Can prayer kill? written by Sue

I saw this article tonight as I checked the local news and I couldn’t believe it!  This poor girl DIED because her parents chose to pray for her instead of taking her to the doctor when she was getting progressively worse.  Please read the short article

To top it off, these parents are requesting that the charges against them be dropped!  I have nothing against believing in your faith and praying for help and whatnot, but when someone is sick, especially a child, and you do NOTHING that angers me.  Diabetes is a very manageable condition and that girl could have lived a full and productive life, but instead her parents ignored the obvious.  I am in such disbelief over this and quite frankly really pissed off!  She was a child, you ignored her, and now you should go free????  Yes, they will probably live with horrible guilt for the rest of their lives, but you should not use religion as an excuse. 

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9 Responses to Can prayer kill? written by Sue

  1. SKL says:

    I don’t know enough about this case to judge.

    I do know a man whose son went into a diabetic coma and almost died within a couple of hours, and he had no idea that the child had diabetes. He had been kept home from school that day because he seemed to have the flu. There were no other obvious symptoms of a problem before the coma set in.

    Similarly, in the present story, the child’s diabetes was “undiagnosed” and therefore I’m not sure it’s fair to fault the parents for not knowing how to deal with it.

    Furthermore, while diabetes is a manageable disease for many kids, some still die of it, whether they go to the doctor or not. (Actually, I believe diabetes is still one of the top causes of death in our country, though I didn’t look up the statistics.)

    For these reasons, I prefer to withhold judgment about whether the parents should have known this child had a dangerous illness in time to save her life.

    I don’t like to rely on medical intervention when my kids (or I) are sick. I will postpone going to a doctor longer than some parents, because I feel they will be too quick to resort to unnecessary chemical intervention, compromising my kids’ natural immunity development. I would still go to the doctor if it started looking really serious. Hopefully my kids won’t contract an illness that becomes extremely severe very quickly. Though there is a remote possibility of this happening, I still feel that overall I’m reducing my kids’ health risks by helping them to develop their own immunity and minimizing the injection of chemicals into their body. Maybe this is what that “praying” family believed too. I don’t know. But I hope if anything happens to my kids, I won’t be accused of not caring about them just because I didn’t agree with other parents about what is best for them.

    I believe that in this country, parents should have a right to make choices for their kids based on their religion as well as their other principals. I do feel that if a child dies and it’s proven that the parents saw clear symptoms of a serious problem, they should have to prove that their decision to withhold medical treatment was based on the teachings of an established religion. For example, if they were members of the Church of Christ Scientists and called in a CS practitioner to address the child’s case, that would show a true concern for the child’s well-being even if it was a non-mainstream course of action that didn’t end well.

    The fact that a course of medical action is popular does not necessarily mean it’s the only “right” thing to do. Plenty of children in acute situations go to the hospital and die anyway. We could argue all year about whether a particular child would have been better off with or without a particular treatment. But since the parent is the person who knows the child best and cares most about him, the parent’s decision should be respected as a general rule, in my opinion.

  2. Sue says:

    I’d like to say that when I saw this article I got upset because I thought of my sister right away. Last November she was diagnosed with insulin dependent diabetes and spent 4 days in the hospital because she ignored her symptoms for TWO WEEKS and by that time her body was all out of whack. She’s 29 years old and just kept telling herself “I’ll go tomorrow”. She’s lucky there was a tomorrow!!! I am not one to rush to the doctor either when I or my kids get sick and yes, absolutely anyone can get sick and go down hill fast and there’s not time to do anything about it.

    The article didn’t tell us how long the girl had been sick or what her symptoms were so it’s hard to say how fast it all happened, but my point was that if something negligent did happen then I don’t think they should try and use their religion to get out of it.

  3. nikki says:

    Well the parents obviously knew the girl was sick because they were praying for her right? I’m sorry but prayer I think helps ease the mind and cannot cure anything. MY opinion. This makes me sick to my stomach. That poor girl was never even given a chance! I’m not huge on religion, that’s my own choice, and I have nothing against praying if you think it will help. But lets be realistic, prayer isn’t a physical thing it’s spiritual and it can’t keep you from getting sick nor can it cure you. I’ve heard of people not getting their kids vaccinated, not tending to broken bones, ect… thinking God will heal all. I don’t understand they’re thinking and I don’t want to judge, but when it involves a child who doesn’t know any better it’s not fair. As an adult make those decisions for yourself but take care of your children please and when they get older if that’s how they want to live their lives then it is solely their decision.

