Friday, May 22, 2009

What Do You Think?


Have you been watching or reading about the saga of Danny Hauser and his mother? Danny is a 13 year old boy who was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma and after one round of chemo, his parents decided to not take him back for more. The parents are registered members of a Native American tribe and have decided they want to treat their son naturally, and without medication. A judge in Minnesota said no, and ordered the child back to chemo. So, mom decided to make a run for it. Supposedly mom and son are now in California making a run for Mexico while dad is back in Minnesota trying, and not doing a very good job of convincing authorities that he has no idea where his wife and son are.

It seems to me the pair shouldn't be that hard to find, but with the exception of a possible sighting in Southern California, there really has been no trace of them. They are probably traveling with a guy who says that he was cured of the same form of cancer without relying on medicine. Of course he never proved that to anyone. The mom and dad are registered members of this Native American organization which says that "our religion is our medicine." The fact that the leader spent time in jail for all kinds of things related to his "religion" and "medicine" doesn't exactly give him the highest credibility.

You would think the parents might have looked into that part of him a little more carefully. I just want the kid to be safe and not die. I don't understand why they can't do a mixture of natural and chemo. The thing is this form of cancer is fairly easy to beat as far as cancers go, and I would hate for a 13 year old boy to not see the rest of his life because mom decided to run. I don't know how running will improve his health, or how much he is going to like having his mom in jail for the next few years while he is fighting cancer.

43 comments:

M said...

From what I recall reading prior to their going on the lam, the kid is just as much not wanting any traditional medical help, either. It was written that he is unable to read (at 13!)and therefore does not understand his condition or the consequences of his decision. Also, he was quoted as saying that he would become violent towards anyone who tried to get him to do chemo again in the future...What's sad, is Mom is now in SO much trouble, regardless of how this all turns out in the end.

Lisa said...

If they didn't believe in western medicine at all, then he wouldn't have been diagnosed and treated to begin with. I'm not buying the "freedom of religion" argument at this late date. Mom needs to be locked up before she ends up killing her boy.

Babs said...

I am not a big fan of the state making my personal decisions for me. THAT SAID...

I always find it a bit strange when parents refuse medical treatment because of their 'religious beliefs'. If your belief in your God, whomever he/she might be, is that strong, why doesn't it include the possibility that doctors are God's instruments? How could you possibly watch your child die because you were too 'faithful' to provide basic medical care?

Should these people be forced to submit their child to chemo? I don't know. But I agree there's something fishy here - the child has been home schooled and can't read at the age of 13. He went through one round of chemo, so obviously they didn't have religious differences at first. If they're withholding treatment because the effects were unpleasant, well, guess what? Dying is a whole lot worse.

Audrey said...

It's a really tough call. At what point does the government have the right to force you to submit your child to anything? How much power should parents have over a child? I can't pick a side on this specific issue, but I always have said that if I had a choice between two laws, I'd choose the one that is least intrusive and provides the most personal freedom for a person. So, from that perspective, I don't agree with the judge.

Pookie said...

what horrible parents these people are. i swear i want to vomit.

Lisa said...

Audrey, my guess is that Danny will have more personal freedoms if he wins his battle against cancer than if he dies, because his mother refused to let him be treated. **shutting up now**

Ice Angel said...

The child is autistic or has some sort of mental disability, which I cannot remember exactly. He is obviosly unable to understand what is going on at this point. I believe the government has a right to interfere with a parent who does not provide adequate and available medical attention to their children. It is like watching them drown in a pool and doing nothing, hoping that God will help.

Guess what...it's not God's job to get the child out of the pool...it's YOUR job....that is what you, as a parent, are there for. Why do you think God created the world the way he did??? All young rely on their parents for protection and if they don't, someone needs to step in.

What if feeding the child was not your religion? What if wearing clothes was against your religion? No...there is a line and I am sick of these nutjobs making stupid decisions in the name of God. God tells you to care for your children and love your children. Running to Mexico with a dying child to escape the cure is criminal AND immoral.

