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Couple’s Son Dies But Parents Did Not Seek Medical Help Due To Religous Beliefs [POLL]

Philadelphia Police

You’ve probably read or seen on television, stories of people in certain religions, or faiths, that do not believe in using medical care, but instead, praying for healing. A couple serving probation since 2009 for the death of their toddler after turning to prayer instead of medical help, are now facing charges for the death of another son who has died. The couple is belong to a fundamentalist Christian Church that believes in faith healing.  Herbert and Catherine Schaible lost their 8-month-old son, Brandon, last week after he suffered from diarrhea and breathing problems for at least a week, and stopped eating. Four years ago, another son died from bacterial pneumonia.

The Associated Press is reporting prosecutors are waiting to make a decision on charges after they get the results of an autopsy.

A jury convicted the couple of involuntary manslaughter in the January 2009 death of their 2-year-old son. The child’s symptoms were coughing, congestion, and a loss of appetite. The parents said he was eating and drinking until the last day, and they thought their son was getting better.

At the couple’s hearing Monday, the judge told the couple they had violated their probation, saying the Schaibles had told investigators that they prayed to God to make Brandon well instead of seeking medical attention. On Monday, prosecutors were asking that the couple be jailed, but the judge allowed the couple to remain free to care for their seven children, who have been placed in foster care.

The church the couples attend is First Century Gospel Church in northeast Philadelphia. The church’s website has a sermon titled “Healing – From God or Medicine?” that quotes Bible verses forbidding Christians from visiting doctors or taking medicine.

The church’s pastor said in 2010 that the couple had never received medical care themselves beyond the help of a lay midwife who attends home births. Surprisingly, the couple did take their children for medical checkups as required by their probation. Their son, Brandon, was checked by a doctor when he was 10 days old, but it is unknown at this time, whether the child had seen a doctor since.

This is a tragic story, with so many layers. What do you think? Is it the right of the parents to not seek medical assistance due to their religious beliefs? Is is right for the law to dictate to parents what to do, even if it goes against the parents religious beliefs? Not one, but two children died – where is the line?

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