This is the story of Dale and Shannon Hickman, 30-year old parents, who lost their baby and were convicted of a second-degree manslaughter for their son’s death in 2011. David was born at home in 2009 and died just 9 hours after he was born. The couple filed an appeal but the judge rejected it, saying they didn’t do enough to save their baby boy.
The couple’s son, David, was born two months before his due date and he had underdeveloped lungs and a staph infection, transferred to him before birth, from his mother. After being born he started showing signs of respiratory problems and was turning blue due to the lack of oxygen.
You may wonder why the family didn’t seek medical help right away. Because the Hickmans are a members of a faith healing church in Oregon which has been smack in the center of a number of scandals, all related to child-deaths and all due to their outrageous faith-healing practices.
The Hickmans appealed last week on the basis of their conviction, and stated that the prosecution had to prove they knew that their religious beliefs would result in the death of their newborn baby, according to the New York Daily News, which they failed to do.
A medical expert testified at their trial in 2011, saying that the baby would have had a “99 percent chance” if the Hickmans had called a doctor or the emergency service. The official cause of death for the baby is staphylococcus pneumonia which could have been treated and the tragic outcome would have been prevented.
In his statement, Mr. Hickman said that the reason he didn’t call 911 is that he was praying for his son and his salvation. Instead of taking their son to the hospital, which never even crossed their mind, they rubbed the sick baby in oils. The mother, Shannon, said that she couldn’t call 911 and had to listen to her husband because that’s what the church advocates.
The sentence for second degree manslaughter is usually a mandatory minimum of 6 years in prison but due to a religious exemption which was still in force back in 2011 they could get just 18 months in prison and a 250,000 fine.
The church and its community has been shrouded in controversy and earlier this year another couple had been convicted in a court of law after failing to seek medical help for their infant daughter. She had a growth which could have made her blind in one eye if they had their way and didn’t seek medical attention. They were sentenced to 3 months in prison.