Thursday, March 27, 2008

Wisconsin girl dies as parents try praying

11-year-old, Weston, WI girl, Madeline Kara Neumann (right), was sick for a month with untreated Type 1 Diabetes before she slipped into a coma and finally passed away.

Her parents opted to pray instead of seeking medical assistance for their child, even though "the family does not attend an organized church or participate in an organized religion" and despite desperate pleas from other family members in California.

Apparently, the girl had not been to a doctor since she was three years old when she received vaccinations.

According to Nancy Grace's show, Leilani Neumann (the girl's mother) gave this statement: "We are just a normal family. We are non-denominational. We do not consider ourselves religious. When we are sick, we just lay our hands on the sick to heal them. We believe in the power of prayer."

This may not be a strictly feminist issue, but it is personal to me. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes three days after my 12th birthday. I was only a little older than Madeline.

According to the American Diabetes Association, "In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar (glucose), starches and other food into energy needed for daily life."

Symptoms may include vomiting, excessive thirst and urination, loss of appetite and weakness. I personally experienced all of these in the month before I was finally diagnosed with the disease, and it was an awful experience. I also lost a lot of weight, and looking back at some of the pictures of me at that time, I looked obviously sick and very thin.

From personal experience, I know that Madeline's death had to be painful. Before my diagnosis, my worst problems, at the beginning, were the extreme thirst and the nearly-constant urination. I could not sit through a 40 minute class period without needing to be excused. I was able to largely hide these symptoms from my parents, making excuses, or just plain stories to hide these embarrassing symptoms. But some of the other signs I could not hide. My mother finally took me to the doctor after I had vomited several times, as my body tried to rid itself of the undigested sugars in my system, and
had excessive trouble sleeping.

That said, I cannot imagine how her parents could sit there and watch her condition slowly deteriorate and eventually die. The worst part is that Type 1 Diabetes is easily treatable...when you get the proper diagnosis and treatment. I have been living with the disease for over seven years now.

It angers me to know that I could have been put in a similar situation, but my mother took action and got treatment for me, and I have had the opportunity to live a fulfilling life, an opportunity that Madeline will never have.

Why? I have trouble understanding her parents' reasoning. Her mother claims that they don't consider themselves religious, and they do not affiliate with any organized church or religion. Why did they let their daughter die?

This was all preventable. How do you feel about parents being able to choose the treatment their child receives?

7 comments:

Tyler said...

Some people should not be allowed to have kids, that is all there is, plain and simple.

Matty-Poo said...

Tyler would know. But on a more serious note, I totally agree with you Tyler. Some people should NOT be allowed to have children. You couldn't have said it any better.

Geoff said...

The whole thing doesn't make any sense. If all sickness could be healed 100% through prayer, there would be no doctors.

Josh said...

Yay Geoff, I was just about to say something right along those lines. I don't care how religious you are, you've got to put your kids/family before it.

Kate said...

Are her parents' being prosecuted?

JPR said...

Well on one hand people should be allowed to choose the treatment for their kids if they want. on the other hand yeah, there are idiots.

An alternative hypothesis is that God wanted the kid to die all along.

Josh said...

Yet another hypothesis, there is no God and a girl went through a month of absolutely pointless pain.