Judge Rules Family Can't Refuse Chemo for Child With Cancer

Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by southcitymom, May 15, 2009.

  1. southcitymom

    southcitymom New Member

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    http://www.ajc.com/health/content/s...orced_Chemo.html?cxntlid=homepage_tab_newstab

    I hate this decision and believe this choice should rest with the boy's family.

    From the article:

    Daniel's court-appointed attorney, Philip Elbert, called the decision unfortunate.

    "I feel it's a blow to families," he said. "It marginalizes the decisions that parents face every day in regard to their children's medical care. It really affirms the role that big government is better at making our decisions for us."
     
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  3. Trino

    Trino Active Member

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    EXCEPT I live in MN and know about the case. The boy has a 95% chance of recovery with chemo. He has NO chance without it. The boy also does not believe he is sick because he does not feel ill. The family feels the same way because the boy feels okay.

    Honestly, if this were your child, would you still say this, assuming doctors told you about his chances?
     
  4. kgeaux

    kgeaux New Member

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    I understand the doctor's diagnosis and prognosis. If the kid was 13 months old or even nine, I'm not sure how I'd feel about this judge's decision. HOWEVER, this kid is 13 years old and does not want the treatment. It boggles my mind that Uncle Sam can step in and force treatment upon a person who does not want it. It is nice that the judge says he won't force treatment if the cancer is beyond treatment----mighty nice of him.

    Thirteen year olds are being tried as ADULTS in USA, even those with problems learning to read!-----Uncle Sam needs to make up his mind. Thirteen is either an age at which one can make life giving and taking decisions equal to an adult or thirteen is NOT. Can't have it both ways, at least not in my book.

    I would be interested to know precisely why he quit after one treatment, whether the decision was for religious reasons only, or if he was influenced in his decision by the side effects of the chemo.

    My FIL died after suffering from Lymphoma. His death certificate says he died because of the effects of the chemo, not the disease. After watching what happened to him, how his suffering was magnified and compounded by the "treatment" I can honestly say that I'd think long and hard about submitting to chemotherapy.
     
  5. southcitymom

    southcitymom New Member

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    Hey Trino,

    Thanks for checking in. I do try NOT to be so blatantly opinionated when I don't have more facts. This is just an issue I feel strongly about. I feel strongly about it whether or not the child has a 95% chance of recovery with chemo or a 5% chance.

    If this were my child, I would want to be able to make my OWN decision and not be forced to do what Western medicine tells me I should do.

    I personally would probably give the chemo a try, but I 100% support another family wanting to try a different route - or no route at all. I don't believe anyone should ever be forced into chemo - which is poison. I understand that it is poison with a "purpose" many deem acceptable. Just my opinion - and the Courts are kind of all over the board with cases like this depending on the facts and the jurisdiction.
     
  6. angelmom

    angelmom The love stays...forever in our hearts

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    The judge did NOT say he had to take the chemo. He said Daniel had to be seen by a doctor, have a new x-ray, and see if chemo would still help him. I don't think that's so invasive.

    Part of the problem with this is that the family is not behaving in any kind of logical way. They are relying on a 13yo who can't even read to make complex, life and death medical decisions. We don't even let 13yos drive, for Pete's sake!

    from the above link:
    While he allowed Daniel to stay with his parents, the judge gave the Hausers until Tuesday to get an updated chest X-ray for their son and select an oncologist.

    If the evaluation shows the cancer had advanced to a point where chemotherapy and radiation would no longer help, the judge said, he would not order the boy to undergo treatment.

    However, he said, if chemotherapy is ordered and the family still refuses, Daniel will be placed in temporary custody.

    <snip>

    Doctors have said Daniel's cancer had up to a 90 percent chance of being cured with chemotherapy and radiation. Without those treatments, doctors said his chances of survival are 5 percent.

    <snip>

    "My son is not in any medical danger at this point," Colleen Hauser testified at a court hearing last week. She also testified that Daniel is a medicine man and elder in the Nemenhah Band.

    The family's attorney, Calvin Johnson, said Daniel made the decision himself to refuse chemotherapy, but Brown County said he did not have an understanding of what it meant to be a medicine man or an elder.

    Court filings also indicated Daniel has a learning disability and can't read.
     
  7. southcitymom

    southcitymom New Member

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    I hear your points, angel, and they are good ones.

    For me, it doesn't matter how invasive or non-invasive the procedures are. The whole of this choice belongs to this family and their son. Even if Daniel was seriously mentally incapacitated (and he's not), the decision for his health care should rest solely with his parents.

    I don't believe in Courts telling people they HAVE to seek certain medical care.

    As kgeaux pointed out, had 13-year-old Daniel killed or assaulted someone, there's a good chance he'd be tried as an adult - and people would scream aplenty if he weren't. But let 13-year-old him and his family try something non-traditional in regards to his healthcare....and we get this. Ridiculous.
     
  8. LLC

    LLC Active Member

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    Why would parents of a 13 yr old refuse treatment? They would let him die when he doesn't have to? Please let me off this planet....lol
     
  9. Trino

    Trino Active Member

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    I'm sure that's what the judge was thinking...

    The boy remember how his aunt (?) died of cancer and how chemo made her sick. He doesn't want that to happen to him. However, his aunt (?) had a different type of cancer. The judge must feel the boy (developmentally disabled?) is not able to make a competent decision. And, since the boy feels okay, the boy believes he's okay.

    As to trying a different route, as SCMom suggested, there's isn't time.
     
