Christian Scientist dies after refusing medical care

Anderson Independent-Mail/December 14, 2005
By David Williams

Sendeca — A woman who declined emergency medical care because of her faith died Wednesday from injuries related to an automobile accident on Dec. 8, authorities said.

Jane Elizabeth Roberts, 74, of 407 S. Walnut St., Seneca, received a concussion in the Dec. 8 automobile accident. She was driving on North Pine Street near Northside Elementary School, toward U.S. 123, when her car ran off the right side of the road and down an embankment, striking several small trees.

Ms. Roberts, a Christian Scientist, had no visible injuries and refused to be transported to the Oconee Memorial Hospital emergency room, according to Oconee County Coroner Karl Addis. He said the only help she requested was help from her vehicle to the road and then a ride home from police, which was provided.

Officers asked her again at the accident scene if she wanted medical assistance, but she declined, citing her Christian Science faith. According to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, Christian Science is controversial because of its encouragement of prayer for healing rather than use of modern medical treatments. It was founded by Mary Baker Eddy in 1879 after she was healed, which she believed was because of her Christian faith.

A member who answered the phone at the Christian Science reading room in Seneca Wednesday night said Ms. Roberts had relied on prayer for healing for her entire life, and wanted to continue to do so.

Ms. Roberts had been at her home since the accident and someone was with her around the clock. She had become increasingly unresponsive over the last several days before her death, Mr. Addis said. He added that family members were present when she died. He was called to the house by Emergency Medical Service workers.

Ms. Roberts had no pertinent past medical history and no attending physician, Mr. Addis said.

An autopsy showed that a concussion led to swelling of the brain, which led to respiratory failure, Addis said.

Ms. Roberts reportedly told police and Emergency Medical Services technicians, who were called to the scene, that she was wearing her seatbelt during the wreck.

Ms. Roberts was a retired secretary-bookkeeper for Hughes Equipment Sales and Rental, and a member of First Church of Christ, Scientist on South Townville Street in Seneca.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Seneca Mortuary Funerals and Cremation Chapel on U.S. 123.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.