Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Opinions Desired

I just read an article (it's attached) about a mom who now has a warrant out for her arrest because she's refusing to get court ordered chemo for her 13 year old son. Oh my gosh do I have an opinion about this!

This is crazy! How in the world can a court order someone to have chemo? How can a court demand a parent put THEIR child through chemo? I think that is totally their decision. I don't think it's the decision I would make, but I'm not in that situation. Their family believes in natural healing methods instead of modern medicine. I personally believe in both, but again, I'm not in their particular situation.

The judge is saying that the parents are "medically neglecting the child" by not getting chemo for his cancer.

For Miles, Randy and I have to prayerfully consider what to do and not to do for Miles medically. There have been things we've felt like is unnecessary & there have been things we've felt good about & there have been things I totally didn't want to do, but felt like we were supposed to do. Those were choices that Randy and I made for our son. I can't imagine being court ordered to do something for him! It totally offends me!

I know that courts and social services are good in situations were there's abuse and neglect in the food, water and shelter area. Those are basic needs that need to be met. I'm not arguing that. I just think that medical situations like this is a personal decision on treatments. I think individuals should have the right to choose treatment or not. Both the child and the parent doesn't seem to desire being treated and I don't think they should be forced to do so.

The mother and son are now in hiding. She's got a warrant out for her arrest and he's sick with cancer. What in the world?

The article says that his cancer is considered highly curable, but obviously not a guaranteed thing. What do you think? Should the parents be legally forced to make their child go through chemo? I totally want your opinion. I don't care if you don't agree with me. I'd just like to hear what you think about this situation.

Arrest ordered for mom of boy, 13, resisting chemo

By AMY FORLITI, Associated Press Writer
38 mins ago
NEW ULM, Minn. – Authorities nationwide were on the lookout Wednesday for a mother and her 13-year-old cancer-stricken son who fled after refusing the chemotherapy that doctors say could save the boy's life.
Colleen Hauser and her son, Daniel, who has Hodgkin's lymphoma, apparently left their southern Minnesota home sometime after a doctor's appointment and court-ordered X-ray on Monday showed his tumor had grown.
Brown County District Judge John Rodenberg, who had ruled last week that Daniel's parents were medically neglecting him, issued an arrest warrant Tuesday for Colleen Hauser and ruled her in contempt of court. Rodenberg also ordered that Daniel be placed in foster care and immediately evaluated by a cancer specialist for treatment.
The family belongs to a religious group that believes in "natural" healing methods. Daniel has testified he believed chemotherapy would kill him and told the judge that if anyone tried to force him to take it, "I'd fight it. I'd punch them and I'd kick them."
The boy's father, Anthony Hauser, testified he didn't know where his wife and son were but had made no attempt to find them. He testified he last saw his son Monday morning, and he saw his wife only briefly that evening when she said she was leaving "for a time."
As of Wednesday morning, the mother and son still had not been found, said Carl Rolloff, a sheriff's dispatcher.
Officials distributed the arrest warrant nationwide. Brown County Sheriff Rich Hoffman said Tuesday that investigators were following some leads locally, but declined to elaborate.
"It's absolutely crazy. It's very disappointing," James Olson, the attorney representing Brown County Family Services. "We're trying to do what's right for this young man."
A message left at the Hauser home in Sleepy Eye early Wednesday wasn't immediately returned. But in an interview in Wednesday's editions of the Star Tribune of Minneapolis, Anthony Hauser said he knew places where his wife might have gone though he did not know where she was.
He said he and his wife had a plan for Tuesday's hearing and he was a "bit disappointed" she didn't follow it. "We were going to present a treatment plan to the court. If they didn't go with it, we would appeal it," he told the newspaper.
"I know many people around here who have had cancer, they did the chemo, it would come back," Hauser told the newspaper. "They did the chemo again and again and they are all in the grave. Chemo isn't foolproof."
Olson, the family services lawyer, had considered asking the judge to hold Anthony Hauser in contempt as well, but he said Wednesday he decided against that.
"I'm thinking that he probably doesn't know where his wife and child are," Olson said.
Daniel's Hodgkin's lymphoma, diagnosed in January, is considered highly curable with chemotherapy and radiation, but the boy quit chemo after a single treatment.
The judge has said Daniel, who has a learning disability and cannot read, did not understand the risks and benefits of chemotherapy and didn't believe he was ill.
The Hausers are Roman Catholic and also believe in the "do no harm" philosophy of the Nemenhah Band, a Missouri-based religious group that believes in natural healing methods advocated by some American Indians. Colleen Hauser testified earlier that she had been treating his cancer with herbal supplements, vitamins, ionized water and other natural alternatives.
The founder of Nemenhah, Philip Cloudpiler Landis, said it was a bad idea for Colleen Hauser to flee with her son. "You don't solve anything by disregarding the order of the judge," Landis said.
The family's doctor, James Joyce, testified by telephone that he examined Daniel on Monday, and that an X-ray showed his tumor had grown to the size it was when he was first diagnosed.
"He had basically gotten back all the trouble he had in January," the doctor said.
Joyce testified that he offered to make appointments for Daniel with oncologists, but the Hausers declined, then left in a rush with lawyer Susan Daya.
"Under Susan Daya's urging, they indicated they had other places to go," Joyce said.
Daya did not immediately respond to a call Tuesday from The Associated Press. The court also tried to reach her during the hearing, but got no answer.
Minnesota statutes require parents to provide necessary medical care for a child, Rodenberg wrote. The statutes say alternative and complementary health care methods aren't enough.



