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WITHOUT SURGERY, GIRL MAY DIE

SHARE WITHOUT SURGERY, GIRL MAY DIE

A 12-year-old girl snatched from a hospital - possibly by her homeless, fundamentalist Christian mother - may die unless she has open heart surgery soon, officials warned Friday.

The youngster, identified as Kimberly Winfield, suffers from a serious heart ailment brough on by rheumatic fever, said Gordon Johnson, director of the Department of Children and Family Services."The probability is if not found in a few days, the doctors tell us whe will not live," Johnson said. "Whe hope and pray (she is returned)."

Johnson indicated Kimberly needs treatment within a week but a spokeswoman at Children's Memorial Hospital said the youngster should be treated within the next month.

DCFS spokesman David Schneidman said officials suspect the child was taken by her mother, identified as Caroline Winfield, 35, because she is a Jehovah's Witness and "her religious beliefs prohibit any exchange of blood - therefore any surgery on Kimberly."

"We suspect her because she had voiced concern to her relatives that she intended to withdraw the child from the hospital," Schneidman said. He said the child's grandmother "became very concerned overt the way the woman was acting and called police."