It's the middle of the night. Your baby suddenly spikes a high fever. For a while, he cries hysterically, and then suddenly he's eerily calm, whimpering every once in a while. His temperature is still climbing. What do you do?
For most parents, the only response would be to call the pediatrician and rush the baby to a hospital. But for parents whose religious beliefs eschew medical care in favor of prayer, there is another, equally indubitable choice: Do nothing but pray.
It's a practice that ignites fierce controversy every time another child dies from a lack of medical care. And in Colorado, three deaths in the past 24 months have propelled the issue back into the spotlight.
At the center of controversy are Congregants of Church of Christ, Scientist, along with members of other, smaller sects, including the Followers of Christ Church and the General Assembly and Church of the First Born. All are staunchly opposed to medical intervention in the case of illness, preferring instead to depend upon prayer to do the healing. Their devotion to what they call "God's will" has, according to their critics, led to the deaths of more than 172 children between 1975 and 1995
— all because their parents refused to seek medical treatment for their children's illnesses. According to autopsy reports, many if not most of the children could have been saved easily with simple antibiotics.