinking they noticed this girl was in decline.. It is really really sad that they didn't get her help, because it's so treatable, it's a waste of life, and ignorance and while they may have been doing what was best for her, it was still a crime, and they need to face the consequences.
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 9 years
I'm sure we're past the point where anyone is reading this post, but just in case here is a related story: Apparently 80 children of members of this church have died under similar circumstances.
AKirstin AKirstin 9 years
Religion sucks.
Diabetesmama Diabetesmama 9 years
As a type 1 diabetic and a Christian you are about to hear my viewpoint. I believe in the power of prayer but I also believe that doctors and modern medicine are part of that healing. This child died of type 1 diabetes and suffered. Pray all you want but God doesn't expect you to sit around and ignore the resources in front of you to heal. Type 1 diabetes can and does kill and it can happen quickly. However, there are definately signs that would panic any parent. Diabetic ketoacidosis is a life threatening condition that happens mostly to type 1 diabetics. There is not enough insulin in the body to allow the nutrients from food to get to the cells. In turn the body eats the fat cells producing a toxin in the blood stream. The body then tries to rid itself of the toxin. It causes you to urinate frequently, vomit, get the bad poops, and eventually you will develop very labored breathing. All of these are ways the body tries frantically to rid itself of the toxins. The extreme thirst that is noticable in diabetics is from the dehydration caused by the urination and other means of losing water. I have experienced this first hand and know what this child suffered. She would have been fine if she had been given insulin. I experienced a DKA episode when I was 16 that nearly ended my life. I had eaten things I shouldn't and not taken my insulin and then hid the consequences from my parents until it was almost too late. By the time I reached the local hospital I was projectile vomiting and my breathing could be felt six feet away. My heart rate was 180 beats per minute while laying completely still. I had lost fourteen pounds due to dehydration. The roof of my mouth actually cracked open. I felt so sick and so extremely thirsty. I could not take in fluids by mouth because it only caused me to vomit more. At the hospital I was given 3 IV's, one in each arm and one in my leg. I was on oxygen and all sorts of monitors. I could not sit up at all and had to be lifted in a sling to be weighed. When the nurse wiped my face with a wet washcloth I was so thirsty that I tried to grab it and suck the water out of it. It is a horrible and painful death. I did reach a point where I no longer felt pain. It was a sweet relief. I knew at that point all I had to do was stop fighting but the sight of my parents and my brother by my bed, crying and praying made me fight. I remember telling my mother that I was going to go to sleep and make my heart slow down so that I wouldn't die. I told her not to worry because I wasn't going to die yet. Then I went to sleep. When I woke up I asked her if my heart had slowed and she said no. I told her to look again. My heart was slowing as she watched. Later that day I sat up. By evening I was begging the nurses to let me go for a walk. I wasn't supposed to last the night. They had put me on an insulin pump at the hospital so that I was constantly getting insulin pumped into me and it wasn't on a time release like a shot. In those days insulin pumps were big and only used in hospitals. Today I wear one all the time. It's little and looks a little like I have a cell phone clipped to my pants. I can't stop crying because I know what this child felt and I know how easy it is to fix. My experience was a result of my own teenage rebellion. My parents didn't know because I hid it. When they did know they moved fast. DKA moves fast though too. Had it not been for my mother fighting with the local hospital to get me flown to the city I would have died. The nurse there actually came in and told me to "Stop breathing like that."
princess_eab princess_eab 9 years
"Assertion of stupidity" is more like it. In my opinion this is negligent behavior. The girl was a victim to her parents' selfish ignorance. Much like the vegan parents who didn't know anything about healthy eating or proper nutrition. They thought they were doing the right thing too-- doesn't make it right.
