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Religious Couple Who Let Baby Die Without Treatment Can't Have Other Kids Back Yet

A religious couple who opted to pray for their home-birthed newborn rather than get her medical attention made headlines after the baby died. The couple were charged with manslaughter and are currently out awaiting trial. They almost had their other two children returned to them while they were out on bail, but were denied custody when they refused to stop using physical discipline.

Rachel Joy Piland, a 30-year-old Michigan mother of two, gave birth to her third child at her home with the assistance of a midwife. The midwife said the birth went well and returned the next day to check on the baby. She warned Rachel that the baby had jaundice. The midwife recommended that Rachel and her husband, 36-year-old Joshua, bring baby Abigail to a doctor for a check-up.

Jaundice is a very common condition in babies, with more than half of all babies having it to some extent during their first week of life. It occurs when there is a buildup of bilirubin in the blood. In the womb, the placenta filters the bilirubin out for the baby, but once born the baby’s body had to learn to do the job on its own. Usually, parents are told to leave babies unclothed in indirect sunlight, as vitamin D, which your body produces from the sun, helps the body heal itself.

In most cases, jaundice doesn’t cause harm, but in rare cases it can cause brain damage, or is a potentially life-threatening condition. The extent to which Abigail was stricken with the condition was underestimated by the parents, and unfortunately, because she was never brought to a doctor, she didn’t get the necessary medical treatment to recover from it.

The parents refused to bring the baby to be seen by a medical professional, claiming that 'God makes no mistakes'. They attempted to treat the child on their own. Three days later, little Abigail was bleeding from the nose and having trouble breathing. Later that morning, she was found dead in her baby bouncer seat, and the family called in church members to gather around the baby and pray for a resurrection.

Rachel's brother, who lives in California, was told by her mother about the baby, and it was the brother who called the Michigan police. When police arrived, they found the adults praying over the baby's body. Rachel and Joshua were arrested.

The couple's older children, boys aged two and three, were taken into the custody of child protective services, then were temporarily placed with Rachel's parents.

Both Rachel and Joshua are out on bail, and had an opportunity to get their two children back while awaiting trial. A safety plan for the children would require the parents to comply with a number of court-ordered rules, including the banning of 'physical discipline' of the children.

Joshua and Rachel refused to agree to suspend corporal punishment. In the interest of the children, the court opted to not return them to the parents. A new custody hearing has been scheduled.

Source: Daily Mail
Photo: LPD, Facebook

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