DNfromMN said...

I disagree with the fact that he can't read being a reason he doesn't understand his condition. (It's a reason to question his home schooling.) Competency is a gray area.

From what local news is saying, the doc says he does complementary medicine all the time as long as it doesn't interfere with the effectiveness of the chemo.

It's a very interesting ethical issue.

Moosefan said...

Either way...this will affect other cases like this for years to come. Neither side wins.

Mooshki said...

Are you kidding? I live in Minnesota. He has been the number one news story since before they went on the lam.

From what I understand, the parents had the right to refuse treatment for religious reasons, but they were required to inform the authorities that that was what they were doing, so they violated the child protection laws when they didn't. I think their lack of responsibility and consistency about the situation is what allowed the judge to make that decision. The decision wasn't so much about religion as about the parents' clear inability to act responsibly on behalf of the child.

M, not necessarily. The sheriff said they won't press charges if she brings him back.

The dad is a really shitty actor. They made him go on tv to ask them to come home, and it was completely unbelievable.

jax said...

from what i read there is an 80-95% chance he will make a full recovery with treatment based on his response to the few treatments he ALREADY HAD. even Sanjay Gupta came out swinging saying the decision would be a no brainer for him, get your kid help, NOW.

if he dies, i hope she is accesory.
shes'a fuckin crackpot that was scared of the side effects. she sounds completely uneducated and totally endangering her son's life.

Me.. said...

Dipshit fucktard parents... I would do ANYTHING in my power to cure my daughter.. LITERALLY anything.. She's my bestest friend in the whole world, and I couldn't imagine living without her.. WTF is wrong with these idiots!?!?!?

mikey said...

I know the kid has said that he will kick and fight off anyone who tries to give him a needle; necessary for his chemo. Unfortunately, as a parent who has a child who needed unpleasant medical procedures, I know you strap that kid to the chair if you need to. Broke my heart. It is highly likely that his particular cancer is treatable. If you want your child to live, get him the proper treatment. You can't allow a 13 year old to make that decision.
There have been a few of these type cases in the news in the past year. A few kids died - one from diabetes, I believe. Tragic.

Hercules said...

I am completely against state control at this level. It is a joke. This is the medical industrial complex/big pharma married to the nanny state and it is wrong. Not everyone thinks chemo is a good thing. Not everyone believes what the shill Gupta says. Leave the kid alone. Leave the family alone. Leave the state out of it. I think it is an outrage that the state has done this. To me, that is the real scandal. The state is asserting that the child is the property of the state. Where is the outrage over that?

Bad Fish said...

Practice your kooky religion all you want but the minute a child becomes harmed, I feel the government has a right, nay, a responsibility to step in. If a child was being medically neglected because of any other reason, we'd be all over it. Religion is not an excuse. A child should be allowed to become an adult before they are indoctrinated into something they don't understand. And as an adult who was medically neglected as a child due to religious reasons...I say ignorance is not an excuse. Get the kid treatment. If their God is so awesome as they say he is, he'll forgive them for wanting to save his own life. That's what he does, isn't it?

Bad Fish said...

Someone has to protect kids when their parents won't. Someone has to stand up for them. And that's why my too liberal to be called liberal ass doesn't care about the detractors screaming "Big Brother Big Brother!". CHILDREN ARE DYING. THEY NEED PROTECTION. PERIOD.

linnea said...

Amen, bad fish. Amen.

Garden Keeper said...

I'm too Darwinian for this.

I think children need to be protected. But if a parent is bound and determined to kill a child based on his his/her own stupidity... then let their gods decide. The gene pool might be better for it.

It'll be the rest of the stupid life that they'll get to think about what they did. And how much they miss their dead child.

jax said...

the joke will be on you Hercules when this kid is dead and his mother rots in jail.

how is this different from basic neglect or abuse? should we just shut CPS down now and call it a day? i mean why get the gov't involved when parents do such a great job these days??

sorry i have to completely disagree with you on this one.

Hercules said...

