A Michigan couple is charged with involuntary manslaughter after refusing to seek medical care for their newborn daughter.
Rachel Joy Piland, and her husband, Joshua Barry Piland, have been charged with involuntary manslaughter after refusing to seek medical treatment for their newborn daughter “even after a midwife warned that the infant’s jaundice could lead to brain damage or death.”
Despite the warning, the Piland’s did not seek treatment for their daughter, Abigail, with tragic consequences.
Born on Monday, Feb. 6, at the Pilands’ home, Abigail died Feb. 9.
Abigail’s birth appeared to be routine; however, Michigan police report that on a follow-up visit on Feb 7, the Piland’s midwife said that the newborn was seriously ill with jaundice, and required immediate medical attention.
Lansing Police Detective Peter Scaccia said in a hearing that led to the charges that after hearing about Abigail’s serious condition the Piland’s refused to seek medical attention:
Rachel declined to seek any medical treatment for Abigail, stating God makes no mistakes…
The midwife scheduled a follow-up appointment for the next day but the Piland’s cancelled the appointment.
The Lansing State Journal reports:
On Feb. 8, Abigail wasn’t eating properly and coughed up blood.
Rachel Piland then put the two-day-old child “near a window wearing just a diaper utilizing a hair dryer to keep her warm,” the detective said.
At one point Piland’s mother, Rebecca Kerr, told her daughter that Abigail’s skin was “not the right color.”
“Rachel told Rebecca about (the midwife’s) concern,” the detective said. “And then Rachel went to listen to sermons.”
On the morning of Feb. 9, the mother and daughter noticed blood coming out of Abigail’s nose, and that the baby wasn’t eating or breathing well.
Rebecca Kerr wanted to call for help but “Rachel would not allow her,” Scaccia said. Around 11 a.m., Rachel Piland found her daughter “lifeless and not breathing” in a bouncy seat.
She took the baby to Joshua Piland — her husband and Abigail’s father — who had been asleep.
After determining their daughter was dead, the couple did not seek out police or medical attention. Instead, they called church members to come over and “pray for Abigail’s resurrection.”
Detective Scaccia reports:
They then brought Abigail upstairs to pray for her… Both Josh and (Rachel) reached out to friends and fellow church members to come to their home and pray for Abigail’s resurrection, but never called the police.
Writing at Friendly Atheist, Hemant Mehta opines:
Abigail never saw a doctor when blood was coming out of her mouth, she wasn’t eating, or her skin became further discolored. All because her parents put more trust in God than someone who could actually help.
… They let their child die because religious pride was more important to them than common sense.
The only way these avoidable tragedies will stop is if the parents are handed the maximum sentence. Religious conviction should never be a “Get Out of Jail Free” card.
If convicted on the charges of involuntary manslaughter, Rachel Joy Piland, and her husband, Joshua Barry Piland, could each face up to 15 years in prison.
Bottom line: Poor little Abigail never had a chance.