Sugar and Spice

Madeline Kara had diabetes. Childhood diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases of children with type 1 diabetes affecting around 1.7 per 1000 Americans and a varying amount for type 2 (because ethnicity and socio-economic status plays a role).

I said “had”, because Madeline Kara passed away from a diabetic HONK coma. (Hyperglycaemic Hyperosmolar Nonketoic Coma – Uncontrolled diabetes is deadly.)

Because her parents would rather pray to god than let humans use their skill, ingenuity and knowledge to save their daughter’s life.

To realise how dangerous religion can be, we must first understand what a Delusion is. You are delusional can mean “You have no grasp of what’s going on”. But in medicine? A delusion is a psychiatric disorder where the patient holds a firm belief in something that can be empirically proven to be false. However any proof provided will be rejected out of hand and any attempts to convince the patient that their delusion is incorrect will merely become part of the delusion.

Leilani and Dave Neumann were so deluded by their faith that even after their daughter died they insisted that she would come back to life…

If we ignore the faith aspect of things, Leilani and Dave would be sectioned. They are clearly delusional. No psychiatrist in the world would consider them to be responsible for their actions because they are genuinely not thinking using the same logic that we come to accept as normal. They don’t believe in something we understand as real. However what complicates this is faith. Religion is the world’s most acceptable delusion. The joke amongst psychiatrist is that “God” is the only acceptable voice in your head.

Many people don’t know this but you are legally obligated to pull in an ambulance if someone is in trouble. This case is remarkable in Wisconsin because it sets a precedence for parents being liable for their actions with regards to faith. In the USA a whole bunch of states (I tried researching and I got up to 12) have clauses for the protection of parents who use prayer rather than medicine.

When tried both were sentenced to 25 years in prison, except the judge reduced the sentence to a month in prison every year for six months and then 10 years of probation. But here is the thing.

Why? If the reason they did this was “Aliens” they would be sectioned under various mental health acts (Insanity isn’t “getting off lightly”. Insanity Pleas are often WORSE than prison since they can keep you forever because your condition may require permanent care and it’s actually pretty hard to get it). But their sentence was reduced because they believed in a god. Wisconsin is one of those states with a law protecting faith healing. At best it can be tried as child abuse, not homicide.

It doesn’t matter what the outcome of the case is. The parents are not “guilty” of anything. It’s clearly a mental health issue and they are ill. They cannot be held responsible because they are clearly medically delusional about their actions. Punishing them will not make them understand. It won’t bring back Madeline and it won’t convince the faith healers to stop and take responsibility.

What matters is there is religion out there that CREATES these people. That feeds and creates this delusion.


  1. says

    I don’t think it’s fair to lump the truly mentally ill in with these parents. Delusional? Possibly, but considering how many people buy into the false promises of prayers and other woo, I think the better word to describe them is gullible.

  2. says

    Ah the thing is when people are gullible and burned they quickly change. A delusion specifically causes them to warp the new information into a form where it supports the status quo.

  3. Nomen Nescio says

    addendum: it seems this isn’t a new case of the same problem; our bloghost appears to be describing the same 2008 case that set me ranting those four-and-three-quarters years ago. my mistake, although i’m pretty sure i’ve seen more (equally deplorable) instances of the same general problem crop up in the time since.

  4. Rich Woods says

    @Carolina Hurricane’s blog:

    Through all of it the industry has proven to be robust, resili..blah…blah…blah…

    Your point being? Are you a PR droid with a quota of ‘new media’ boxes to tick?

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