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Parents Who Prayed Instead Of Seeking Medical Attention For Their Dying Daughter Get Away Lightly

by Gopalan on October 8, 2009 at 10:57 AM
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 Parents Who Prayed Instead Of Seeking Medical Attention For Their Dying Daughter Get Away Lightly

Parents who prayed instead of seeking medical attention for their dying daughter have got away lightly in the US.

The 11-year-old girl died of an undiagnosed but treatable form of diabetes.


Madeline Neumann, who was known as Kara. died on the floor of the family's rural home in Wisconsin as people surrounded her and prayed in March last year. The emergency services were called only after she stopped breathing.

Judge Vincent Howard ordered the couple to serve one month in jail each year for the next six years.

One parent will serve the term in March and the other in September.

The judge told the Neumanns this would give them time to "think about Kara and what God wants you to learn from this".

He added that they were "very good people, raising their family, who made a bad decision, a reckless decision".

He added: "God probably works through other people, some of them doctors."

In addition to the custodial sentence, the Neumanns were also put on 10 years' probation, as part of which they must allow a nurse to examine their two youngest surviving children at least once every three months, and must immediately take their children to a doctor in case of any serious injuries.

Dale and Leilani Neumann of Wisconsin could have received up to 25 years in prison over the death of Kara.

The hapless girl died was apparently suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis, a condition that leaves too little insulin in the body. She could have 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 mother, Leilani Neumann, then 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.

"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.

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.

Leilani Neumann said she and her husband were not worried about the investigation because "our lives are in God's hands."

Prosecutors said the couple had recklessly killed the youngest of their four children by ignoring clear symptoms of severe illness as she became too weak to speak, eat, drink or walk.

They said the couple had a legal duty to take their daughter to a doctor but had instead relied totally on prayer for healing.

Jay Kronenwetter, Mr Neumann's lawyer, was asked in a BBC interview if he thought his client had got off lightly.

"My client sees spiritual treatment as the proper medicine and I suspect the people who want harsher punishment see Western medicine as the proper medicine, I guess therein lies the difference," he told the BBC World Service.

"My clients just happen to have a belief that is very outside of our social norm."

The couple are appealing their convictions.

Source: Medindia

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