Followers Of Christ Child Dies Of Urinary Tract Blockage

OPB News, Oregon/June 18, 2008

For the second time in a little over two months, a child belonging to a faith-healing religious group has died of an illness that could have been treated by medical authorities. Rob Manning reports.

16-year-old Neil Beagley died Tuesday afternoon, after suffering intestinal pain for a week. That follows the death in April of Beagley’s 15-month-old niece, Ava Worthington, of bronchial pneumonia.

Both children belonged to the Followers of Christ. The religious group avoids conventional medical treatment, and instead responds to illness with prayer.

Worthington’s parents face criminal charges in connection with the toddler’s death. But Lynne Benton with the Gladstone police says that might not happen with Beagley’s parents.

The 16-year-old was old enough to make his own medical decisions under Oregon law.

Benton says family members are saying Beagley didn’t want to see a doctor.

Lynne Benton: "I believe, it’s going to be difficult to disprove that he denied medical treatment."

An autopsy revealed that Beagley died from an untreated block in his urinary tract. Doctors can usually cure that with a catheter.

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