Thursday, March 27, 2008

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: True Religious Belief or is it about Control?

11-year old Madeline Neumann went into a diabetic coma and died while her parents watched her. Wait, to be fair, they were praying while they were watching her. The question is, should they be prosecuted for child neglect? This is an extremely difficult question on a number of levels.

1. Does the state have a right to tell us how we should be handle family issues?
2. Does the state have a right to tell us how to deal with our health problems?
3. Can the government prove that going to the hospital is always going to be a better choice than praying?
4. And here is the big question - does the Mom and Dad have any record in the last eight years of visiting a doctor or going to the hospital (Madeline stopped receiving any medical care since she was three years old.)

Number four is what I would like to see the investigators work on when they get the case. The other questions are moral, ethical, or societal issues. However, IF, at any time during those eight years, Mom or Dad sought medical help - for pneumonia, for a broken ankle, etc., or took Excedrin for a headache or Alka-Seltzer for an upset stomach, then they did NOT rely on prayer for themselves and therefore were not convinced that this was the only solution for health problems.

If one or both of the parents used modern medicine for themselves but not for the children, then this is a control issue and their religious garments are just a cover for some very narcissistic parents who should then be brought up on neglect and abuse charges. It is such a sad case for the little Madeline Neumann who could have been saved by a simple visit to the doctor for insulin.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown


sonias said...

Another child lost to Jehovahs witness in peace madeleine, no matter what or who i believe in, i would do the best to make sure my child lives.....although sometimes the parents cannot be blamed, jehovahs get kicked out of there church, all there friends and family wont have anything to do with them if they go against beliefs, so then jehovahs are selfish in my eyes, they would prefer to still have all there friends around them tahn there own child!!!

Pat Brown said...

Dear Sonias,

First of all, these people were not Jehovhah's Witnesses who have nothing against receiving medical treatment outside of blood transfusion. If these people HAD been JV's, they would have had their daugher's diabetes treated.

All religions have rules and particular ideas because they are but groups of humans attempting to find a way through life. Many Jehovah's Witnesses are loving and kind people who adore their children. This is also true of Christians who are faith healers and atheists who may get abortions. Painting an entire groups with such a broad brush is unfair to the many decent people within those groups.

I myself am not found of visiting doctors. My children never went to them through their entire childhoods with the exception of the time one son had meningitis when he was a baby and was in a bad freak bicycle accident when he was six. I carefully weighed my medical decisions and while some people disagree with them, I carefully researched my concerns and made choices I believed were the best ones I could make.

So, while I am fairly appalled at this family's decision, I am leaving some space for honest belief in a way of life that led them to think it would cure their daughter. They won't be the first to think they had picked the best choice only to find out it was disasterous. The same could be said for the parents who believe their children were harmed by the medical profession by immunizations they now believe caused their child's autism. In trying to save their child, they destoyed them. Perhaps, prayer would have been safer! So I wouldn't charge those parents who took their child to the doctor for shots with child abuse unless they knew those shots were going to destroy their children.

So, for these parents who prayed, the question is, did they believe 100% that prayer will cure every physical malady? If they truly believed this and had prayed over a broken arm and never went to the doctor and prayed each time they had a migraine and they went away, well maybe they really thought they were helping their daughter. But, if they gave up on prayer a number of times before or the parents themselves had no problems going to doctors, then I would say they were using the child in some kind of psychological game and they need to be in jail.

Preraphazon said...

This is simple neglect. Just for starters, even if the child hadn't died, these people have got their kids living in a cult, even if it's only a cult of two. These are the kind of people who isolate their kids and may do home schooling. I have a problem with home schooling because it makes it too easy to hide abuse and gives the kid no outlet to report it. I don't know if they did home schooling or not, this couple, but I'm just saying this is the type situation you see it in.

This couple should be prosecuted for neglect. They let their kid die, despite the lack of evidence that God saves all good people. They are criminally ignorant and children brainwashed in these sick environments should be monitored closely at the very least.

Inspector Winship said...

I wrote a medical anthropology paper on this very subject (faith healing) and was blasted for being too activist in my conclusion. My opinion still hasn't changed. They neglected their child's welfare and that's it. If the parents chose not to get their child vaccinated and she came down with measles that was their choice. If the child dies from measles without receiving any medical attention, that's neglect.

I don't take my child to the doctor for every sniffle or fever but if he fell unconscious, all Hell couldn't stop me from getting him medical attention, and I would be praying.

Preraphazon said...

I can't imagine a person of normal maternal/paternal instincts not feeling the same as you, Inspector.

My guess is that behind this united-front facade, we have one power/control freak with an agenda and one weak follower and that if examined, the dynamics between the parties would look pretty much like the dynamics in any abusive household.