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Baby Dies After Religious Parents Refuse To Let Her Be Treated For Jaundice

Parents recently suffered the loss of their baby daughter, and now they'll have to face manslaughter charges. The newborn was delivered on February 6 and was jaundiced, but the parents refused to bring her for medical help. Three days later, the baby was found dead.

Joshua Barry Piland, a 36-year-old man from Lansing, and his 30-year-old wife, Rachel Joy, welcomed baby Abigail into the world on February 6. A midwife delivered the couple's third child in their home, and at the time of Abigail's birth, everything looked fine.

The unnamed midwife returned the next day to check up on the baby and noticed signs of jaundice, a condition in which the skin and whites of the eyes take on a yellowish hue. Jaundice indicates high bilirubin levels in the blood, and could be a sign of a serious infection.

Jaundice is very common in babies. More than half of all children experience some jaundice in their first week. During the pregnancy, the bilirubin is removed from the baby through the placenta, and after birth it takes a few days for the baby's body to begin getting rid of it independently. While most cases will clear up, serious cases could lead to brain damage or death.

The midwife told the parents to take the baby to the doctor. "She told Rachel the baby could suffer brain damage or die if not properly cared for," said police.

Rachel refused, however, telling the midwife, "God makes no mistakes."

The mother implied the newborn would be fine, but Abigail's condition grew steadily worse over the next two days. The baby began to cough up blood.

Once again, instead of taking the infant to a doctor, the mother put the naked baby in a window and kept her warm with a hair dryer. Sunlight can help lower bilirubin levels.

Rebecca Kerr, Rachel's mother, remarked to her daughter that the baby's skin didn't look right. Rachel told her what the midwife said, and started listening to sermons.

On February 9, blood was coming out of the baby's nose. She was having trouble eating and breathing. The grandmother wanted to call for help, but Rachel wouldn't allow it.

Later that morning, Abigail was found dead in her bouncy seat. Joshua attempted a rescue but was not familiar enough with performing CPR on children to proceed. The couple called in church members to come and pray for the baby.

"They then brought Abigail upstairs to pray for her, and Joshua continued to massage Abigail," said Detective Scaccia. "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."

Rachel's brother in California was informed about the death of the child, and he's the one who alerted police. When police arrived, they found a group of adults praying over the baby's body.

Abigail died from unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia and kernicterus, according to the autopsy report. She would have survived if she had gotten treatment.

Rachel and Joshua were both arrested and each charged with involuntary manslaughter. They posted $75,000 bail each and are awaiting trial. If convicted, each parent could be sentenced to up to 15 years.

Source: Daily Mail
Photo: LPD, Facebook

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