So are our children "ours" to raise or are the the property of the state when the state doesn't like the way we are raising them? Who determines that? The tools at CPS, the tools shilling all the glorious benefits of chemo (which unless you have had it you really cannot know)? Who decides? There are children and adults dying all over the world. I see the USG killing more of them than they are saving. Who pays for this chemo? Judging from the benefits and donation jars everywhere for kids with cancer, it is most certainly not the beloved state who is intervening on THEIR behalf!

Hercules said...

jax-totally ok to disagree, I am not trying to start a flame war, I just happen to see this very differently from others, that is all. And yes, CPS should be disbanded:)

JJ said...

Initially I was kinda on the mother's side when I thought it was simple religious freedom. I assumed they were Jehovah's Witnesses or something and respected their right to make those choices.

When I heard the real story about the crackpot 'religion' and the fact that he had already started chemo, I decided they were all crazy. I saw a quick interview with the father and he's a whack job.

GladysKravitz said...

I don't think that anyone should decide whether your kid has to have a vegetarian diet or take multivitamins or be treated for a cold. Those things won't kill you. Cancer, on the other hand, does.

The child is relying on its parents to be his/her advocate; legally, the supposition is that the parents will act in the best interests of the child. However, when it is clear to a reasonable person that the best interests of the child are not being served, the state has an obligation to step in and allow someone else (usually the MD, or a panel of MDs) to act as the child's advocate.

This happens on occasion with Christian Science kids. I actually feel bad for the parents, because they BELIEVE they are acting in their child's best interests--reserving a spot in heaven, helping their children to have faith, etc.

The kid, though, even if s/he doesn't die, is the one that really suffers. At some point in his/her life, he'll figure out that his parents were willing to betray him--to the point of death-- for their religious beliefs. That's a big therapy bill.

In the meantime, s/he has to live in a house with people he loves and who love him, getting treatment that is painful and exhausting, and which his parents resent and oppose. That will not be an easy treatment and the kid will have guilt and fear and feelings that he won't be able to talk about, let alone handle.

Sad.

M said...

Mooshki,

Thanks for the update on the sheriff. I hadn't heard that part, but then I have a tendency to avoid reading anything more with an 'ugh' factor to it after a point...Fortunately I don't watch television anymore, so at least I'm spared from being bomblasted that media outlet.

Lisa said...

I don't even know what to say to Hercules. The job of the police department is to protect and serve. Should they be disbanded, as well? I'm all for nihilim, but I'm old enough to make up my own mind.

I hope that if I ever go off my rocker causing my children to suffer in the process, that someone will step in and at least give me a good hard slap.

Kara said...

I would be happy to see CPS disbanded. I do those types of cases. I have only had three or four out of dozens upon dozens where the child was actually harmed or in realistic danger of imminent harm. I view them, frequently, as baby snatchers. I am also a firm believer in the constitution right to privacy which extends to a parent's right to parent as the parent sees fit.

All that being said, the problem with this case is a lack of a coherent, cohesive explanation of why the child should NOT have treatment by the parents. The religion? Specifically denied that one. The side effects? Nope - just thinks the other treatments will be more effective (the judge had tests done to make sure that the other treatment that they were ALLOWED to pursue for the last three months actually wasn't effective). Quality of life vs. treatment? Nope. They didn't argue that.

It's weird. They never came up with a theory of their case.

Mama Theresa said...

like a few others, i was initially on the parents side. I dont beleive the government should have the right to decide medical treatment for me or my children - ever. that is, under normal circumstances. those parents? yeah, not too normal.

Kat said...

My great aunt and uncle refused a much needed blood transfusion for their son in the late 1940's, because of a conflict with their religion. The child ended up dying, and I've never been able to think much of them since hearing the story. I understand that sometimes we take things too far (Octo-mom anyone?), but it stands to reason that if you believe in a good and kind God, that this same God might be responsible for the knowledge and insight that it takes to advance medicine, right? Isn't it possible that our ability to develop treatments and medications is in some way rooted in an almighty Creator, if you believe in such a thing?

