From: Columbia Basin Herald
The Moses Lake couple, accused of refusing to take their child to a hospital as the boy was starving, pleaded not guilty Tuesday.
Robert A. Staats, 36, and Michelle K. Staats, 32, both of Moses Lake, entered the pleas in Grant County Superior Court Tuesday. The couple are each charged with first-degree criminal mistreatment, second-degree criminal mistreatment and marijuana possession, according to court records.
The couple is accused of refusing to take their nearly 3-year-old son to a hospital for months, when the child kept spitting up most food, according to a Grant County sheriff’s report. The issues with the child started in February 2011, more than a year before the child was brought to Samaritan Healthcare.
Michelle Staats reportedly acted as the child’s primary medical provider, telling police she didn’t trust hospitals and used herbal and homeopathic treatments for her children, according to the police report. She reported the boy spat up food and only drank breast milk.
Michelle Staats contacted the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program to help develop a plan to get the child eating solid food, according to the police report. When the child failed to improve by July 2011, they advised her to contact a doctor. She reportedly treated the boy with herbal or homeopathic remedies and it seemed to work, and by August 2011, the child was eating vegetable broth, according to the police report. The boy’s condition worsened by September 2011, when a WIC representative contacted her again, and allegedly learned she hadn’t taken the child to a doctor.
Michelle Staats allegedly took the child to see a naturopath doctor in November 2011, according to the police report. The doctor reportedly found an infection and prescribed antibiotics. When the child refused to take the antibiotics and continued to have problems eating, the doctor reportedly advised the Staats to take the child to another medical professional or a hospital, according to the police report. The doctor reportedly described the boy’s condition as critical.
This is another stark reminder of why alternative medicine is no alternative and how belief in non-evidence based treatments can turn caring parents into child abusers.