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Boy With Meningitis Dies, Parents May Be Charged With Neglect

December 1, 1995

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ A fundamentalist Christian couple who put their faith in God for the routine illnesses of their 10 children were being investigated for possible neglect in the meningitis death of one of their sons.

William and Sarah Planck’s 6-year-old son Lance was taken off life support Thursday, a day after he was declared brain dead.

The boy became sick in the middle of last week and by the weekend had stopped eating, drinking and talking. The first time he had ever been treated by a doctor came when his father called an ambulance Sunday.

``I do not feel like I’ve been neglectful in any way,″ Mrs. Planck told WRTV in Indianapolis on Thursday. ``We’ve thought back on all the things we’ve done and don’t see anything wrong with what we did.″

Cynthia Sauer, a deputy Madison County prosecutor, told The Indianapolis Star that Lance arrived at the hospital ``near-death″ and that hospital staffers ``felt it was a neglect situation.″

The Madison County prosecutor planned to decide today whether to prosecute the Plancks.

The couple’s lawyer, Montague Oliver Jr., said Lance’s death was ``an unforeseen illness got out of hand.″

Oliver emphasized that the couple does not shun all medical treatment and believes doctors are necessary, ``but not every day and not for just anything.″

None of the couple’s children had ever received routine medical checkups, he said, because they had not been seriously ill before and the parents believed God would keep them healthy.

Oliver noted, however, that the couple has already made arrangements to have their other children _ ages 3 to 16 _ tested for meningitis, which causes inflammation around the brain.

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