This is so sad. A 16-year-old boy died after suffering with a ruptured appendix for over a week while his parents prayed he would be healed by faith rather than take him to a hospital.
Via NY Daily News:
An Oregon couple so devoted to spiritual healing they let their teenage son die in agony instead of getting medical help pled guilty in court on Tuesday and will receive probation.
Russel and Brandi Bellew, of Crewswell, Ore., tried to “pray away” 16-year-old Austin Sprout’s infection from a ruptured appendix in February. The faith healing didn’t work — he died a week and a half later, according to The Register-Guard.
“The family, through their reliance on faith, ended up praying for his recovery,” prosecutor Erik Hasselman said in court, adding that Sprout agreed with his parents’ decision to not seek medical care. “It appeared that [Sprout] wanted to respect his faith and the manner in which he was brought up.”
The family is part of the General Assembly and Church of the First Born, which doesn’t believe in using modern medicine.
Sprout would have been cured had he received medical attention, police said.
Russel Bellew, 40, and wife Brandi, 36, were arrested in February after an investigation into their son’s death.
They pled guilty Tuesday to negligent homicide charges and were sentenced to five years of probation. As part of the plea deal, the couple also must also follow an in-home safety plan set up by the Department of Human Services to protect their other six children, according to KVAL News.
“We spelled out certain circumstances under which, if their child was ill or debilitated, they need affirmatively to seek medical care under the situations,” Hasselman said.
Sprout was Brandi Bellew’s biological son, and Russel’s stepson. He was a junior at Creswell High School and a member of the basketball team.
In Oregon, faith-based healing isn’t a defense against manslaughter charges. The District Attorney’s office is working with churches to explain the law.
What a terrible tragedy that didn’t have to happen. Jesus would’ve took that appendix with the help of a surgeon!
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