Judge rules family can't refuse chemo for boy

May 15, 2009 By PATRICK CONDON , Associated Press Writer
This photo taken on May 8, 2009 shows Daniel Hauser, 13, in New Ulm, Minn. His family, who wants to treat his cancer with natural medicine is waiting to see if a judge will let him refuse chemotherapy for religious reasons. Daniel Hauser has a 90 percent chance of surviving his Hodgkin's lymphoma with chemotherapy, , according to his cancer doctor. (AP Photo/The Star Tribune, Kyndell Harkness)

(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.

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."

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 Dr. Bruce 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 , 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.

---

On the Net:

Hauser case final argument briefs: http://www.courts.state.mn.us/?pageNewsItemDisplay&item45848

Nemenhah Band: http://www.nemenhah.org

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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fcnotpdaaj
3 / 5 (6) May 15, 2009
Not that I agree with the parents at all. But since both parents agree, and they sincerely believe that the natuarl junk is better, and that they and their son alone will face the consequence of them being wrong. The boy should be allowed to avoid chemotheraphy. Anything else would take away parents rights.
THEY
2 / 5 (6) May 15, 2009
It is very easy to be torn by a story like this, but at 13 I do believe the boy understands what is going on. And some cancers apparently can be cured naturally. There was a boy being treated for cancer at the local Children's Hospital, chemo didn't kill his cancer, so the family tried "essiac tea" as a last resort, and he was cured and went back home in remission. (although essiac didn't work for my niece, but we probably started it too late) I say it is worth a shot, but I think the boy MUST be closely monitored by an oncologist. If their choice of natural remedy doesn't work, they can always chose chemo at a later date and hope the cancer is not too advanced.

I wish him and his family the best of luck and health.
PaulLove
2.1 / 5 (7) May 15, 2009
So if the court and the Dr. force treatment on the boy would it be fair to charge them with torturing a small boy and murdering him by denying him access to natural remedy? Will they agree to be executed if the child dies in their care? In denying the choice of religon and medical treatment to both the parents and the boy. With great power comes great responsiblity if they wish to make the choice of the boys life let them tie their own lives to the child and see how excited they are about their exercise of power then.
thales
4.2 / 5 (6) May 15, 2009
It's a tough one, but I think the government is right in this case. The issue is at what point should children start getting protection from their parents.

I don't think a 13 year old has had access to enough experience to give him the ability to decide an issue like this. He's just going to parrot what his parents tell him. So I would dismiss his judgment and his preference in this case.

If the kid were malnourished from neglect because the parents were meth heads, there would be no question about government intervention. Why should the parents get a pass in this case?

light_echo123
4 / 5 (4) May 15, 2009
PaulLove: For $250.00, you too can be an elder of the Nemenah. You can download the form. Quite frankly if there was any verifiable evidence to support whatever `natural`or `religious`remedy is being touted here, that would be good. One could make a rational and reasonable decision then. But there is not any. Do you think this religious cult is going to be held accountable if the boy dies? No. They'll blame the boy for not believing enough. And the parents? What thales said

And hey, where are all anti-abortionist here who cry foul at the death of a probable human .... in the face of a situation where the life of a child who DOES exist hangs in the balance?
mysticshakra
1.8 / 5 (5) May 15, 2009
Another classic example of Government sticking it's nose where it has no business. Gov has no business being involved in anyone's health or religion. If Gov can tell you to take a treatment it can also refuse it or make you take mind numbing substances or sterilize you or anything else.

Maybe check the 1st amendment...

"Congress shall make NO LAW respecting an establishment of religion, OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF."

I know we don't pay much attention to the Constitution anymore but....
brant
2.6 / 5 (5) May 15, 2009
75% of doctors would refuse chemo if they had cancer.

http://www.scribd...ke-Chemo
light_echo123
4 / 5 (4) May 15, 2009
No where does it say or was it ever implied in your Constitution that you may establish a religion (superstition) and / or exercise your rights to practice a religion (superstition) at the expense of anyones life. Obviously you never paid much attention to your Constitution either.
HEC
5 / 5 (2) May 15, 2009
This is a no brainer, really people. This is a suicide mission. That's like arguing that you are going to let a major artery bleed clot itself to save the persons life. If you came upon this child who was bleeding from the neck would you apply pressure to stop the bleed or obey his wish and stand by and watch him die? I'm sure you wouldn't watch him die.
Ashy
1 / 5 (2) May 16, 2009
Judge throw away parents' rights, throw away Constitution, and have no relieve themself of responsibility. Judge don't care if child die or become blind from chemoterapy, it doesn't matter for them. They make precedent and now can easy throw away rights of any parent.
timeonhishands
3 / 5 (4) May 16, 2009
I'm sorry to say, but fuck the righs of the parents. Individual rights have their limit in any society and that is ignorance. That boy is a human being who could go on to become who knows who. It is about him and not us, or them. It is about his survival and everything that has to be done for him. I feel for the parents but it's secondary in the matter and legally will be so.
fcnotpdaaj
3 / 5 (4) May 16, 2009
Interesting how hypocritical liberals are. They would give the right for a woman to kill her baby that is viable, but then take away the parents rights to determine what is best once that child is born.

