Oregon prosecutors review girl's death, faith-healing law

OREGON CITY, Ore. (AP) - Prosecutors are reviewing the death of a 15-month-old girl a medical examiner says could have lived if she had been treated with antibiotics, but was not because of family religious beliefs.

The Oregonian newspaper quoted Dr. Christopher Young, a deputy state medical examiner, as saying that Ava Worthington died March 2 at home from bacterial bronchial pneumonia and infection.

the newspaper said that if prosecuted, Ava Worthington's parents would be the first members of Oregon City's Followers of Christ, a fundamentalist Christian denomination, to face charges for failing to seek medical treatment for a gravely ill child as required by a 1999 law.

When The Associated Press called the number listed for the church today the person who answered hung up.

The church came to Oregon early in the 20th century. When members become ill, fellow worshippers pray and anoint them with oil. Former members say those who seek modern medical remedies are ostracized.