Parents use of “faith healing” results in another dead child.

Yeah, I’m going to beat on that “What’s the harm in religious belief?” meme again. This time the harm befell a 15-month-old girl named Ava Worthington who died from a combination of a benign cystic hygroma on her neck that impeded her breathing and pneumonia. Both of her parents are on trial charged with criminal mistreatment and manslaughter for failing to provide their daughter with adequate medical care. When detectives asked the father why he didn’t take his baby girl to a doctor he gave them the following explanation:

“I don’t believe in them,” Carl Worthington said of doctors. “I believe in faith healing.”

Raylene Worthington said that her religious beliefs do not encompass medical care and that she would not have done anything different for her – daughter, who died at home of pneumonia, a blood infection and other complications.

Here’s what they did instead:

Ava’s father, who goes by Brent, his middle name, described what happened:

Ava came down with what appeared to be a cold or the flu on a Tuesday. By Saturday, her breathing became labored and the family turned to its traditional faith-healing rituals, praying, fasting, anointing the body with oil, administering diluted wine and laying on of hands.

By Sunday, Brent Worthington said he thought there was “a possibility” his daughter was so sick she could die. Then, after a final session of laying on of hands at about 5 p.m., “she perked up,” he said. She grabbed her bottle and “took some food.”

“She was peaceful; she was rested,” Worthington said.

She died two hours later. Suddenly their religious beliefs don’t seem so harmless anymore. Unfortunately the harm didn’t befall the people who held the beliefs, but to their innocent child. When you buy into your delusion so much that you abandon proven techniques for pointless rituals this is the result you end up with. The really sad part is that Worthington doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong:

Brent Worthington said that forgoing medical treatment is probably difficult for outsiders to understand. For him, medical treatment “is not a question. It’s not even thought.”

When the detectives told Worthington that the law requires a parent to provide adequate medical care, he said he had provided care.

“I did everything I could do for her,” Worthington said. “What I was doing was working,” he said. “She was getting relief.”

The fact that she’s dead in no way interferes with this man’s belief that what he was doing was working. Facts don’t tend to influence the delusional.

Believe whatever nonsense you want, pray all you want, but try to keep enough common sense in your head to take your kids to the doctor when they get sick. Otherwise don’t be surprised if you end up in jail for your idiocy.

15 thoughts on “Parents use of “faith healing” results in another dead child.

  1. Dear Mr Worthington.

    If there was a god then this is either
    1)proof that he hates you.
    2)a sign that god does provide, and that providence is called medicine.

  2. I could almost buy it if they said “Well, being healed by a doctor would destroy the soul and I’d rather my kid was dead.” or if they’d simply never heard of doctors.

    Sure it’s a stupid and silly argument, and anyone who uses it is a heartless bastard, but at least it accepts the fact that doctors CAN heal people.  This isn’t about religion.  This is just plain stupid, and worse, it cost the life of someone other than the stupid people.  They killed their daughter as surely as if they had run her over with a car saying “My religion says that this will improve her posture.”

    Idiots.

  3. This is the kind of crap that gives Christians like myself a bad name.  People think we’re all a bunch of nuts.  Poor little girl.  If someone in my family is sick, they go to the doctor.  God don’t like stupid.

  4. I’m fairly sure that in the UK their is no ‘faith’ get out clause. Damn social-liberal countries with their established religeons.

  5. This reminds me of the old joke.

    A man goes to church, kneels, looks up and screams, “GOD!?! I’ve prayed everyday for 20yrs that you would let me win the lottery, why do you ignore me?!?”

    God finally responds, “Why don’t you meet me halfway and buy a ticket…”

  6. This one made me wonder if it really was stupidity or delusion and not simply convenience.

    Does anyone know what kind of sentence these people get on average?

  7. I’ve not seen anything that suggests that these people didn’t love their child. As for the sentence, it varies depending on the trial in question.

  8. I like Last Hussar’s take on this (07/02/09). Remember what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah when the residents treated two strangers badly, not knowing that they represented God. Then, there’s Matt 25:35 – 40 “. . .Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Will these asshats say to God, “But we gave you what we thought was the best medicine, even though everyone around us tried to tell us that it was not.” Oh, to be a fly on the wall at that judgment!  tongue wink

  9. I’ve not seen anything that suggests that these people didn’t love their child. As for the sentence, it varies depending on the trial in question.

    Doesn’t excuse willful stupidity.  I’m not saying that they should be treated as murderers.  They obviously didn’t WANT their child to die, but neither should they just be treated as clueless idiots.  It takes a special kind of stupid to do what they did… or I should say: to NOT do what they didn’t do.

  10. Who said anything about excusing willful stupidity? Justice suggested these people may have let their child die out of convenience and that is what I was responding to. I don’t think these people honestly intended for their child to die.

    That in no way excuses the stupidity of their actions and I’d be all too pleased if they had the book thrown at them for their willful ignorance.

  11. Who said anything about excusing willful stupidity? Justice suggested these people may have let their child die out of convenience and that is what I was responding to. I don’t think these people honestly intended for their child to die.

    That in no way excuses the stupidity of their actions and I’d be all too pleased if they had the book thrown at them for their willful ignorance.

    As long as the sentence falls somewhere between murder and criminal negligence, not between criminal negligence and accident.  There’s no way I’m buying the “Oh we just didn’t believe in doctors” any more than I’d buy someone unplugging someone on life-support saying “How could we have known it would be fatal?”  There’s too much readily available knowledge out there that says otherwise.

    I’m not making any judgment about whether or not they loved their daughter, but if at some point the idea that their actions might result in the death of their daughter never entered their minds, then that goes beyond and standard conception of stupidity.

  12. I was really making a half-hearted attempt to express an unsettled thought, and instead… Well, that was pretty shitty. Insomnia is bad and the story is so cold to me. I’m a tough audience these days.

  13. I feel sorry for the suffering that the little girl went through………… But, I hope these two miscreants die of grief, soon, when they realize what MORONS they are, and before they progress much longer into their depraved lives…….In Fact, an act of retribution, as in the machine-gunning of these bastards, would be an act of mercy for the entire populace in general.

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