Couple Faces 10 Years For Using Prayer Instead Of Medicine On Dying Child
Herbert and Catherine Shaible of Philadelphia, a fundamentalist Christian couple, allowed their two-year-old son, Kent, to die rather than get him medical help, believing prayer could cure him.
“We were careful to make sure we didn’t have their religion on trial but were holding them responsible for their conduct,” jury foreman Vince Bertolini, 49, told The Associated Press. “At the least, they were guilty of gross negligence, and (therefore) of involuntary manslaughter.”
The Schaibles, who have six other children, declined to comment as they left the courthouse to await sentencing Feb. 2.
Experts say about a dozen U.S. children die in faith-healing cases each year. An Oregon couple were sentenced this year to 16 months in prison for negligent homicide in the death of their teenage son, who had an undiagnosed urinary blockage.
Church Pastor Nelson A. Clark and other members believe God is a better medical resource than the medical community which, it feels is, flawed.
Church elders do not shun members who seek medical care, although they pray that they make a different choice next time, he said. He notes the high number of deaths blamed each year on medical mistakes – as many as 100,000 a year in hospitals alone, according to a widely discussed Institute of Medicine study from 1999.
“The legal community is trying to force our church group to put them in the hands of this flawed medical system, when they have chosen to put them in the hands of a perfect God, who does not make mistakes,” Clark said Friday.Click here for reuse options!
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