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The State

A doctor testified that the baby daughter of a Christian Science couple would be “alive and in the world today” if she had received penicillin along with the prayers said for her. “I pray every day for all of my patients,” Dr. Michael Witwer, a specialist in infectious diseases, said at a preliminary hearing. “But prayer alone would not do it in this case. I also feel that the gift of penicillin is a gift from God.” Susan Middleton Rippenberger and Mark Rippenberger of Healdsburg face charges of criminal neglect and involuntary manslaughter for failing to seek medical treatment for their 9-month-old daughter, Natalie, who died last December.


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