Thursday, September 02, 2010

Medical mania

The KTBB (Tyler, TX) radio station asked for opinions this morning, "Should parents be charged in 'faith-healing' deaths?". I received no answer after the 8th phone ring, so decided to post my opinion on my blog instead.

A couple who are members of the Followers of Christ church in Oregon City, Oregon, pled not guilty to manslaughter on Monday. The charge is for failing to provide medical care to their son, who died shortly after birth. The baby was premature, weighing a little over 3 lbs. The birth was neither attended by a doctor, nor was one called. The members of this church believe in using prayer instead of medicine.

In general parents should have the right to make medical decisions for their minor children, whether they believe in prayer only, medicine only, or a combination of both. Since children are involved this becomes a very emotional issue.

We have lived in a secularized society so long that many do not believe God can heal and that medical attention is always the proper and necessary option. In cases like this one in Oregon City, most will assert that the child would have lived if he had gotten medical attention. But if we think little deeper about it we would remember that children getting medical attention die every day. Some die in spite of the medical attention, and some die from the medicines or procedures they get. Do you want to charge those parents with manslaughter too? If not, why not?

[Note: I do not endorse the religious views of the Followers of Christ church in Oregon City, Oregon, and I do not believe it is wrong to seek medical attention.]


Anonymous said...

I believe this case might be simplified somewhat if you look at it from a purely legal standpoint.

I am wondering if there is a law on the books anywhere in the Unites States which specifically states that a parent must have a doctor present during childbirth, or seek out medical attention for any ailment? If there is,then maybe there could be a gripe. If there is not, then I would say the case is closed. If there is such a provision, would it not be considered unlawful if a parent did not use medical care for something as common as a runny nose or a minor stomach ailment?

I agree about how nothing is ever said when medical attention is used without a desirable effect, sometimes even to the detriment of the individual. It seems there is little outcry over the increasing tendancy to over- medicate children today for everything under the sun. Sometimes this will start as early as 4 or 5 years of age. It has almost become a fad. The reason being that "everyone else is doing it, so it is now the acceptable thing to do." Surely things such as this will leave long-lasting implications for some children.

jim1927 said...

When I was in college, a professor said, "For every law that is created, you will live long enough to regret it."

I think that laws have gone long beyond protecting the people in a multple society.

We had a case in Canada a few years back, where a loving father placed his daughter,a totally handicapped child, mentally and physically, in his truck and took her life with the exhaust pipe. He was charged and went to prison.

Notice I said above, "a loving father." No one care more for that child than he did. In the end he broke and could take no more of her suffering. She did have all the medical attention available (under a free medical care progam) but nothing could be done for her state.

Death from carbon monoxide poisoning is painless. He used a method that seemed most fitting. He didn't shoot the child, strangle her, or otherwise abuse her physically.

Just sometimes things go beyond what the legal arm can handle. Sometimes we need to turn the provebial blind eye, which the courts and lawyers can't always do.

Am I saying what he did was right? Not at all, but then, what would I do if I reached that level of suffering for that child. True understanding went beyond what the law provided.