you know I caught a little of this story this morning while sipping coffee in the hotel room while getting ready for work here in Austin.
I thought the same as you. I was a little peeved that the parents rights were over ruled here.
And I agree with you also, that I don't think I would have made the same choice as the mother , but it is her right as a parent to make choices for her son.
Its all a little odd if you ask me.
ITs all kind of scarry just like the CPS stuff we get into now adays. The kids can threaten their parents with "Im gonna call CPS because you can't hit me".
So we are told by the courts we can no longer spank our children.
So will our courts now tell us how to take care of our children with their health and basic needs?
But I have a very strong opinion about this , incase you have not noticed. LOL
My son tried that on me when he was little. He said you can't spank me because I can call CPS and you will get into some bad trouble .
I told him, BY GOD here's the phone you want me to dial it for you?
They can come take you away and you can go live in a foster home if you like. But in my house there are rules and spankings.
He changed his tune real quick.
He didn't care to go live in a foster home.LOL

Amanda said...

I thought a lot about this back when they were trying to make it a law that all girls at the age of 12 had to have that shot that would prevent cervical cancer and also help to prevent some sort of STD (I can't remember which one exactly, sorry. I think it was like HPV or something.) I don't think it's the governments right to tell us as parents what we should and should not do for our kids medically. But they do all the time. Our kids have to have immunizations to be in shcool. I'm not saying I disagree with the immunizations, they're great and I'm grateful we have them, but why does it have to be mandatory? I have no clue what I would do in her situation. I want to say that I would do whatever I could to save my child, but I don't know for sure. I'm not in that position. From the story I don't think she's with holding treatment to be mean or anything. That would be totally different. It seems like the son doesn't want the treatment either. I know at age 13, he's not ready to make all of his own decisions, but he should have some sort of a say. It's not gauranteed that the chemo will work, or that the tumor will never come back. I think it's ridiculous that there's a warrant for her arrest. If he does die from this, then he has to spend his last days in hiding instead of with his friends and family allowing them to come to terms with what is happening. If she was with holding treatment as a form of abuse then I would definetly agree that her son should be taken away from her, but it just doesn't seem that way.

I really like it when you post these kinds of blogs and get us thinking!

High in Demand said...

