Oregon Teenager Dies From Refusing Medical Treatment Because of Church

Posted Jun 20, 2008 by Samantha A. Torrence
An Oregon teenager who belonged to a local faith church died from a treatable urinary tract blockage that eventually poisoned his organs. Oregon state law indicates that any teenager 14 and older can refuse treatment.
Little Ava Worthington died in March of a treatable illness because her parents refused treatment based on the teachings of their church. Now Ava's 16-year-old cousin, who attended the same church with is parents, died of a treatable illness after refusing treatment.
16-year-old Neil Beagley had a urinary tract blockage that was left untreated. The urea that could not escape through normal methods built up in his system poisoning his organs. In the end he died of congenital heart failure resulting from the untreated blockage. The medical procedure that would have saved this boys life would have been as simple as an insertion of a catheter. If the condition was dealt with early on the blockage could have been removed.
Oregon law provides teenagers 14-years-old and over with the choice to refuse medical treatment. The parents assert that Neil did indeed refuse treatment, and unless that statement is falsified no charges can be filed for neglect or abuse. However, there is evidence from Neil's autopsy that suggests the urinary tract blockages were a congenital condition that occurred multiple times in the boys' life.
The church the Beagley's and the Worthington's belong to is called the Followers of Christ that is said to have no mainstream association with any other churches. In 1999 it had 1,200 members. Ava and Neil are not the first children to die from that church, the problems have caused legislation to be past that does not allow parents to use religious freedom as a shield in cases of neglect.