  10. GreenEyedGirl

    GreenEyedGirl New Member

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    My cousin had Leukemia and did all the chemo and radiation required and when he relapsed, the Dr.'s said there was no recovering because it had metastasized. He was 9 and his mom refused to make him go through chemo again. The state stepped in and took him away from his mother and were going to make him do chemo. Unfortunately, he died a short time later. However, I think what the state did was wrong. It broke his heart to be taken away from his mom. Granted, he went to his grandmother's house and his mom basically moved in with his grandmother, but it still was very traumatizing for him. If you've ever had chemo or radiation or have seen someone close to you go through the hell that is associated with it, you would probably think twice before forcing anyone to do it-especially your own flesh and blood.
     
  11. southcitymom

    southcitymom New Member

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    Maybe he won't die. Maybe their way will work. We don't know what might happen. They have a right to choose or not choose treatment for this child.
     
  12. southcitymom

    southcitymom New Member

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    Trino - do you know who brought this action? Was it the child's doctors who called the state about his case?
     
  13. southcitymom

    southcitymom New Member

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    Green-eyed - thanks for sharing your personal experience. I am so sorry to hear about what happened to your cousin and I am heartbroken that he was taken from his mom and his home. That's brutal and inhumane and no outside force should be stepping into a family's personal crisis like that and deciding what's best.
     
  14. GreenEyedGirl

    GreenEyedGirl New Member

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    I totally agree! Drs don't have all the answers...they just think they do.
     
  15. txsvicki

    txsvicki Active Member

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    OMG, what kind of people would practically let a child that can't even read die without a chance? If he has a severe learning disability, then he probably also has behavior problems and not enough sense to be able to calculate past today and how he feels right this second. My grandson took his orthodontic apparatus out, also disabled, and can't see past his discomfort into the future with a handsome attractive smile. Also, why the heck is a thirteen year old child not able to read at all? Is that also his choice to not get help there? Medicine Man my rear end. How bogus. If someone told me that my house had a small gas leak and if I stayed there another year or so I'd have a 95% chance of dying, but 95% chance of living if I got out now, I don't think there's any question of the decision I'd make.
     
  16. 6angels

    6angels New Member

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    SO what about parents that have a sick child that could be saved or had a great chance of being saved but the parents are sick of dealing with Dr's and bills so they decide the child should not get treatment and just die? THAT Is murder IMO and why all parents should not make all the choices.
     
  17. ziggy

    ziggy New Member

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    I completely agree with SouthCityMom.

    Chemo is completely different than regular medical care. It IS poison and people with cancer can die from the effects of the chemo. It is miserable to go through. Even some doctors will say it may not prolong life, but shorten it AND make what is left of someone's life a living hell.

    The problem with cancer treatment is that it is not proven to work. People don't seem to get cured from cancer - as you know they are still out there looking for a cure. It's a treatment - not even sure it will work. Doctors have also told people they are going to die from cancer, and they don't - they get better.

    If the parents took the child to receive any other treatment, other than what doctors in our country approve of (even if they've been successful elsewhere) they also risk having their son taken away.

    The medical system in the US says our way or the highway. They are forcing people to follow their sometimes misguided ways. I think that is sooooo wrong in a free country.

    You should have the choice as a parent whether or not to put your child through an unsubstantiated and painful experience that will poison and completely destroy his/her immune system.
     
  18. southcitymom

    southcitymom New Member

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    I can't speak for this family, but we have good friends (and they are professionals - one is a nurse practitioner in peds and one owns his own company) who are un-schoolers. Their 13 year old son is just starting to read a little. He's a super bright kid, and I am sure they would take his wishes into consideration regarding cancer treatment regarding of his reading status.
     
  19. HesterMofet

    HesterMofet Member

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    Traditional cancer treatments are just that, treatments. They might not be a cure, but that are the best that we have. Natural remedies, voodoo, shamanism, etc. have never even been proven to be effective treatments for cancer. The only time I think those should even be *thought* about is when you've been to several doctors and they've all said that there is nothing else they can do. Then you have nothing to lose.

    I don't understand why some people have this idea that it's okay to not get treatment for your child. What if it was a broken leg? Should a parent be able to allow their child to be disabled for life or die from an infection because they don't believe in medical treatment? When does it become abuse? If you believe this, shouldn't it be up to the family if the child goes to school or gets married at 13? This might sound nuts, but I am serious. If parents can make this life or death decision with the child, why not the ones I mentioned above?

    The parents have the responsibility for the well-being of this child. They are in neglect of this duty. They should be charged with attempted murder.
     
  20. southcitymom

    southcitymom New Member

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    I can't form a clear opinion regarding your hypothetical without more information, but I will say that in this case, if the 13 year old boy wanted more tests and Western cancer treatment and his parents didn't want him to have it, I think I would feel a little differently about the matter.
     
  21. Kat

    Kat Kind words do not cost much

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    I waited until I had read the article to comment.

    After reading the article, I realized that this is a religious choice. This family is Catholic but they adhere to the teachings of the Nemenhah Band.

    I went that the website for them and I couldn't interpret what they were saying exactly about whether or not they were recognized by the Federal Gov. as a religion.

    Someone else might be able to make heads or tails out of it:

    http://www.nemenhah.org/internal/due_dill.html

    This is a very complex case. I haven't formed an opinion one way or another yet. On one hand, I see the need to respect the dogma of religious beliefs.

    On the other hand, I see the need for medical care that is deemed appropriate if it will potentially save a life of a child.

    Then on the third hand :))) I don't like to see government get involved in the parenting of children if there isn't documented abuse in any form.

    This is a situation I will have to mull over in my mind for a while. Interesting and complex, thanks SCM for posting.
     

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