Trial under way for faith-healing parents

Sept. 14, 2011 at 8:34 PM
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PORTLAND, Ore., Sept. 14 (UPI) -- Prosecutors said Wednesday an Oregon couple should have sought medical help for their son who was born premature and died just hours old at home.

Dale and Shannon Hickman are being tried for second-degree manslaughter in the September 2009 death of their son David, who died after they relied on faith healing over medical care. The couple belong to the Followers of Christ Church, a church with a history of child deaths involving faith healing.

The couple's trial began Wednesday with defense attorney Mark Cogan telling the jury in his opening statement it was only shortly after the Hickmans realized their son was ailing that he died, The (Portland) Oregonian reported.

David died less than 9 hours after birth of staph pneumonia, pulmonary immaturity and chorioamnionitis, a bacterial infection.

But Deputy District Attorney Mike Regan said in his opening remarks that the Hickmans should have sought immediate care after the boy was born because of his small size, the newspaper said.

"David was born two months early, and he was tiny," Regan said. "Tell me, among you, who does not call 9-1-1, simply [because] of his size."

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