Friday, May 15, 2009

Judge Orders Boy to Doctor’s Evaluation

Daniel Hauser, age 13, has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He and his family decided to not use traditional medicines because of their religious beliefs. Child Protective Services became involved and accused the parent’s of medical neglect. According to the doctors, Daniel’s cancer had a 90% chance of being cured with the medicine and chemo, however without it, his chances fall to 5%.

“The judge ruled that the boy must be evaluated by a doctor to determine if he would benefit from restarting chemotherapy over his parent’s objections.” (Associated Press) Daniel’s attorney, Philip Elbert had this to say, “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."

So, do you agree with the Daniel and his parents with the belief that it is their decision whether to self medicate him or do you side with the judge?


Tanja said...

This is such a difficult issue. On the one hand, religious freedom is a cornerstone of our society and is fundamental to all that America stands for. That includes the freedom not to believe in a higher power, as well. If a parent raises their child with a particular view, in this case, that medicine is not the answer but God will heal by faith then who is anyone to force "healing" on them. However, the child is a minor and is forced to follow what the parents want. If the child does not agree should the state step in and fight for the "rights of the child"? This complicates the situation more, because the government has backed time and time again the right of a woman to have an abortion because it is her body and she has the right to do with her body what she wants. The "rights of the child" are not taken into consideration in this case. Now some will argue that the child is not born yet, so therefore has no rights. This is why this situation is so complicated. The government wants to step up for the "rights of the born child" but does not recognize the "rights of the unborn child".
I hope that a parent has the right to raise their child the way they see fit. However, there is such a fine line because we should also expect someone to step in if what they are doing is causing their child harm, such as physical/sexual abuse. So, does denying a child life saving medical treatment fall into this category? I honestly do not know the answer. This family believes their faith will bring healing and who is anyone to doubt that it will. I personally would seek treatment for my child, knowing that God provides healing in many different ways.

hollybeth75 said...

Personally It took me a long time to come to a decision on this. At first I was torn between my emotional side, of feeling sympathetic for this kid and feeling like something SHOULD be done. But my logical side was nagging at me. I kept thinking this was terribly wrong for the government to allow judges to get involved in the rights of parents to make decisions when no law was broken. Now let me make a point here, if a law is broken, by all means call in Child Protective Services, and get things straightened out. But if you allow and welcome this kind of intervention and involvement what is next?

I was what if-ing a lot of scenarios to come to a decision and here are some that went through my mind. There are a lot of families living in the United States that do not believe in practicing traditional western medicine. Should they be forced to? Western medicine is not the only way to go. Eastern medicine, natural medicine, and alternative medicine are other options that other people practice and should have a right to practice. If someone has cancer, and the family refuses chemotherapy but has another plan for treatment does the government (who by the way has pharmaceutical lobbyists in their pockets) have the right to override this? What about the Amish? Are there certain groups that would be considered exempt from this if the Amish don’t have to and are ignored? How is that fair? And what about the people who live hundreds of miles away from the nearest hospital and can’t afford to miss work? I used to work at a company that had a very strict attendance policy. Two absences and you were fired. You think that person could keep their job if the government forced them into certain medical treatments like chemotherapy? That person may be doing the best they can in this economy just to keep food on the table. Look I know for most parents their kids health is the most important priority and a jobs attendance policy becomes insignificant. But if they are Hindu or Chinese and have their Grandma at home taking care of the baby as the medicine woman and things are working for them, I say leave them the eff alone. Who is the government to say they know all the answers. I certainly don’t think mandating anything is the way to go, I think opening that door is dangerous.

Tiki: said...

According to an update I've heard on this story, the mom has taken the son and now there is a warrant for her arrest. They've been missing since Monday after the boy, Daniel, had his doctor's appointment and learned that the tumor had grown.

sunny said...

I don't believe the government is operating here out of a moral desire to ensure that this child has the best treatment possible... there are many families that don't have "the best care" options due to a lack of insurance or financial means. Would the doctors be sued in every case where a parent chooses the "best care" route and is denied.

The problem here is that the government is once again imposing beleifs. "We" believe in medicine therefore so should our citizens. Not good!