Mother remains in prison for failure to seek medical attention for premature child

Oregon City faith-healing mom to remain in prison while her manslaughter conviction is on appeal |

A member of an Oregon City-based faith-healing church will remain in prison while her manslaughter conviction is on appeal.

A Clackamas County judge turned down a petition Monday for early release while the conviction of Shannon Mae Hickman, a member of the Followers of Christ church, is reviewed by the Oregon Court of Appeals.

Hickman and her husband, Dale Ryan Hickman, both began serving six-year, three-month prison sentences last year after they were convicted of second-degree manslaughter for failing to seek medical care for their son David, who was born two months premature and lived less than nine hours. An autopsy found he had staph pneumonia and underdeveloped lungs.

A very sad story.

The couple has two children and to have both parents in jail at the same time,their attorney argued, would be a hardship. But, are they a risk to their other children? The doctors who testified in the trial said it was likely the child would have lived had he been taken to hospital. He could not breath and the hospital could have provided neo-natal intensive care facilities.

What to do? Where is the line? Decades ago, this child might not have survived even AT the hospital. Are the parents obligated to seek help for a child that is in trouble from day one? There is no right answer but there is better answer. To ignore medical intervention because of an outmoded faith is not compatible with modern society.