All I know is that if my child was sick, I'd be looking for the route with the greatest track record for success. Watching a child suffer seems fairly ungodly to me.

Mooshki said...

Wow. My mom is a child psychologist for a county clinic, and she usually only sees CPS get involved when there is REALLY bad abuse. I'm sure they differ from place to place, but without CPS there would be a lot of dead or destroyed kids.

nancer said...

i'm with ice angel.

and i'm also not in favor of disbanding CPS. overworked, understaffed, yes, but someone has to look out for the welfare of children when the parents don't or won't or can't.

jax said...

Hercules, my friend, your option throws out the baby with the bathwater, so to speak.

no flames here, only thoughtful discussion. ;o)

CPS has A LOT of problems, yes, but having no advocates for people without the knowledge or wordpower to express their pain won't solve it either.

in short, the mom is a selfish see you next tuesday who will regret this for the rest of her life. IMO...'course! lol.

Majik said...

Very interesting ethical issue...no right answer, either.

I'm also not a fan of the gov't being able to force anyone to do anything. Especially in a situation like this--so horribly doubled edged.

What I see is a slow erosion of personal rights; first it's a child who is mandated to chemo, but what if the next case is a mom who's forced to have chemo because she has 4 kids? Granted, it is a bit of a leap, but not as far as you might think.

Don't get me wrong--I don't necessarily think the parents are making the right decision...but when the government steps in, personal rights and freedoms are compromised and everyone becomes a target.

Ms Cool said...

Some dunce in Wisconsin was convicted today of killing her diabetic daughter. She and a bunch of idiots surrounded the 11-year-old girl and prayed for her instead of getting medical help. She let her die as a "test of faith." Fluids and insulin would have saved the poor girl.

Interestingly, earlier in the week the mother needed medical attention during the trial. Wonder why she didn't pray for that help instead.

Kara said...

Mooshki-

I have had cases where CPS took the kids and placed them in a foster home because dad did meth. Not in the house. Not around the kids. And without mom's knowledge. The ARRESTING OFFICERS testified for MOM. That she was clueless. That there were no drugs in the house. That the kids were never around drugs. That mom was not a drug user. Yet the kids sat in foster care for months.

I just wish it meant that our parents were doing so much better out here that CPS had nothing better to do.

jax said...

so Kara, when you dropping your kids off at the meth house? lol.

no offence, but sometimes you gotta look at the situation and think: i don't give a shit what really transpired,would i allow my kids there?

would you date OJ? would you hire Michael Jackson to babysit?

but i'm a barren shrew, so who knows. (shrug)

Judi said...

Like Jax wrote, his disease is curable. His mom is endangering his life not getting him the help he needs.

ardleigh said...

When the child is a minor and has learning diabilities and is only getting info from his parents then the state needs to step in and act in the best interest of the child.

This whole case is sad and tragic and I hope he gets his miracle.

ahdaboom said...

We don't really know their whole story. But, if the child has a serious condition/disablilty, where quality of life will be low, he may be DNR.

Living well, being fully functional, intelligent is one thing. Being seriously impaired, hurting constantly, suffering through chemo to continue a compromised/low quality of life is something else.

Most of you seem to value "life" above all else. Quality of life is more important to people when they get to the end. Losing a child who is already "gone" or really suffering is a relief. There are things worse than death. Seeing your child in unending agony is one of those things.

Pandora said...

It takes a village to raise a child.

Especially when the parents are inept idiots.

Wil said...

I wish I could find what I posted the other day on the Star Tribune article on this story.. but here is what I know about the disease he has and a summary of the monster post I posted there .. Wednesday??

In 1976, my Aunt Jane was diagnosed with this scourge at the Mayo Clinic. Jane had just graduated from high school - Viz .. for my Twin Cities compadres.. she had a lump in her neck and hadn't been feeling good for awhile. She went down there the day after graduation - which if memory serves - was May 28th. She died on October 23. That is how quickly this disease untreated or treated too late kills.

