A 16-year-old Clackamas, Oregon boy, Neal Beagley, died Tuesday, June 17, following complications from an infected urethra. As he was older than 14 years of age, he could determine which medical treatment he received or did not receive, and he chose the path of faith healing. Physicians felt that a catheter would have saved his life had he sought professional medical treatment.  He became ill about a week before he passed away.

He is the uncle of a 15-month-old girl who similarly passed away.  Her parents, Carl and Raylene Worthington, members of the Followers of Christ Church, have been indicted on criminal mistreatment and manslaughter charges.

They are defending themselves on the basis that it was their religious right to follow their faith. 

In the early 1990s, Oregon lawmakers passed new laws that removed protections for faith-healing parents after several children from the Followers of Christ church died.

This is the latest in a string of stories that involve conflicts between religious beliefs of parents and the interest of the state in protecting children.  The Followers of Christ Church, I should mention, is not affiliated with a mainstream denomination.

ABC News has posted the a video on the story at http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/story?id=5197489&page=1

The Wall Street Journal has published a good overview of the issue of the rights of faith healers versus the state interest in safety on its blog at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121322824482066211.html?mod=2_1566_leftbox

 
 

10 Comments

  1. lizzie says:

    These cases always disturb me. The 16 year old did have the right to refuse medical treatment, but the parents of the 4 year old should be prosecuted, in my opinion. They allowed their child to suffer an agonizing death.

  2. lizzie says:

    These cases always disturb me. The 16 year old did have the right to refuse medical treatment, but the parents of the 4 year old should be prosecuted, in my opinion. They allowed their child to suffer an agonizing death.

  3. Cammeel1 says:

    These types of stories break my heart. I have always wanted to, and try to, respect the faith and beliefs of others but my own beliefs stand strong when it comes to this refusal of medical treatment. God helps those who help themselves. God gave us the brillant men and women over the years that have developed the incredible technology of medicine today. God gifted these doctors with ways to heal us through Him. Such a tragedy! I cannot understand.

  4. Cammeel1 says:

    These types of stories break my heart. I have always wanted to, and try to, respect the faith and beliefs of others but my own beliefs stand strong when it comes to this refusal of medical treatment. God helps those who help themselves. God gave us the brillant men and women over the years that have developed the incredible technology of medicine today. God gifted these doctors with ways to heal us through Him. Such a tragedy! I cannot understand.

  5. Jesslyn says:

    I am not sure that a 16 year old boy is old enough and mature enough to make a decision of this magnitude. Teenagers tend to have an invincibility complex and don't really have a sense of mortality or that they can truly die. This is a scary story and one that doesn't have easy answers. Once we start forcing people to take treatment, where does it end?

  6. Jesslyn says:

    I am not sure that a 16 year old boy is old enough and mature enough to make a decision of this magnitude. Teenagers tend to have an invincibility complex and don't really have a sense of mortality or that they can truly die. This is a scary story and one that doesn't have easy answers. Once we start forcing people to take treatment, where does it end?

  7. elicia says:

    This story is very sad. At the age of 16 he had the decision on whether or not he would accept medical treatment. He was old enough to make that decision. The sad part was that he was raised that prayer would solve everything and probably did not know of the medical treatments that were avaialble. We need a bill that will get rid of the cray types of religions that do nothing but harm people.

  8. elicia says:

    This story is very sad. At the age of 16 he had the decision on whether or not he would accept medical treatment. He was old enough to make that decision. The sad part was that he was raised that prayer would solve everything and probably did not know of the medical treatments that were avaialble. We need a bill that will get rid of the cray types of religions that do nothing but harm people.

  9. Beth says:

    I just hate hearing this kind of thing. I don't understand how refusing medical treatment makes sense. I know people should have their own rights. I just feel we should always stand on the side of life. I am against abortion in any circumstances as well as against the death penalty in any circumstances. I also believe we should do whatever we can to save a life regardless of age, circumstances, etc. To say anything else on any of the aforementioned topics says I don't regard life.

  10. Beth says:

    I just hate hearing this kind of thing. I don't understand how refusing medical treatment makes sense. I know people should have their own rights. I just feel we should always stand on the side of life. I am against abortion in any circumstances as well as against the death penalty in any circumstances. I also believe we should do whatever we can to save a life regardless of age, circumstances, etc. To say anything else on any of the aforementioned topics says I don't regard life.

 
 
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