Doctor: Vaccine and medicine may have saved boy

A jury started hearing testimony yesterday in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Herbert and Catherine Schaible, charged in the death of their baby boy in 2009 inside their Rhawnhurst home.

Defense attorneys and the boy’s grandmother Mary Wakefield maintained the Schaibles didn’t know Kent was on the brink of death, despite prosecution claims to the contrary.

“We are not here to discuss religion. We are here to discuss why this child passed away. Did they know he was seriously ill?” said Bobby Hoof, who represents Herbert Schaible. “Seven to 10 days is not an unreasonable time for watchful waiting in the care of a child.”

Dr. Edwin Lieberman, who conducted the autopsy which found the manner of death was “homicide,” testified fatal bacterial pneumonia “would have been preventable if he received a [haemophilus influenza Type B] vaccine, and treatable if he received antibiotics.”

“A two-year-old doesn’t have the wherewithal to say, ‘Mommy, Daddy, I’m sick. I need to go to the doctor.’ … One visit to a doctor and a little boy might still be here today,” assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore said.

When Pescatore asked Richard Fleuhr Jr. — the funeral director called to the Schaibles home — why he didn’t ask whether the child received a doctor’s care, he said it was “knowing they belonged” to First Century Gospel Church in Juniata, also tied to a 1993 case of parents not taking a child to the ER after being hit by a car.

Pastor tells of finding parents and boy

Pastor Ralph Myers of First Century Gospel Church said he’s known the Schaibles “since they were born.” A call went out to him when “they felt the child had passed away.”

“He didn’t appear to be breathing. I put my hand on his shoulder and prayed for God to give him the breath of life. He is the giver of life. He is the giver of the breath of life,” Myers testified. After a half hour, “we decided we had to face reality.”

Calling for medical care “would be the parents’ decision,” said Myers. Defense attorney objections kept him from answering with his church teachings and personal feelings about going to the doctor.

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