So I was doing so research on the legal ramifications of withholding medical care from children and found one religion Worse the JW so here they are...
DOCTORS SPEAK ON CHRISTIAN SCIENCE TESTIMONIALS
CHILD is adding a feature to our web page of essays by pediatricians. They will comment upon healings of children purportedly achieved by Christian Science spiritual treatment.
Christian Science theology holds that one healing proves that Christian Science is a scientific system for healing all diseases. The church's healing claims encourage parents to take foolish risks with their children's lives. Furthermore, the church claims that legislators give Christian Scientists religious exemptions to child neglect laws because of these healings.
Our second contributor in this series is Dr. Seth Asser, a pediatrician in Providence, Rhode Island.
WHY CHRISTIAN SCIENCE TESTIMONIALS LACK SCIENTIFIC VALUEDr. Seth Asser
The Christian Science church frequently claims a record of healing more than fifty thousand cases of disease by prayer. Cases with any degree of medical documentation are rare, and with clear medical confirmation are apparently non-existent. Such is illustrated by the case of Holly Zynda.
Holly's story was presented on an episode of the Arts & Entertainment network's Investigative Reports with Bill Kurtis (December 17) entitled "Healing and Prayer: Power or Placebo?" In 1985, 20-month-old Holly was bruising easily. Her mother, Debra, was raised in the Christian Science church and did not want to take Holly to a doctor. However, a neighbor, Kim Brown, identified as a nurse practitioner, recommended that Holly have medical care. The father, Tom Zynda, who was not then a Christian Science member, convinced his wife to take Holly to a pediatrician. The diagnosis of ITP, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, was made based upon a very low platelet count.
ITP is a disorder of young children that leads to easy bruisability and, less commonly, bleeding. This is due to a decrease in the platelets circulating in the blood. Platelets are small cell fragments that are an essential component of clotting. In ITP, an autoimmune reaction often following a typical childhood viral infection, the body's own antibodies attach to platelets and decrease their numbers. The platelets that remain are able to function, but their number is insufficient for normal clotting to occur.
The disease is generally mild. Most children do not need any treatment other than increased vigilance to reduce rough play, contact sports, and accidents. Those with severe bleeding symptoms and extremely low platelet counts may transiently benefit from treatment with steroids or intravenous immunoglobulin. Rarely, a splenectomy may be required if ITP becomes chronic.
Implication: fatal disease
Kurtis and Brown, however, give the impression that ITP is often a fatal disease. Brown tells us solemnly, "Children can die. Children can bleed to death and die."
The disease, Kurtis claims, "has some of the same characteristics as leukemia." He narrates that Holly's doctors considered her condition "critical," monitored her blood count for two months, and put her on prednisone (a steroid). "But," he continues melodramatically, "Holly didn't get better. The medication didn't seem to be helping at all."
Failure of medical care alleged
Feeling he "had nothing to lose," Tom Zynda agreed with his wife to discontinue the medical care and rely exclusively on Christian Science to heal Holly. Echoing typical Christian Science rhetoric, Kurtis says, "Debra was determined to break through her own fear and conquer Holly's disease through her faith."
What is the evidence that Holly's medical treatment was failing? Neighbor Brown says, "She kept getting worse," but no objective evidence is offered to support her impression.
Most children do not respond immediately to steroids. But most important is that the disease is self-limited in well over 95% of cases, remitting on its own within 2 to 6 months.
Nurse claims Christian Science healing
Zynda reports that within 30 days after they discontinued the medication, they noted "a real dramatic change." It's hard for me to understand how something that took 30 days can be called dramatic, but the improvement three months after diagnosis is precisely the expectation that physicians would have for children with ITP.
As evidence to confirm the "miracle," Brown offers her opinion that when patients are taken off anti-inflammatory drugs such as steroids, they get suddenly worse most of the time. But before Brown would have expected improvement, she states to the camera, Holly was running around, and the bruises went away.
Kurtis further inflates the drama of the situation by stating, "Doctors say that ITP can become a chronic, lifelong illness. But 15 years after her battle with the disease, Holly is enjoying the life of a normal, active teenager." He adds, "She's never been to another doctor."
The truth is much less miraculous. By the time Holly was taken off prednisone, it was likely that her platelet count had already begun to improve. And, unlike patients with more severe and chronic autoimmune disorders, a patient with ITP would not likely "get worse" when taken off prednisone. A platelet count would be required to know with certainty when she began to improve.
Disease self-limited in 95% of cases
More important, the overwhelming majority of children with ITP will get better, on their own, with time. Very few go on to the chronic form, when the disruption lasts more than 6 months. For those who do, most do not have serious bleeding as an ongoing problem, and they can remit at any time, most doing so within a few years. Kurtis' implication that severe lifelong problems from ITP are common is incorrect.
His claim that ITP is like leukemia is preposterous. ITP shares the low platelet count and, therefore, easy bruising with leukemia, but the similarity ends there. A simple white-cell count differentiates the two. ITP doesn't have the fevers and malaise that leukemia usually has. ITP is not cancer. ITP usually resolves itself without any medical treatment.