Grandmother in faith-healing trial says it was not her place to call 9-1-1

The maternal grandmother of a premature baby that died less than nine hours after birth said Tuesday that she was not concerned with the infant’s health and would not have called an ambulance when he struggled for breath because it was not her decision.

Steve Mayes writes in the Oregonian that

Karen White testified Tuesday in Clackamas County Circuit Court during the trial of Shannon and Dale Hickman, her daughter and son-in-law. The Hickmans are accused of second-degree manslaughter for failing to provide medical care to their baby.

David Hickman was born about two months early. He weighed 3 pounds, 7 ounces and died of respiratory distress. White and the Hickmans belong to the Followers of Christ, an Oregon City church that preaches faith healing and rejects the use of doctors or medical care.

Doctors testified earlier in the trial that it was almost certain the baby would have survived if the Hickmans had sought medical treatment. White said she believed no extraordinary care was needed. […]

White said she prayed but did not consider calling 9-1-1. […]

“It’s not my place to do that,” White said. “I am a woman in the church” and the Followers believe that a wife must defer to her husband, in accordance with biblical teachings, she said.

As the head of the household, “it is ultimately Dale’s decision,” she said.

In life-or-death situations, White said she would not call for emergency medical assistance. […]

White said church members are not prohibited from going to doctors and are not forced out of the church if the seek medical care

White said that others in the church have called 9-1-1 for help at difficult births. […]

Shannon Hickman was attended by three female church members who are called midwives. Although they reportedly have attended hundreds of births, it is unclear what training they received or what their protocol is for medical emergencies.

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This post was last updated: Dec. 16, 2016