Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Just to make you think...

This is a tough one.

For the last week or so I've been following the story of Daniel Hauser, a 13 year old Minnesota boy who has been diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma and is refusing chemotherapy.

His family is Roman Catholic and practice the "do no harm" philosophy of the Nemenhah Band a Native American and religious group based out of Missouri, that believes in natural healing methods.

After one round of chemo earlier in the year, Daniel and his family decided that they would instead treat his illness holistically, through a whole foods diet, herbal supplements, vitamins and ionized water. After his previous doctor caught wind of this he alerted the authorities and were eventually the Hauser's were served with allegedly medically neglecting their son.

Last week Daniel and his family were ordered to obtain an oncologist and have an x-ray done to determine the severity of his condition. The x-ray showed that his condition is not getting better and if he doesn't receive some sort of medical treatment in the near future, it will be too late. And to add a twist to this story, when it was time to go back to court there was no Daniel and no mom.

With Daniel and his mom on the lamb, there is now a nation wide search to recover them and bring Daniel back home and directly into the hands of foster care.

As someone who has overcome an illness through natural means, despite the lack of support, faith, and adverse reaction from her rheumatologist, it's hard for me to figure out who's right and who's wrong.

Obviously, he's 13 years old which makes a huge difference. He's just a kid who's depending on his parents to make the best decision for him, but who's to say what the best decision is? A judge? The parents? At what point does the judicial system go from looking out for the best interest of the child to overstepping their bounds?


Aliecat said...

I kind of support the court in this situation because of the nature of his illness. Cancer is different from RA and I've heard other stories separate from yours that have supported natural therapies for RA that have worked, but none for Cancer. While I chafe at the idea that the government can force treatment on someone, I also can see the point of the doctors prognosis of certain death without treatment. It's a lose-lose situation. Either the government stays out of it and the boy most likely dies or the government steps in and tramples parents' rights to decide the course of their child's treatment. There has to be some middle ground.

Aliecat said...

I should also say, doctors persue chemo as a risk/reward situation. Does the risk of going through the rigors of chemo justify the benefit of a longer and better quality of life? If not, doctors often recommend comfort care in addition to alternate therapies, if yes, they prefer to be aggressive for a short time in order to ensure that the patient will experience a long period of remission.

Jenni said...

I should have clarified, I realize that RA is completely different from cancer and therefore so are the treatments.
I like the way you put it-Good points!

mr_g said...

Truly sad story. As much as I'm tempted to say it's a parent's right to decide what's best for their child, the kid's life is at stake.

I know some religions believe that if God wants to heal, God will heal and it's all "God's Will". They reject the idea that "God's will" may be to allow people to learn the art of medicine and become doctors, so they can heal when someone like this child comes for help.