Charges unlikely in faith-healing death

June 20, 2008 at 12:59 AM
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OREGON CITY, Ore., June 20 (UPI) -- Investigators in Oregon say there are unlikely to be criminal charges in the death of a teenager who died after choosing faith healing over medical treatment.

Neil Jeffrey Beagley of Oregon City was 16 and thus, under Oregon law, old enough to make his own medical decisions, The Portland Oregonian reported. He died Tuesday at his grandmother's house.

Beagley's niece died four months ago while undergoing a faith-healing ritual with members of the Followers of Christ Church. Because she was a baby, her parents have been charged with manslaughter.

Dr. Cliff Nelson, a deputy state medical examiner, said Wednesday that Beagley's condition could have been treated. He had a constriction where his bladder connected to the urethra and had been unable to urinate for about a week.

While the constriction could have been easily relieved with a catheter, Nelson said that the boy had suffered similar problems for years and had permanent kidney damage as well that might have required dialysis or a kidney transplant.

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