Xandara Xandara 9 years
There's nothing wrong with prayer in my eyes, but I think it should be done IN ADDITION to taking the poor kid to a doctor for proper medicine. The world hasn't come up with these medicines and ways to keep people alive and healthy just to let innocent children die. This is, in my opinion, complete ignorance on the parents' part, or perhaps, using religion as an excuse for being horrible, horrible parents - and, well, people. What parent isn't going to do everything humanly possible to keep their child alive?! Do they really think that's what Jesus would have wanted them to do? (Assuming they're Christian, of course.) It just disgusts me. *sigh*
KathleenxCouture KathleenxCouture 9 years
no matter what religion you practice, you need to be a parent and that means making sure that you give your child the best medical attention possible (key word POSSIBLE) when they are extremely ill. it would've just taken one shot of insulin to keep this girl alive...these parents should be punished.
allien86 allien86 9 years
Just to let you know not all Amish are against modern medicine in fact there is nothing in their religion to ban it as they are not against all things modern only things that take them (the community) away from each other and God. I have visited many Amish families and decisions on things like medical treatments are up to the families. On the topic I would have to say I think the parents were negligent, I dont think they should go to jail, however I believe that not taking a very sick child to get medical attention (when they had the means to do so) is the same as not feeding/abusing a child. That is just my opinion
i-am-awesomeness i-am-awesomeness 9 years
They should not go to jail. They were trying to what they felt was best for their child. They didn't want their child to go to hell, so they wouldn't do anything that would result in that. Yes, she had no choice but her parents shouldn't go to jail. They're already facing a worse situation: their precious child has died. Jail would be nothing to them but more of a reminder of their child. They wouldn't change their position on what they did and only overcrowd the jail.
StrawberryBlonde StrawberryBlonde 9 years
Sad :( It sometimes hard to believe there are still people who think this way? It's scary that they seem to be gaining momentum.
Bookish Bookish 9 years
I don't feel that I can add much, because both sides have presented fantastic arguments. Personally, I feel the parents should be prosecuted, and not allowed to retain custody of their other children, because their actions resulted directly in their child's death- neglect, as I see it. And didn't the autopsy results say she'd been ill for 30 days? That's certainly long enough to get her into a doctor, and far too long to suffer needlessly. My parents were anti-modern medicine for religious reasons for most of my childhood and adolescence, and as a result, my younger sister did not get treated for her bipolar disorder or epilepsy. I wasn't taken to the doctor from the time I was 5 until I was in college and went to the doc on my own. But as soon as my dad found a suspicious mole on his back and a doctor told him he had melanoma, they did a 180 and were suddenly ALL about the modern medicine. I just have to wonder- what if one of the parents had been the sick one? Would they have gotten treatment? I'm a cynic.
who_arexyou who_arexyou 9 years
Alright, that part about her parents practically letting her die was pretty harsh, but there was clearly a very serious problem and she was too young to seek help herself. Her parents were responsible for her, and they did not seek the help she needed. I'm undecided about what should happen, if anything, to them but I hope the loss of their daughter is enough punishment for them. Hopefully, this young lady's death will teach a lesson to people about the limits of faith. On the other side, is the lesson worth the cost of her life?
who_arexyou who_arexyou 9 years
I'm not exactly sure how to approach this very touchy topic. I do believe these parent's were ignorant and negligent. Sure, I suppose it's all right to ask God for a little help. But this was not asking for a little help, it was asking for the impossible. A girl died because of irresponsibility on her parents part, and I believe that is unacceptable. Their daughter fell sicker every day and she must have had symptoms that would've have ranged from/included lack of energy, excessive thirst, excessive urination, bleeding of the retinas- which would lead to vision impairment, liver and/or kidney failure, loss of feeling in her legs. Basically her body would've been clearly shutting down, and I highly doubt prayer could cure her. She needed a doctor, regardless of her parent's beliefs. Her parents practically let her die. The Amish argument does bring up a good point, however I was in Amish country last Wednesday and the medicine issue was brought up. Where I was, the Amish did go to the doctors when they needed to, and the local hospital gives them 20% off all their bills. Even the Amish know where to draw the line when it comes to their children's lives. I'm not trying to argue, just thought I'd mention it.
syako syako 9 years
i'm still here. like promised
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
i am going to hold you to that promise! NO NEW TAXES!!!!
syako syako 9 years
I'll never leave sugar land again, I promise!
