11-year-old dies because parents refused medical treatment, going instead with prayer
Fox News reports that 11-year-old Madeline Neumann of Weston, Wisconsin has died of a treatable form of diabetes. Why? Because her parents denied her medical treatment, going instead with prayer. This is absolute lunacy. This is worse than faith-based child abuse. Another child has died because her deluded parents felt it a better idea to put their trust in an imaginary dictator than to go with the professionals, who are known to be able to effectively treat their daughter’s condition.
The article reports that Neumann had progressively gotten sicker and sicker until she died. The autopsy determined that she died from diabetic ketoacidosis, an ailment that left her with too little insulin. She had probably been ill for approximately 30 days, enduring symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, excessive thirst, loss of appetite and weakness.
What was the girls’ parents’ explanation of the death? According to police chief Dan Vergin, Dale and Leilani Neumann attributed the death to the parents not having enough faith. I’m sorry, but no. They have it 100% backwards. She died because they had way too much faith. Well, too much faith and too dangerous an interpretation of their favourite mythology.
The parents believed that the key to healing their daughter was to keep on praying and get more and more people to help pray. For the rational individual this reasoning is ridiculous. Zero is zero. Zero multiplied by some factor is still zero. No matter how many people you get praying, you’re still accomplishing nothing. In fact, in a way you’re accomplishing less than nothing, as every second a person spends doing nothing (i.e., praying) is a second they could have spent doing something (e.g., CALLING A DOCTOR!).
But wait! This may not be over! Doctor Mom believes that the girl still could be resurrected. Well halellujah! Don’t anybody call the Neumanns, they’re busy having a crash prayer session, you can be assured.
When I first heard of this story, I figured the family were either Christian Scientists or Jehovah’s Witnesses. According to the police chief, they do not attend an organized church or participate in an organized religion. Rather, they have a small Bible study of a few people.
The girl was not an only child. She has three siblings ranging in age from 13 to 16. These children are being left with the family. The police chief said that there are no signs of abuse, and hence no reason to remove them.
In a secular nation which presumably aspires toward some degree of sanity, should a family that has just knowingly allowed their child to die in the name of their religion be deemed fit parents? Even if none of their other children acquire a potentially dangerous affliction, at minimum these parents will be teaching their children that prayer is the answer and medicine is not. This sort of teaching puts these children and the children of these children at significant unnecessary risk.
Hat Tip: Mark Robinson of the Humanist Globe