  4. SKL says:

    Actually, scientific studies have proven that faith and prayer improves health, including the likelihood of winning over a serious illness. At the same time, there are many instances where medical solutions have proven to do more harm than good. I am not saying this is always the case, but I feel often when a mom’s intuition tells her to choose the path less traveled, there is a reason for that. All kids are different, and every case of every illness is different. I am not saying the parents in this case were definitely right. But I am saying that as a general rule, parents should have the first right to decide these things for their kids.

    We hear of cases where a child dies allegedly due to lack of medical intervention, but we also hear of cases where a child dies due to being over-medicated. Actually, I think the latter are more common. Yet I feel that the “tinge” of religion makes people more likely to judge in the former case.

    I also feel that a decision to help a child fight an illness naturally (if possible) is more unselfish than a decision to medicate just to shut a child up and get back to sleep/work faster. I am not saying this to put anyone down, only to point out that we are programmed to think medicine is always good for the child, but many times we’re not even doing it strictly for the child. Yet our subconscious, unproven assumption that medicine is the answer can lead us to judge others who don’t agree with that assumption.

    Again, I’m not saying these people were right. Only that I am against a sweeping law or generalization that takes away a caring parent’s right to manage his/her child’s health.

  5. nikki says:

    I do think most people are programmed to think meds are always good. When my son gets a cold I usually let nature take it’s course and he will get over it. But something like an infection he will take meds for that. I don’t go to the doctor for hardly anything, when I was pregnant and having premature contractions in my back I stayed home. I know my body and I knew it wasn’t time. My sister in law was not happy with me though . I guess what I’m trying to say is this, if a medicine is a MUST to save you kids life as a parent you should give them that chance. That’s just my opinion but we do live in a free counrty and pride ourselves on being able to make our own decisions. To each their own.

  6. tessa says:

    That is really, really sad. Well written Sue. I believe prayer can only heal if it is the sick one who is praying and believing they will be healed and doing what they need to do to heal. This is sad she died for the parents ignorance, but I believe she is in a better place. Maybe she will come back, and if so live a better life. Hopefully, the parents learn a huge lesson and I know they will get back what they gave.

  7. tessa says:

    I agree Nikki totally that our society sort of brainwashes people into thinking they need medicine for everything, when we what people need is to heal themselves sometimes. You got to read The Secret book. “Incurable means curable from within.”

    “Remove physiological stress from the body, and the body does what it was designed to do. It heals itself.”

  8. Joy says:

    I’m not sure what I feel on this. I feel sad, that much I know. I also know that I grew up in a different time. I also took my kids to the doctor probably to much. It was just what we did. There were no “studies” to show about immunity and vaccines being bad. I didn’t think twice about vaccinating my kids. It’s just what we did. When Jason was 7 we all had the flu. We “thought” he had it too. I took him to the doctor even though the rest of us felt better. Doctor said the same thing, flu bug. A few days later he was still feeling sick and I told him to go get dressed and try to take his mind off of it. Paul was the one who said “we have to take him in, something is wrong.” In under an hour of us leaving our house, he was in the operating room because his appendix had ruptured. Talk about feeling like a chump! He was hospitalized for 21 days and had two surgeries. He was within ONE day of dying.

    I feel sad for the parents if they thought they were doing the right thing. Think how they must feel. I can’t judge this one. Me, myself personally, would have gone to the doctor but I think that’s mostly my age.

  9. SKL says:

    Joy, that happened to my brother too. He never complained but one day he was just moaning and lying in bed. Pediatric Services said take two aspirins and call us in the morning. My dad called home and heard him moaning in the background and said “take him in NOW” because it just had to be really bad for my brother to be moaning like a baby. Well, he had a ruptured appendix and peritinitis and nearly died too. If they had waited until morning he would have been dead.

    It is hard to know for sure what is best and I don’t mean to pretend otherwise. In the case of my brother and your son, the parent’s intuition was the deciding factor. There have been times when I’ve worried that I was making the wrong choice. A couple of weeks ago my daughter had a fever for a couple of days, and I couldn’t stop thinking about all those stories we hear about meningitis and such. But my instinct told me to just manage the fever (mostly without meds) and it would be OK, and that turned out to be right.

    I think I piggy back on my mom’s experience a lot – she had six kids and I, as the oldest daughter, observed and listened to her. My parents were pretty poor, as were their parents; my dad’s parents were Christian Scientists and my mom’s parents were Jehova’s Witnesses; so I learned a lot about what we now call “alternative” approaches to health matters. And between the eight of us, we were a pretty healthy bunch. Between that experience, my own in-depth reading, and the current stories we hear about medical interventions gone wrong, I tend to be more confident than many people about managing things at home. I am certainly not saying my way is the best or is right for everyone. But I do feel it’s right for my family and hope I never have the government trying to force my hand.

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