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
ona, i do not think that people should have a free pass because of religion, at all, I just think intent should be looked at when it comes to cases such as these. I just don't think it is black and white, and it is riddled with fine lines. But as I said, it seems that these parents don't fall under the category of religious practice. As for drunk drivers, they know what they are doing will cause harm to them and others. People with certain religious beliefs don't see what they are doing as harm, or even potential harm. On the religion review, i believe you are correct. I think Muslims also believe that Jesus is a profit, will rise again, and fight in battle with Mohammed, if my memory serves me correctly. Syako, :hug: I was so sad without you!
onabanana onabanana 9 years
No intent to harm doesn't mean there wasn't harm done, and the law recognizes the difference between crimes which are premeditated and intentional vs. crimes which happen with out intent. It still doesn't mean you get off free. Drunk drivers don;t intend to harm but they are responsible when if they run people over. That's why we call it negligence.
syako syako 9 years
:hug: if I had known it was going to "fired up" in here I would have skipped pilates class! DANGIT! I fully support my dear Cine and will always support her... so yeah don't mess with the future president. wha what??
onabanana onabanana 9 years
The term Allah is the arabic word for God. The "Christian" god is the same god as muslims and jews believe in. One of the main differences are the books, the koran, old and new testament and this religious pratice and traditions but from what I remember...and feel free to correct, it's been a while since I studied was the angel Gabriel that appeared to Mohammed. Christians, Jews, and Muslims worship the same God. Jews don't recognize Jesus as the son of God and Christians don't recognize Mohammed as a profit. Still same God.
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
Right Cabaker.:oy:
Matdredalia Matdredalia 9 years
God helps those who help themselves and I'm sorry, but this was parental negligence. Sure, it's a fine line on how to tell people to raise their children, but according to some religions, beating your child within an inch of his life for arguing with you is acceptable --- but we would stop that because it's child abuse. When your faith endangers another person's well being, whether it is your child or not, it is no longer a private matter and you can not hide behind the guise of "freedom of religion" for what, under other circumstances, equates to child neglect / abuse. They let their daughter suffer for over a month and then die. They deserve to be punished. And I should note that I come from a family that despises modern medicine. My mother is adamantly opposed to man made drugs and pharmaceuticals, and prefers herbal medicines and natural cures. However, when I was suffering with severe gall bladder attacks, or was deathly ill with viral bronchitis, or constantly sick due to a non-existent immune system, or any of the other illnesses that I have dealt with, by god, I was at a doctor. My devout Catholic grandmother who goes to mass five times a week and believes God controls every atom of this universe, who prays more than anyone I have ever met, still took her children to doctors, dentists, and psychologists. I'm sorry, faith is not an excuse to let your child die.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
I meant on page 2.... geesh bad typing, maybe I AM lazy! :)
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
JudeC it is so strange you brought up the starvation aspect, because on the train ride home I was thinking about fasting, and the religious implications and health issues that come along with it. Is it wrong to have a child fast? "Two sets of parents are found to have accidentally starved their children to death. One set says that they were starving their child as a punishment which is commanded by their religious teachings. The other doesn't have a religious motivation for the neglect. Should the parents whose children were starved to death for religious reasons be held less accountable under the law than the parents who had no religious motivation?" As for your question. Starvation is very difficult to say it is accidental, since it can take a month to starve to death, but I am just being picky, I see where you are going with this. I believe if a crime on a child was committed with religious backing, without the INTENT of harming a child I do believe that they should be held less accountable. If a parent just harms a child for the sake of harming a child, then that is abuse. My problem with this whole thing is that I am very torn, because it is not black and white, there is so much grey. Especially since my moral beliefs are completely against what these parents did (especially since I question their motives), just like I am against mutilation, which some cultures find completely acceptable. Anyone else feel like they are in a philosophy class? My college teachers would be so proud :)
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