From what I understand, this child does not have a clear indication how serious this is for several reasons.. two major ones being his parents aren't the most stable people in the work and he has severe learning disabilities that probably effect his ability to comprehend what is wrong and that he may well die.

I think Dad is a sack and lying about the whereabouts of the child and the Mother. I think Brown County's child protection services were naive as hell not to have had some form of surveillance on that farm given how serious this is and knowing the chances were very good the mother would run if forced.

In the long run .. given the state of the disease per the recent tests - the ones the judge saw that made him force this chemo decision - I would say we are looking at maybe a few weeks before the point becomes moot. The tumor in his neck is advancing well beyond the size it was when they stopped chemo after treatment one is .. what .. February?? The blood tests apparently showed that the cancer may well have spread - that is what happened with Jane. At that point, chemo and radiation just delay the inevitable.

And lastly, I do recall one theme that really got me in the gut when I wrote my post in the Star Tribune. This person that these folks are listening to .. he is pissing on the graves of people like my Aunt who braved horrendous treatments knowing they would not make it, but if what they were given might one day cure the disease .. which they did .. they would suffer to save those to come after. Personally, I get really angry at people like this shaman ass and his bullshit about being able to cure cancer with - well what ever the fuck he proposes instead of chemo and radiation. It makes my blood boil, frankly.

I really hope they find Daniel and are able to save him with the proper treatment. And I hope they toss Mom in Shakopee .. where Minnesota's only Women's prison is .. to rot. However, I fear when they find them .. it will be too late. I hope I am very very wrong.

I guess if these folks ever would have seen this disease kill .. they would never take a chance like this. I have had a rough life and lost loved ones and had a hell of a time health-wise myself .. but I would never give that up for the world. When things happen now .. there is no denial, no delay to let it sink in before acting .. now it is okay .. what's the worst that can happen and how can this be treated .. and are there any experimental cures we can try. Too bad Daniel doesn't have that kind of support.

Okay .. sorry about the TMI .. just been thinking a lot about this situation lately. It's tragic and brings back a lot of painful memories of a 10 year old watching her idol - I totally idolized Janie - slowly wither and die.

whole_lotto _luv said...

I just don't know what to think about this kid's parents. I don't know anyone who has lost a child, who has had to live every day over weeks and months and years, who wouldn't have grasped at straws for any hope of saving that child, who wouldn't give their own life for just another day for that child.

The parents must be stupid. However, isn't it possible that the parents just did not understand, never asked the right questions, and the doctor never volunteered much information? Did the parents expect a cure with the first round of chemo, and thus consider conventional medicine a failure? Did Danny tell his parents he would rather die than go through more chemo?

While I applaud people like Wil's aunt for undergoing treatment for the sake of medical progress benefitting others, if the parents think treatment is futile for their son, would it be right for them to force a child to take it for the benefit of others?

Did the family suddenly develop a faith in a religion that dictates alternative remedies? I don't know, but it's not impossible. Personally, I went from a fervently praying christian to a complete and utter atheist within less than 72 hours when a crisis occurred in my life. I can't knock them if they did change religions.

I wish I had faith in the doctor, or the judge, or the parents. I have no idea who knows what for certain, and who really cares about this boy.

GoddessNow said...

These are some of the most intelligent posts I have read on a matter so polarizing as this. Thanks.

bionic bunny! said...

w-l-luv made the one statement that makes me a tiny bit unsure about this case, something i've been thinking about, too.
at age 13, the boy could certainly have said he'd rather die than go through the effects of the chemo anymore. and if he does have some brain impairment, how do the doctors explain to him how important the treatment is? people react differently to chemo, and he could believe the side effects are actually making him die right now.

BUT, the mother is wrong to take him and run. she could have allowed the boy to plead his own case.
and if she is not mentally competent to make this decision, then the doctors BY LAW have to go to court. it IS child abuse to let a child die, when treatment can save his life.
yes, a very tricky situation.