Religious couple who let jaundiced daughter die without treatment have their second child taken away
A Christian couple who let their baby die of jaundice last year because they believe 'God makes no mistakes' has had their newborn girl taken from them by the state
A religious couple who caused the death of their baby last year due to their religious beliefs has had their newborn girl taken away from them by the state. In September last year, 31-year-old Rachel and 37-year-old Joshua Piland were charged with involuntary manslaughter after they refused medical treatment and let their daughter Abigail die from jaundice.
Earlier this month, Rachel gave birth to another baby girl who showed similar symptoms of infant jaundice. The incorrigible couple once again refused to take their child to the doctor - and the state was forced to intervene and take the girl away in a bid to save her life after terminating their parental rights.
According to the Lansing State Journal, Verity was rushed to a local hospital just hours after she was born and given lifesaving blood transfusions.
On July 17, the day Verity was born, a complaint was filed with Child Protective Services by officials who cited 'anticipatory neglect' for taking the child's custody. "There are current concerns for the safety and well-being of the newborn baby as the previous concerns which brought this family to the court's attention have yet to be rectified," a CPS investigator wrote in a petition to the court.
Verity was found to be "significantly jaundiced" with high levels of bilirubin upon arrival at the hospital.
Last year, the religious mother refused to seek treatment for her child even after a midwife warned that their newborn baby could die of jaundice if her condition was left unchecked.
According to a police detective who testified in court at the time, in response to the midwife's caution, Rachel Joy Piland told her: “God makes no mistakes".
Detective Peter Scaccia said: "Rachel declined to seek any medical treatment for Abigail stating God makes no mistakes. She indicated to the midwife that the baby was fine."
However, Piland lost her daughter two days later on 9 February. According to an autopsy by a medical examiner, the cause of death was concluded to be unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia and kernicterus.
In layman's terms, both are conditions linked to jaundice and can resolve themselves on their own. However, it requires a doctor to monitor the condition if the patient is an infant. "He [the medical examiner] said if treated, most likely she would've been alive," Scaccia said.
That said, 36-year-old Joshua Barry Piland and his 30-year-old wife were both charged with one count each of involuntary manslaughter and later released after posting a $75,000 bond on September 21.
The Pilands have for long been involved in Faith Tech Ministries directly against government officials. But government officials have always argued that parents are solely responsible for obtaining medical care and attention for their infant.
However, the Pilands, like the aforementioned religious group, strongly believe in the concept of divine healing.
At the time, law enforcement authorities were notified of the baby's death by Piland's brother who called from California to report the death of the baby at the Pilands' residence.
While the midwife raised no questions when Abigail was born on February 6, she changed her opinion the next day upon witnessing her jaundiced skin. The same midwife had helped deliver two of the couple's previous children.
She reportedly recommended Piland to take her infant girl to a pediatrician or emergency room as soon as possible, according to Detective Scaccia.
“She told Piland the baby could suffer brain damage or die if not properly cared for,” he told the court.
Piland canceled a doctor's appointment arranged by the midwife for the next day.
The detective said that despite little Abigail not consuming proper nutrition and coughing up blood, Piland placed her two-day-old child “near a window wearing just a diaper utilizing a hair dryer to keep her warm”.
In a tragic turn of events, Piland found her infant daughter "lifeless and not breathing" in a bouncy seat on the morning of February 9.
"He [the father] attempted one rescue breath but had no success. He did not want to perform CPR because he only knew how to perform it on adults, not children," the detective said.
"They then brought Abigail upstairs to pray for her. Joshua continued to massage Abigail, attempting to get her good air. Both Josh and (Rachel) reached out to friends and fellow church members to come to their home and pray for Abigail’s resurrection, but never called the police.”
Having said that, Aaron Kerr, Rachel Piland's brother, said that although Verity has been hospitalized for the last two weeks but is recovering.
"She's still being evaluated and checked. We're hopeful that there are no long-term complications, but I don't think we can say 100 percent yet whether that's the case," he said.