OREGON CITY — Carl and Raylene Worthington told detectives that they never considered calling a doctor, even as their 15-month-old daughter deteriorated and died.
“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.
In Clackamas County Circuit Court on Wednesday, prosecutors played videotaped police interviews with the Worthingtons, who are accused of criminal mistreatment and manslaughter for failing to provide medical care for their daughter. Ava Worthington died March 2, 2008, after her parents and other members of the Followers of Christ tried to treat her with faith healing.
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.
Two hours later Ava was dead.
The interviewers, Detectives Michelle Finn and James Rhodes of the Clackamas County Sheriff Office’s child-abuse unit, asked pointed questions, and Brent Worthington provided details about his, his family’s and his church’s beliefs and practices.
He said no one in his immediate family has ever been to a doctor or used prescription or over-the-counter medicine. “It’s not something we believe in.”
The detectives also asked about the growth on Ava’s neck, which swelled during the last days of her life. Prosecutors allege the lump — a benign cystic hygroma — impeded her breathing.
The soft lump became more noticeable two months before Ava died and started to get “tight” the day before her death, according to the Worthingtons.
Brent Worthington said he had ultimate responsibility for Ava’s care. “I’m the head of the house; it falls to me. The wife follows the husband.”
He said he confers with his wife but did not consult with anyone else about treating Ava’s illness. Raylene Worthington did not dispute the decision to rely on spiritual healing, he said.
Asked if she would have taken Ava to a doctor if she knew her child was dying, Raylene Worthington said, “I don’t know.”
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.”
Dr. Christopher Young, the deputy state medical examiner who conducted the girl’s autopsy, disagreed. “The absence of action led to her death,” said Young, who testified after the jury saw the interviews.
Ava’s cyst first appeared when she was a few months old.
By Christmas 2007, the cyst was swollen and likely interfered Ava’s with breathing, Young said. “That’s the time when a reasonable parent” would have taken a child to a doctor, he said.
Ava’s various medical conditions were easily treated, and antibiotics and a simple medical procedure could have saved her right up to the day she died, Young said.
The cyst could have been drained with a needle, providing temporary but instant relief, Young said, and antibiotics could have dampened the infections.
This doesn’t really have much to do with religion, but this was quite interesting because a lot of religious people came out of the woodwork claiming god had saved this woman’s life by making her miss her flight. I guess they were wrong…
An Italian woman who arrived late for the Air France plane flight that crashed in the Atlantic last week has been killed in a car accident.
Johanna Ganthaler, a pensioner from Bolzano-Bozen province, had been on holiday in Brazil with her husband Kurt and missed Air France Flight 447 after turning up late at Rio de Janeiro airport on May 31.
All 228 people aboard lost their lives after the plane crashed into the Atlantic four hours into its flight to Paris.
The ANSA news agency reported that the couple had managed to pick up a flight from Rio the following day.
It said that Ms Ganthaler died when their car veered across a road in Kufstein, Austria, and swerved into an oncoming truck. Her husband was seriously injured.
This article isn’t new (it’s from 2002), but… damn.
Saudi Arabia’s religious police stopped schoolgirls from leaving a blazing building because they were not wearing correct Islamic dress, according to Saudi newspapers.
In a rare criticism of the kingdom’s powerful “mutaween” police, the Saudi media has accused them of hindering attempts to save 15 girls who died in the fire on Monday.
About 800 pupils were inside the school in the holy city of Mecca when the tragedy occurred.
According to the al-Eqtisadiah daily, firemen confronted police after they tried to keep the girls inside because they were not wearing the headscarves and abayas (black robes) required by the kingdom’s strict interpretation of Islam.
One witness said he saw three policemen “beating young girls to prevent them from leaving the school because they were not wearing the abaya”.
The Saudi Gazette quoted witnesses as saying that the police – known as the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice – had stopped men who tried to help the girls and warned “it is a sinful to approach them”.
The father of one of the dead girls said that the school watchman even refused to open the gates to let the girls out.
“Lives could have been saved had they not been stopped by members of the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice,” the newspaper concluded.
Families of the victims have been incensed over the deaths.
Most of the victims were crushed in a stampede as they tried to flee the blaze.
The school was locked at the time of the fire – a usual practice to ensure full segregation of the sexes.
The religious police are widely feared in Saudi Arabia. They roam the streets enforcing dress codes and sex segregation, and ensuring prayers are performed on time.
Those who refuse to obey their orders are often beaten and sometimes put in jail.
See, religion DOES improve our lives. That is, by “improve”, you mean “doesn’t improve”.
A Tunisian pilot who paused to pray instead of taking emergency measures before crash-landing his plane, killing 16 people, has been sentenced to 10 years in jail by an Italian court along with his co-pilot.
The 2005 crash at sea off Sicily left survivors swimming for their lives, some clinging to a piece of the fuselage that remained floating after the ATR turbo-prop aircraft splintered upon impact.
A fuel-gauge malfunction was partly to blame but prosecutors said the pilot had succumbed to panic, praying out loud instead of following emergency procedures and then opting to crash-land the plane instead trying to reach a nearby airport.
Another five employees of Tuninter, a subsidiary of Tunisair, were sentenced to between eight and nine years in jail by the court, in a verdict handed down on Monday.
The seven accused, who were not in court, will not spend time in jail until the appeals process has been exhausted.
A stampede at a hill-top temple in western India killed more than 147 people and wounded 55 others who had gathered to celebrate the start of a religious holiday on Tuesday, police said.
More than 25,000 devotees were trying to reach the 15th-century temple through a steep and narrow pathway when the stampede occurred around dawn Tuesday, officials said.
The Chamunda Devi temple is located inside a fort atop a hill in Jodhpur, the second-largest city and a popular tourist destination in the Indian state of Rajasthan.
Authorities do not know what prompted the rush, but state Police Chief K.S. Bains rejected as “baseless” reports that it was triggered by rumors of a bomb.
“But one thing is clear that a cascading effect did take place as it was a slope where it happened,” he said.
India has been on edge in recent days after a string of deadly bombings across the country.
The crowd had gathered to celebrate the start of Navaratri or nine nights. For nine nights and 10 days, Hindus worship the various forms of a Hindu goddess.
Rajasthan Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria told reporters that police had planned for the event and deployed “enough” officers for crowd control. But the massive numbers overwhelmed them.
… if you are an atheist and you don’t believe in anything, if you die, what is there to go to? Nothing. You are worm dirt. So for their son to die for nothing… that is pretty hard to get your head around that.
It’s nice to see what a well wishing Christian Military leader has to say about dead Atheist soldiers.
15-month-old girl died from untreated infection, authorities say
OREGON CITY, Ore. – A couple whose church preaches against medical care are facing criminal charges after their young daughter died of an infection that authorities said went untreated.
Carl and Raylene Worthington were indicted Friday on charges of manslaughter and criminal mistreatment in the death of their 15-month-old daughter Ava. They belong to the Followers of Christ Church, whose members have a history of treating gravely ill children only with prayer.
Ava died March 2 of bronchial pneumonia and a blood infection. The state medical examinerâ€™s office has said she could have been treated with antibiotics.
Dr. Christopher Young, a deputy state medical examiner, said the childâ€™s breathing was further hampered by a benign cyst on her neck that had never been medically addressed, The Oregonian reported.
Laws passed in the 1990s struck down legal shields for faith-healing parents after the deaths of several children whose parents were members of the fundamentalist church.