Originally Posted by Gwendolyn
Wow. That's unbelievably sad, and I hope other parents do not do this.
Unfortunately, they do, and it's not limited to children of pseudo-Christian wackos, either. At the daycare where I'm volunteering in Bolivia, a mother brought her very ill son to us three weeks ago. He was so sick, passing out most of the time, clearly dehydrated and with a myriad of other problems, that the nurse told the mother she must get him to the hospital ASAP. She gave her a recommendation for a specific hospital and a specific doctor. (Mind you, health care for children under 5 in Bolivia is completely subsidized by the federal government, so this woman knew she would not have to fork over a single peso.)
A few days later, we hadn't heard anything from the mother. The nurse called the hospital she'd recommended to ask if the mother had been there. (Health records privacy laws are virtually nil here.) The staff told her yes, the mother had been there, and an examination indicated her son was gravely ill and needed to be admitted to a hospital right away. They recommended she take him to a different hospital because the specialists there were better at caring for her son's condition than they were. So the nurse called this second hospital. They had never even heard of the boy or his mother.
The nurse and the daycare director told me they suspect the mother took her son to a witch doctor after getting her son's diagnosis at the first hospital. The vast majority of the people who move to this city from the remote sections of Bolivia, like this woman, believe in tribal religions that center around animism and witch doctors. If this woman took her son to a witch doctor and did not get any standard medical care for him, then he is most certainly dead by now barring the miracle she was hoping for.
The children services system here is so slow even in provable cases where the parents themselves are beating their children within an inch of their lives. Taking one's child to a witch doctor instead of a hospital wouldn't even raise an eyebrow at children services, even if the child died.