Michigan couple faces trial in their baby's death

INGHAM COUNTY, Mich, (WLUC) - A Michigan couple will go to trial for allegedly refusing to seek treatment for their baby's jaundice symptoms despite a midwife's warnings.

Rachel Piland, 30, and Joshua Piland, 36, are charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of their infant, Abigail, in February, the Lansing State Journal reported.

The couple had a duty to seek medical attention after a midwife informed them that their child's symptoms could lead to brain damage or death, said Nicole Matusko, assistant prosecutor in Ingham County.

The doctor who conducted Abigail's autopsy noted that she died from conditions that are "extremely rare due to treatment options in this country," Matusko said.

Defense attorneys said the Pilands initially allowed the midwife to contact a doctor, though they later cancelled a follow-up appointment with the midwife. The defense also said the Pilands tried to treat the jaundice with sunlight by placing Abigail near a window.

"Sunlight can be a treatment for this particular type of issue," said Jacob Sartz, Rachel Piland's attorney.

One of the couple's other children had jaundice and was successfully treated by using sunlight, said Scott Koerner, Joshua Piland's attorney.

Police said the Pilands didn't seek medical attention for the baby even after her skin turned yellow, blood was coming out of her nose and she wasn't eating or sleeping well.

Court record show that the couple didn't seek out treatment because they "believe in the word of God over the symptoms."

Their arraignment is scheduled for Nov. 15.

The Pilands also are in a custody battle with state officials for their other two children, who are ages 2 and 3.



 
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