Healthcare News & Insights

Parents face prison after prayer-cure ends in toddler’s death


Two parents were just convicted of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment in the death of their two-year-old son. Herbert and Catherine Schiable of Philadelphia, face about a decade in prison for failing to get medical care for their son, Kent.

In January 2009, the child came down with several symptoms including coughing, congestion, crankiness and a loss of appetite, although his parents say he was eating and drinking up until Jan. 24, the day he died of bacterial pneumonia. The Schiables claim they had no idea the child was seriously ill, and didn’t seek medical help for what they thought was a simple cold or flu.

The Schiables are members of the First Century Gospel Church which is led by a pastor who teaches that medical care is dangerous and “is itself the leading cause of death and injury in the U.S.” However, the pastor claims that church members are not forbidden from seeking medical care. Henry and Catherine Schiable were both teachers at the church’s affiliated school.

The Schiable’s pastor, Nelson A. Clark, also said that he had never received medical care and the Schiables — lifelong members of the church — hadn’t received medical care aside from a midwife’s assistance at the birth of their child.

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  1. […] The couple claimed that they had no idea the child was sick with anything more serious than a bad cold, and would’ve sought medical help if they had realized the extent of his illness. Read more details on the case here. […]