11-Year-Old Girl Dies of Untreated Diabetes as Parents Pray for Spiritual Healing

In Wisconsin, another case of alleged religion-based abuse is being investigated after 11-year-old girl Madeline (“Kara”) Neumann died of untreated diabetes as her parents prayed for divine intervention. The last time Kara had reportedly been to a doctor was at age three. Notably, this follows just days after the death of 15-month old Ava Worthington in Oregon in a case that will test one of the new faith healing laws.

The parents, Leilani and Dale Neumann, believe that healing comes from God but insist that they did not know she was that close to death and, according to Dale, started CPR “as soon as the breath of life left” his daughter’s body.

That would appear a bit too late since experts say that Kara must have been sick for at least 30 days.

She died from diabetic ketoacidosis due to a fatal lack of insulin in her body.

The couple has three other children and Dale insisted “We believe the word of God and live according to its precepts.”

Leilani added: “Our lives are in God’s hands and whatever we go through we are just going to trust him. We need healing. We are going through the healing process.”

Other parents have been charged criminally in such cases, but here the parents insist that they would have taken Kara to a doctor if they knew how sick she was. However, there still seems a some question of abuse given the eight years without seeing a doctor and the failure to notice a child dying for 30 days.

The Oregon case will be interesting to watch. 15-month old Ava Worthington died March 2 from from bacterial bronchial pneumonia and infection — a death that could have been easily avoided with antibiotics. In 1999, Oregon eliminated its controversial “spiritual-healing defense” in cases of second-degree manslaughter, first- and second-degree criminal mistreatment and nonpayment of child support. For the full story, click here

For the full story, click here.

52 thoughts on “11-Year-Old Girl Dies of Untreated Diabetes as Parents Pray for Spiritual Healing”

  1. I’m wondering if the parents just didn’t want to pay for treatment so they told the police they were “praying over her” instead. You can not know something serious is going on when your child has diabetic ketoacidosis. Kids with that are in the PICU! That is unless they didn’t see her for the month before her death. Heck, maybe the prayer thing was a cover-up of their kid being locked in a room for a month while suffering diabetic ketoacidosis!

    “God helps people who help themselves” (Ben Franklin) She was too young to help herself, it was her parents’ job! You can’t just sit there and do nothing! How much or how little faith you have doesn’t determine healing! Sure, faith probably helps, but God heals when He chooses for reasons only He knows.

    If they “believe the word of God and live according to its precepts.” then why did they manage to forget the parts like this?

    “Proverbs 24:11-12
    11 Rescue those being led away to death;
    hold back those staggering toward slaughter.

    12 If you say, ‘But we knew nothing about this,’
    does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
    Does not he who guards your life know it?
    Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?”

    Yet they managed to do the exact opposite of that.

  2. These people would be shot if they said they were praying to the power rangers….

    And god did provide them with a solution, by providing them with the services of a hospital and docter…

    What morons

  3. Jay:

    I know you are sincere as well, and I agree that ideology influences much of what we say and do since our beliefs are our representations about the world and how it works. I can certainly accept that moments or even some weeks before our birth we are viable and could live independently and thus deserving of some protection. I am just caught on that scale of justice between the state reaching out it’s cold hard hand and compelling the mother to do something with her body that she is not predisposed to do. As you know, some proposals require the mother to give birth even in the case or rape or incest, and inexplicably, the Catholic Church even bans it if the life of the mother is at stake.

    My objections are thus more “state and citizen,” rather than “church and state.” I certainly understand the other’s side point of view that this is more rescue that usurpation of rights, but, as you say, I am ideologically opposed to granting this much of an intrusion into our rights by an entity that the Founders knew was incapable of moderation.

    I think the independence counterexample you cite is probably inapposite in that financial dependency does not affect the definition of life that I postulated. Anyone born alive retains their ability to adapt and respond. And no one would say they are in any sense “not alive.”

  4. I very much avoid Roe v Wade arguments. But I will weigh in briefly then step aside.

    I have to agree with Jay. Human life must begin at conception. Any other starting point (before or after) faces philosophical objections in my view.

  5. Thanks Mespo,

    I know you’re sincere. But I think that your thoughts here reflect more ideology than sound reasoning based on scientific observation. Moments before you or I were born, we were still, practically speaking, human lives with meaning. We were and continue to be persons.

    The independency line of reasoning is interesting. In my experience, children remain highly dependent on their parents (or others) beyond birth (for even 18 years or more :)). But parents do not retain the right to extinguish their existence. And what of disabled people who remain dependent their whole lives? Do they achieve any essence of personhood?

    Again, I’m not at all sure your “classic definition” of life squares with the biological definition of when human life begins. I think we jut disagree at what stage in human growth and development, we as a society, should protect that life. And if lines must be drawn, they shouldn’t be arbitrary. And the birth-only line (while a bright line) doesn’t reflect reality or what science proves to us.

  6. Jay:

    I am not sure what is scientific about history but clearly the Church and Philosophy were split on the issue. I say that because the religious crowd tries to convince us that the Church spoke with one voice on this when it clearly did not. The driving force of religion is what got these protections for the fetus passed. At common law, murder did not include the unborn, so I think you have the argument backward. The change in the law did not predate the religious influence but instead was caused by it. Some states distinguish between killing a natural person and killing a fetus but at common law, murder only occurred against a person born alive.

    My personal feeling is that I became a person when I was born. Until then I was a part of my mother without much awareness of my world or my place in it. After birth, I met the classic definition of life in that I was able to adapt to my environment through internal processes without reliance on my mother. I could also grow independent from my host and respond to stimuli. To me, the essence of personhood was my independence from my mother which could only occur after I was born.

  7. Jill,

    Thanks again. I think we agree on several things, but in other areas we will not. But you might like to peruse this post: http://oldfordroad.wordpress.com/2007/04/07/why-are-you-pro-life/


    It’s a bit confusing when you introduce all the very interesting, ancient, religious and completely unscientific history of the abortion issue (which promotes abortion), but then charge that religion is still the driving force behind the pro-life movement (which is against abortion). While I readily admit that many religious people are pro-life, the opposite is also true. And as Justice Blackmun points out in Roe, science really couldn’t tell those Justices very much 35 years ago. But science advances rapidly and is now the driving force behind challenges to abortion rights. Stenberg v. Carhart is an excellent example.

    You have yet to address the blatant inconsistency in our legal system, i.e. how an individual may be charged with two deaths for example in a car accident involving a woman and her unborn child even if she were on her way to haven an abortion? Or how a pregnant woman has the Constitutional right to abort her own unborn 9-month old female baby who may be moments away from being born with her own Constitutional rights.

    It doesn’t make any sense.

    You say that “a blastocyst is not a human being in any meaningful sense.” Okay then, please tell us when it was that you personally became a human being in a meaningful way. (And I won’t make any lawyer crack here.) 🙂

    Does “human meaning” depend on a mother’s love? What’s scientific about that?

  8. I did a high school term paper in 1973 on the, then, recent Supreme Court decision. Much of my research included the religious aspects, as Mespo (and I, in a past post) cited.

    Little did I know, even then, that Roe vs. Wade and the resultant legalization of abortion would, in many ways, be even more controversial today – 35 years later!


    p.s I got an A- for being ’emotional’ 😉

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