A 15-year-old boy is dead after his parents chose to treat his diabetes with prayer, deciding that Jesus was clearly a better option than the insulin prescribed by doctors. At the time of his death, the teen weighed only 37 pounds and “looked like a skeleton.”
Emil and Rodica Radita are on trial for first-degree murder after their son, Alex, died a horrific death in 2013 from what prosecutors say was severe neglect and their decision to seek God over actual medical care.
Alex, who weighed no more than a four-year-old, was found dead in his bed and rather than seek medical attention for their suffering child, his parents prayed. Shauna Mitchell, an investigator with the Medical Examiner’s office, said the parents gave conflicting answers when she asked them when they had last seen their child alive. The mother said she had seen him breathing at 6 p.m., but the father said that he was not breathing at this point.
They said they went to church at, I think it was after 1800 hours, and they came home at about 2000 hours and that’s when the father said that he wasn’t breathing, so they prayed and they didn’t call EMS until sometime around 2200 hours,” Mitchell said.
But even when they realized that Alex was seriously ill and dying, they still chose prayer over medicine. Rather than call 911 they called church members to come and pray with them. When his condition worsened, they went to church, then came home with even more church members to pray for the boy. Go figure, this didn’t do a damn thing to keep Alex alive and he died despite all their prayers.
Alex may have died two hours or more before the church members finally called in “elders” who took one look at the boy and demanded the mother call 911. The parents insist that Alex had died the night before, but had been resurrected by God in the morning, which is why it was perfectly reasonable to sit around and pray for him to be resurrected again instead of calling a doctor.
Alex was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes at age 3, but his mother refused to accept his medical condition. Instead, she believed the insulin he was given to treat his diabetes was actually the cause of his illness. Shortly after his diagnosis his parents lost custody of Alex because their continued refusal to treat his diabetes had led to three hospitalizations over a period of just a few months.
After about a year, Alex was returned to the custody of his parents under the stipulation that they give him the insulin his body depended on and keep track of his blood sugar levels. You know, treat his diabetes according to the standard medical protocol so he wouldn’t end up dead. That’s all. His parents complied for a while, but when they moved from British Columbia to Alberta, social services lost track of them and Alex had not seen a doctor since.
The year he spent in foster care was the only time he attended school instead of being homeschooled. Sandy Wong, Alex’s kindergarten teacher from that year said when she heard of his death she was “deeply troubled and filled with much sadness and anger.”
When a judge made the decision to return Alex to his parents, we were concerned for his well-being,” said Wong.
“We feared that his medical needs would not be met, that the insulin he required would again be withheld. Once back with his parents, Alex did not return to our school.”
Wong said that she “will never forget Alex’s sweet face” and hopes that his death can help change the system that failed him.
I hope that Alex’s tragic death will bring about necessary changes regarding follow-up and monitoring in serious cases of neglect, when once apprehended children are returned to their parents,” Wong wrote in a letter to B.C.’s Ministry of Children and Family Development.
“His life story of suffering and premature death demands that greater, more open sharing of information between provinces be implemented. The most vulnerable must be protected.”
According to autopsy reports, Alex died from bacterial sepsis due to complications from starvation and neglect.
The prosecution’s final witness testified on Friday, and the murder trial is expected to last several more weeks. Here’s to hoping these parents spend the rest of their lives in jail for choosing to let their son die because they were convinced that Jesus was a better treatment for diabetes than insulin.
Featured image via The Daily Star