Real Life

Disabled woman wants to prosecute her parents for choosing religion over medicine

Mariah Walton has been left permanently disabled by something that could have been easily fixed when she was a baby as her parents chose prayer over medicine

Mariah Walton, 21, was born with a heart defect.

She was born with a tiny hole in her heart that could have been easily fixed there and then in the hospital.

But instead, her Mormon parents rejected the surgery, choosing to pray to God for her good health instead of letting doctors treat her.

Mariah suffers every day with pain that could have been prevented (Credit: TODAY)

Mariah's condition is now life-threatening, and she is waiting for a heart and lung transplant.

Had her parents allowed her to be treated when she was a baby, this may not have been the case for her now.

Mariah is now campaigning for the law to be changed in her home state of Idaho to prosecute parents who choose "faith healing" rather than medicine.

Speaking to KTVB, she described the pain she experiences everyday: "My lungs burn because I can't get the oxygen I need. They used to pray over me. They'd say, 'God's going to heal you, just have faith' and all kinds of stuff.

Her sister Emily set up a Go Fund Me page to take her to Paris on holiday (Credit: Go Fund Me)

Mariah, who now has to carry round an oxygen tank that she is always hooked up to, has nine siblings who were all raised in the Mormon church.

Her mum would use natural remedies as well as prayer to try and heal her, but Mariah is not happy with her parents' decision: "I think it's time to prosecute them."

Her sister Emily set up a Go Fund Me page to raise funds for her to visit Paris whilst "they still can".

Emily wrote: "Mariah was born with a hole in her heart, it was never treated because our parents wouldn't let her go to the doctor. So for many years she lived on only about 60% of the oxygen that she needed, while severe pulmonary hypertension ruined her lungs.

"She found out what was wrong after she turned 18 and several of us sisters started taking care of her. Right now she's on medicine to help her get enough oxygen, but someday the medicines will stop working."

Emily feels guilty for letting it happen (Credit: ABC News)

Emily continued: "When Mariah was on life support during the summer of 2014, I promised myself that if she lived, I would do ANYTHING for another chance to make things good for her. And when she was recovering my attitude was like "Ok! What do we need to do to fix this and make it better!" But her doctors explained (patiently, many times) that there just wasn't a way to 'fix' it. Every solution had a worse downside.

"So they told us to just go home and have a good time with Mariah while we still could."

Thankfully, the family raised enough money to take Mariah on holiday to Paris.

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