Ava Worthington was the victim of "long-standing medical neglect," Dr. Dan Leonhardt testified this morning.
Leonhardt, a pediatrician and child abuse expert at Legacy Emanuel Hospital & Health Center, said Ava started life as a large and sturdy baby but when she died 15 months later her weight and height was so far off the growth chart that "there isn't even a line for it."
Her "failure to thrive" was caused by a cyst on her neck that impeded her ability to breathe and swallow, said Leonhardt. His testimony mirrored that of other pediatricians who testified for the prosecution in the trial of Ava's parents, Raylene and Carl Brent Worthington.
The Worthingtons, an Oregon City couple who believe in faith healing rather than secular medicine, are charged in Clackamas County Circuit Court with second-degree manslaughter and criminal mistreatment for failing to seek medical care for their daughter.
Leonhardt said Ava should have been hospitalized in December 2007 when she got a cold that caused a cyst on her neck to balloon. The growth put pressure on her airway and esophagus. Poor nutrition and difficulty breathing left Ava weakened and lowered her immunity, Leonhardt said.
The child died on March 2, 2008 after being sick for several days. "She struggled so long she couldn't struggle any more," Leonhardt said. Ava could have been saved, right up to her last hour, with medical treatment, he said.