Teenager died in agony because his faith healer parents refused to take him to hospital
Posted Sep 19th 2012 at 06:48AM
Two faith healers who shunned modern medicine let their 16-year-old son die in agony rather than take him to hospital.
Russell and Brandi Bellew chose to 'pray away' their son's burst appendix instead of getting him emergency help.
Their son, Austin Sprout, suffered with excruciating appendicitis for a week before he passed away, reported the Eugene Register-Guard.
However, Austin's mum and dad escaped jail after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors.
Instead, they were put on probation for five years after pleading guilty to criminally negligent homicide.
They had been charged with second-degree manslaughter after authorities learned thatAustin's death could have been prevented if his parents had simply taken him to the hospital.
The couple, who are in their late thirties and who had seven children before Austin's death, are members of the General Assembly and the Church of the First Born in Cresswell, Oregon, which shuns modern medicine and teaches parishioners that faith healing and prayer will cure disease.
Appendicitis, the inflammation of the appendix, often results in excruciating abdominal pain. Without emergency - but routine - surgery to remove the appendix, it can burst and cause dangerous internal infections.
Austin's father, Anthony, died in 2007 of sepsis, after he refused to seek treatment for an infected injury to his leg.
His mother, Brandi, later married Russel Bellew, who was also widowed.
At the time of Austin's death, his uncle Shawn Sprout, defended the congregation's practice of faith healing. "We trust in God for everything. We trusted him to take care of our illnesses and heal us," he said.
Social workers removed the other six children from the Bellews home.