a few of my thoughts on the Daniel Hauser case

as a skeptical person not only must i be wary of the role of quackery like new age medicine but i must also be vigilant against big pharm and the capitalization of medicine. i must keep questioning the motives of all involved.
if this boy's family and he were not white would the ruling be the same? i don't think so. it really makes me sneer when the media mentions that this family has eight children together, as if this suggests instant negligence. it makes me sneer that big brother is watching us.
at what point did doctors in america get to be so full of themselves that they can predict that he will be cured of cancer when everyone knows that there is no cure for cancer? simply because the chemo may cause the tumor to go into remission this time doesn't mean he won't get it again in five to ten years, nor does it mean that the chemo will even work. chemo is effective in some cases in treating cancer, not curing cancer as these doctors so outlandishly claim.
this reconfirms my strong opinion that the american take on the hippocratic oath is something to be feared. keeping the patient alive at any cost is not what is best for them all of the time no matter what. what does the patient want? what do those legally and financially responsible for the patient want? this is like that dreadful terry schiavo case again with zero respect for the wishes of those who are responsible. the boy went through one treatment already. what if it was his decision to not have to go through that pain again and his parents are honoring his wishes? not one report said anything about the wishes of the child. i'm taking a wild guess that the government and the media don't give a flying fuck about the wishes of the child. i'm guessing if the child gave any answer outside of the one that the public wants to hear then everyone will say that he's influenced by his parents and not making sense, because you know, no child has ever had thier own thoughts or desires.
not one report has said whether or not this family has insurance or if they do whether or not they can afford the expensive chemo treatments in the long run. not one so far has stated whether or not one of these parents stays at home or if they would have had to take time off work for months. i can think of a hundred what ifs here so i'll just wrap it up.
i obviously disagree with the ruling. i disagree that anyone should be forced to go through chemo. i disagree that there is a cure for cancer or that a doctor can guess a percent and this gamble be taken as fact in a court of law. i disagree that this is somehow a "win" for science, if it is a win for anything it is a win for big brother being able to make one of the most grave decisions for you. i disagree that simply because new age quackery is involved it automatically makes the big pharm right.

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Comment by Angie Jackson on May 17, 2009 at 7:14pm
As I've said in other posts related to this story, I was raised in a faith-healing cult. I was born at home without a doctor or midwife, received no immunizations, got into typical childhood scrapes including a few that should have warranted tetanus shots, etc. I grew up completely on the side of "parents should have the ultimate authority over their children - doctors are quacks - big pharma is out to enslave us all - the government is our enemy and they are intervening in our christian lives". Now, I'm a mother. I want to have autonomy to raise my son the way I see fit, and I should have that right UNTIL I choose to impede HIS rights - to life, to proper care, to freedom from abuse and neglect. I cannot in anyway agree with your rant on this case. This isn't the government overstepping boundaries; this isn't doctors being greedy and "god like". Chemotherapy DOES work in many cases at extended the lives of cancer patients and often even eradicating the cancer altogether. If you choose not to use the word "cure" for this, fine. But the medical experts agree that this child needs further care if he is to live - without this care he will die a slow and painful death. You have to understand this isn't dying with dignity. People who oppose medicine for religious reasons extend that to pain relievers. I walked with a dislocated hip for three years and wasn't allowed so much as an aspirin in all that time.

It's child abuse, plain and simple. The fact that the parents have deluded themselves into believing it's god's will doesn't make it any less horrific. It just doesn't.
Comment by Jim DePaulo on May 17, 2009 at 10:56am
Parents or not, if they are making total irrational decisions that can harm their child the state has an obligation to intervene. Not just withholding critical medical attention but child marriages, children snake handlers the "beat jebus into them" camps for "troubled teens"and etc...
Comment by Creature on May 17, 2009 at 4:30am
I hear you Sydni. 13 is way too young to make that call, and letting a kid your responsible for die is negligent. If the family can't afford the costs to save the life of a child than the state needs to step up and help them out.
Comment by Joey on May 16, 2009 at 9:04pm
Well, the problem is the kid really wants to live.
If it were a case of him having the right to die if he wished, I'd be on the opposite side.
The reason they ruled that way is he knows absolutely *nothing* about medicine, science, or cancer.
His parents have indoctrinated him well and he thinks his cancer will magically disappear if he prays a lot and takes vitamins. He thinks magic is his best chance of surviving it.

To bastardize the favorite saying of a lot of moms: If a cult brainwashed kids into thinking they could fly if they jumped off a cliff, would you be in favor of letting the kids jump?
Comment by Dionysus on May 16, 2009 at 3:08pm

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A Minnesota judge ruled Friday that a 13-year-old cancer patient must be evaluated by a doctor to determine if the boy would benefit from restarting chemotherapy over his parents' objections.

In a 58-page ruling, Brown County District Judge John Rodenberg found that Daniel Hauser has been "medically neglected" by his parents, Colleen and Anthony Hauser, and was in need of child protection services.

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.

The judge wrote that Daniel has only a "rudimentary understanding at best of the risks and benefits of chemotherapy. ... he does not believe he is ill currently. The fact is that he is very ill currently."

It was unclear how the medicine would be administered if the boy fights it. Dr. Bruce Bostrom, a pediatric oncologist at Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, said last week he would have a hard time forcing Daniel to take the medicine.

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."

Elbert said he hadn't spoken to his client yet. The phone line at the Hauser home in Sleepy Eye in southwestern Minnesota had a busy signal Friday. The parents' attorney had no immediate comment but planned to issue a statement.

Daniel was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma and stopped chemotherapy in February after a single treatment. He and his parents opted instead for "alternative medicines" based on their religious beliefs.

Child protection workers accused Daniel's parents of medical neglect; but in court, his mother insisted the boy wouldn't submit to chemotherapy for religious reasons and she said she wouldn't comply if the court orders it.

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.

Daniel's parents have been supporting what they say is their son's decision to treat the disease with nutritional supplements and other alternative treatments favored by the Nemenhah Band.

The Missouri-based religious group believes in natural healing methods advocated by some American Indians.

After the first chemotherapy treatment, the family said they wanted a second opinion, said Bostrom, a pediatric oncologist who recommended Daniel undergo chemotherapy and radiation.

They later informed him that Daniel would not undergo any more chemotherapy. Bostrom said Daniel's tumor shrunk after the first chemotherapy session, but X-rays show it has grown since he stopped the chemotherapy.

"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.

The Hausers have eight children. Colleen Hauser told the New Ulm Journal newspaper that the family's Catholicism and adherence to the Nemenhah Band are not in conflict, and that she has used natural remedies to treat illness.

Nemenhah was founded in the 1990s by Philip Cloudpiler Landis, who said Thursday he once served four months in prison in Idaho for fraud related to advocating natural remedies.

Landis said he founded the faith after facing his diagnosis of a cancer similar to Daniel Hauser. He said he treated it with diet choices, visits to a sweat lodge and other natural remedies.



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