A met head not feeding their kids, do not have the best interest for their child. These parents have the best intention for their child. Whether or not we agree.

This kid dying because of the teatment choice (whether good or bad) of his parents does not affect me. The government stepping in, taking the rights away from the parents, affects me. If they prevent the parents in good faith choosing a teatment plan, they can take away rights in education, religion, morality.

As www.democratsareajoke.com keeps showing, liberals hate freedom, and want to take rights away from law abiding citizens, and give special rights to criminals.
terminator007
5 / 5 (2) May 16, 2009
this is a no brainer people. Of course if the family had shown effort at doing everything for the child it would be one thing. Also the judge said if the cancer is too far along there is no need to put him through that for nothing but if they can proceed by all means use natural remedies and modern medicine. People used to die a ton of cancer without medicine they just didnt know it! It is neglect but it is not like meth heads! They believe they are doing whats right although there could be some mental instability! And really, you people then jump to abortion...give me a break! Im pro life but seriously that has nothing to do with it and isnt even a valid logical argument.Fact: Borderline mental instability with the parents and this child needs to be given a fair shot with all parts of medicine and treating cancer...one time doesnt count!
John_balls
not rated yet May 16, 2009
Interesting how hypocritical liberals are. They would give the right for a woman to kill her baby that is viable, but then take away the parents rights to determine what is best once that child is born.



A met head not feeding their kids, do not have the best interest for their child. These parents have the best intention for their child. Whether or not we agree.



This kid dying because of the teatment choice (whether good or bad) of his parents does not affect me. The government stepping in, taking the rights away from the parents, affects me. If they prevent the parents in good faith choosing a teatment plan, they can take away rights in education, religion, morality.



As http://www.democr...joke.com keeps showing, liberals hate freedom, and want to take rights away from law abiding citizens, and give special rights to criminals.

Your not to bright are you???

If the parents choices are negligent to a childs health then it's a no brainer if you have a brain.
fcnotpdaaj
not rated yet May 16, 2009
When the courts decide that it is in the best interest of children not to be exposed to the parents religion, and they use the medical reasoning that the state can determine what is best medically.
terminator007
1 / 5 (1) May 16, 2009
If you are talking to me John Balls you are an idiot. personally if these parents want to watch their son die of cancer because their cult believes modern medicine cant save him then they certainly can go ahead, but since the government did step in (like they would in any neglect case) they have to abide. Unfortunatly nobody seems to understand the facts. This religion's (cult) leader has been charged with fraud in the past. Also if the boy was 18 and chose this it would be different but he is a minor. It is a perental right when you arent putting a child at risk for death. Its one thing to not vaccinate for measles, which is really dangerous to children and other peoples children but can potentially be no big deal. Its another when talking about cancer people! Also I do feel like they have a right to choose this but I dont feel like they have tried all options farely and that is what you do when you are battling something like this. Also the choice to not medicate with chemo is negligent given the fact he had a 90% survival rate and now who knows what it is!!!duh!!!
GrayMouser
5 / 5 (1) May 16, 2009
While I don't believe in "natural" cures I also don't believe that the court has jurisdiction in a personal decision of this type. The child is not a ward or possession (read slave or serf) of the state.
light_echo123
5 / 5 (1) May 16, 2009
GrayMouser .. the reason we have laws to protect the innocent from those who would do us harm on purpose apply equally to those who would do us harm even if they think they are doing us a favor. I agree that the child is not a ward, nor a slave, of the state. The child is also not a slave of the parents. This is as clear a case of child abuse through negligence (or stupidity if you prefer) as there can be.
Soylent
3.3 / 5 (3) May 17, 2009
I'm in favour of letting adults do unspeakably horrible things to themselves for whatever insane reason they wish.

However, this is a child and he doesn't have the right to drive a car, drink booze, join the military, have sex or any of a long list of other things yet. If he was a few years older I'd say, sure, let him kill himself.
Soylent
not rated yet May 17, 2009
The child is not a ward or possession (read slave or serf) of the state.


If you try to convince your child to commit suicide the state may well take possession of it and find it a new home among some more capable parents. Children are indeed serfs to their parents or to the state outside of a few remaining pockets of lawless hellholes.
John_balls
not rated yet May 17, 2009
If you are talking to me John Balls you are an idiot. personally if these parents want to watch their son die of cancer because their cult believes modern medicine cant save him then they certainly can go ahead, but since the government did step in (like they would in any neglect case) they have to abide. Unfortunatly nobody seems to understand the facts. This religion's (cult) leader has been charged with fraud in the past. Also if the boy was 18 and chose this it would be different but he is a minor. It is a perental right when you arent putting a child at risk for death. Its one thing to not vaccinate for measles, which is really dangerous to children and other peoples children but can potentially be no big deal. Its another when talking about cancer people! Also I do feel like they have a right to choose this but I dont feel like they have tried all options farely and that is what you do when you are battling something like this. Also the choice to not medicate with chemo is negligent given the fact he had a 90% survival rate and now who knows what it is!!!duh!!!


I wasn't refering to you so I don't why you're calling me an idiot. I actually agree with most of what you just said.

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