I love having "thinking" friends!!!!!

Amanda said...

Maybe like once a week you could come up with something that we could get into like this! Or every other week. I know you're gonna be super busy with it being summer and all.

Rachel said...

Ok, so I know we talked about this this morning, but I thought I would throw out my 2 cents for the world to see. ;)

My parents went through an almost exact situation with my brother. He had a cancerous brain tumor and did one round of chemo. He lost a lot of weight and was 8 years old and weighed 29 pounds. That's Payton right now -- weighing 29 pounds... CRAZY!! I might have pictures somewhere and if I do, I'll post them for sure!

Anyway, my parents had to go to Dallas to meet with doctors and lawyers because my dad had refused to let my brother go on with chemo. They were going to "sue them" for medical neglect. My dad said it was like walking in on a tv show. There was a huge conference table with all of these professionals . . . then, there were my parents with my dad carrying my brother in because he was too weak to walk.

I have thought about this several times over the last 17 years (CRAZY that it's been that long) about how my parents had to have had the favor of God on them. My dad said he walked in carrying my brother and sat him down in the chair. Most of the "professionals" got up and walked out of the room and said that the doctors had no right to force my parents to go through with the 2nd & 3rd rounds of chemo.

My parents stood on the Word of God and Neal was healed. He started to eat and slowly regained his strength. But, I remember the stress and the conversations. Crazy that it's happening again. Although, I think that the mother could have prolonged it if she had stuck around and gone through the courts. But, I can't imagine my child with something like that and knowing what I would do. I'm not sure I would have done anything different. I would be just as scared, although I don't think I would have run from the law. All she's done now is cause more problems. She can't be her son's advocate from a jail cell!

Anyway, this story will be interesting. . . wish she wasn't having to go through this, for sure.

trish said...

I have always been very conflicted about these things, being both medical and spiritual. FIrst of all, I find it sad that the parents are in such disagreement and apparent lack of unity that they had to tear the child apart during such a critical time from the support of both of his parents. I also feel that if statistically that if it is against their religious or spiritual beliefs to consent to certain medical practices they should not be persecuted. Chemo is ugly and does not always work. But I believe parents should also be in agreement with their children's therapies. It is too hard otherwise without supporting each others decisions. I have always believed in a little more "lasseiz-faire"-the practice or doctrine of governmental noninterference in the affairs of others, esp. with reference to individual conduct or freedom of action. But that is just me. Thanks for this post Brandi, you are cutting edge, how about hosting your own talk show?

Ashlee said...

Here in Wisconsin this is a very hot topic right now. In a city about an hour from where we live a diabetic girl became very sick and listless. Instead of taking her to the hospital the parents repeatedly had people come to pray over the girl. When she finally stopped breathing they called the ambulance. They were unable to save her.

Medical experts testified that treatment would have saved the girl. The Mom was tried, and convicted of second degree reckless homicide and now faces up to 25 years in prison. She has 3 other children.

I think it's easier to say the state is wrong when the kids survive or when there is at least still a chance for them to survive.

While I believe in God's ability to heal I'm aware that not everyone is healed in every circumstance. How come Kevin was healed of his kidney disease but not his foot injury? Truthfully, I dont know. We certainly believe God heals.

To absolutely refuse to take your child to the doctor when they are very sick, when we are aware that God does not heal in EVERY circumstance seems to be a little like playing russian roulette with their lives. You really would need to be confident that you heard God.

I agree in theory with Brandi and Rachel...but I also think it's easier when we are looking at a situation where the person survived, or still has a chance to survive. What about if the child dies? Some of me wants to say it's ok because it's part of our freedom to practice our faith...but I'm not sure I'm entirely comfortable with that. It seems to be too close to the line of saying it's okay for radical Muslims to commit terrorism because it's part of their faith...

Anyways, I'm not sure I have a firm opinion...just wanted to share some of my thoughts on the issue.