A tragic event, and good luck with that defense !

It’s happened again. A child is dead that did not need to die. A 2yo toddler in Pennsylvania died from a Haemophilus influenzae infection, a bug against which we have had a vaccine for 30 years, which has reduced the incidence of the potentially deadly infection by 99%, according to the CDC:

Due to routine use of the Hib conjugate vaccine since 1990, the incidence of Hib disease in infants and young children has decreased by 99% to fewer than 1 case per 100,000 children under 5 years of age. In the United States, Hib disease occurs primarily in underimmunized children and among infants too young to have completed the primary immunization series.

The parents are members of a religious sect called First Century Gospel Church, who state on their website :

Believing faith in the atonement work of Jesus includes trusting God for healing without medicine, for divine protection without devices, and for daily needs without laid-up money. Acts 3:16 “By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him.” When we worship and serve God, He heals us of illness Exodus 23:25.

This is death by religious lunacy. It happens way too often, and it has in fact happened to members of this particular group before:

In 1993, Philadelphia officials got a court order against another couple after they prayed over their 12-year-old son at home instead of taking him to an emergency room after he was hit by a car and seriously injured.

And in 1991, the church and another congregation, Faith Tabernacle of Nicetown, came under scrutiny after eight children died in a measles epidemic after members resisted vaccinating their children.

So in this case, the child seems to have been killed by a double whammy, he wasn’t vaccinated, and when he fell ill with HiB, he wasn’t given proper medical care.

A Philadelphia forensic pathologist told a Common Pleas Court jury Tuesday that a 2-year-old Rhawnhurst boy would almost certainly be alive had he received routine medical care before he died last year of pneumonia.

“This type of pneumonia, this type of bacteria, is preventable through vaccination and treatable with antibiotics,” testified Assistant Medical Examiner Edwin Lieberman, referring to the disease that killed Kent Schaible in January 2009.

Another report details what the Schaibles did to make their child better :

When Kent got sick in January 2009, his parents, Herbert, 42, and Catherine, 41, followed the teachings of their fundamentalist church and prayed fervently.

For 10 days the couple remained in their Northeast Philadelphia home praying over their 2-year-old son’s 32-pound body, believing his symptoms, including a sore throat, chest congestion, diarrhea, and trouble swallowing and sleeping were signs of a bad cold or flu.

When the boy died of bacterial pneumonia on Jan. 24, 2009, Philadelphia Assistant Medical Examiner Edwin Lieberman ruled the death a homicide, noting that it could have been prevented with basic medical care.

The defense that those parents reportedly are preparing is preposterous :

Both Schaible lawyers argued that the couple – both quit school after ninth grade – cannot be expected to know when cold and flu symptoms are life-threatening pneumonia.

You know, my Emergency Department is full of parents of perfectly well children with a fever. Curious how those parents manage to be concerned enough about their child’s wellbeing that they suffer the hours-long wait to see a doctor.

This one is the best though :

“If we don’t get through the emotion, we will never get to the reason that this child passed away,” said Bobby Hoof, the attorney for Herbert Schaible, 42. “We are not here to discuss religion, we’re here to discuss why this child passed away.”

Hoof said he would bring in his own expert forensic pathologist, the celebrated Pittsburgh medical examiner Cyril Wecht, who will testify that the bacterium that killed Kent – Haemophilus influenzae Type B – is resistant to antibiotics.

Good luck with that Cyril, because you would be commiting perjury. From this study , to link to just one I could effortlessly google, it is clear that the resistance of HiB to commonly prescribed antibiotics is widespread, but far from total. There are still plenty of antibiotics that work against HiB, if you go and see a doctor, or go to an Emergency Room. And had this child been vaccinated, this wouldn’t have happened in the first place.

I’m sick and tired of children getting sick and dying because of unfit, deluded parents. Getting out of vaccinating your child by signing a waver(as is current practice in my state) just doesn’t cut it.That’s like signing a waver that you don’t want to pay taxes. It shouldn’t be possible.


Update : Another defense that I think will not go down too well has emerged :

Philadelphia social worker Kenneth Dixon testified Wednesday that Herbert Schaible (SHY-bull) said “we tried to fight the devil, but in the end the devil won” when questioned about the January 2009 death of his 2-year-old son.

I hope these freaks get locked up.And it would be interesting to know if the Schaibles were in any way influenced by the leaders, or other members of that church, to withhold medical treatment for their son.

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