Blind faith has claimed the life of a 11-year-old girl in the state of Wisconsin in the US. Her parents chose to pray instead of taking her to hospital.
Madeline Neumann died Sunday of a treatable form of diabetes, known as diabetic ketoacidosis, a condition that leaves too little insulin in the body.
The poor girl had probably been sick for about a month, with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, excessive thirst, loss of appetite and weakness, Everest Metro police Chief Dan Vergin said.
The girl's mother, Leilani Neumann, said she and her family believed in the Bible and healing came from God alone.
But then they did not belong to an organized religion or faith nor were they fanatical about religion, she maintained. Certainly they had nothing against doctors.
She insisted her youngest child, a wiry girl known to wear her straight brown hair in a ponytail, was in good health until recently.
"We just noticed a tiredness within the past two weeks," she said Wednesday.
"And then just the day before and that day [she died], it suddenly just went to a more serious situation. We stayed fast in prayer then."
"We believed that she would recover. We saw signs that to us, it looked like she was recovering."
Her daughter — who hadn't seen a doctor since she had some shots as a three-year-old — had no fever and there was warmth in her body, she said.
The girl's father, Dale Neumann, a former police officer, said he started CPR "as soon as the breath of life left" his daughter's body.
Family members elsewhere called authorities to seek help for the girl.
"My sister-in-law, she's very religious, she believes in faith instead of doctors," the girl's aunt told a sheriff's dispatcher Sunday afternoon in a call from California.
"And she called my mother-in-law today ... and she explained to us that she believes her daughter's in a coma now and she's relying on faith."
The dispatcher took more information from the caller and asked whether an ambulance should be sent.
"Please," the woman replied. "I mean, she's refusing. She's going to fight it.... We've been trying to get her to take her to the hospital for a week, a few days now."
The aunt called back with more information on the family's location, emergency logs show. Family friends also made a 911 call from the home. Police and paramedics arrived within minutes and immediately called for an ambulance that took the girl to a hospital.
But less than an hour after authorities reached the home, Madeline — a bright student who left public school for home schooling this semester — was declared dead, news agency AP reports.
She is survived by her parents and three older siblings.
"We are remaining strong for our children," Leilani Neumann said. "Only our faith in God is giving us strength at this time.
The Neumanns said they moved from California to a modern, middle-class home in woodsy Weston, just outside Wassau in central Wisconsin, about two years ago to open a coffee shop and be closer to other relatives.
Leilani Neumann said she and her husband are not worried about the investigation because "our lives are in God's hands."
"We know we did not do anything criminal. We know we did the best for our daughter we knew how to do."