Below The Beltway

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Judge Rules Minnesota Teen Must Undergo Chemotherapy

by @ 4:12 pm on May 15, 2009. Filed under Individual Liberty, Privacy

Earlier today I wrote about the case of Daniel Hauser, a 13 year old Minnesota boy whose parents were refusing to submit him for chemotherapy to treat his Hogdkins disease. As I noted at the time, a decision in the case was imminent.

Well, earlier today, a state court Judge ruled that Daniel must undergo the chemotherapy treatment:

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota judge has ruled that a 13-year-old boy with a highly treatable form of cancer must seek conventional medical treatment over his parents’ objections.

In a 58-page ruling Friday, Brown County District Judge John Rodenberg found that Daniel Hauser has been “medically neglected” and is in need of child protection services.

Rodenberg said Daniel will stay in the custody of his parents, but Colleen and Anthony Hauser have until May 19 to get an updated chest X-ray for their son and select an oncologist

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.”

As I said earlier, my default position here is that parents and their children should have the right to make this decision on their own free of state inference. However, the fact that Daniel is young compared to someone like Abraham Cherrix makes me less comfortable with the idea that he is fully aware of the implications of not treating his disease, and I’m not among those people who believe that parents always act in the best interests of their children. So, I find myself disturbed by this decision, but not nearly as outraged as I was in the Cherrix case.

One Response to “Judge Rules Minnesota Teen Must Undergo Chemotherapy”

  1. Patricia says:

    As a cancer survivor who underwent precautionary chemo and
    a person who has numerous relatives who have had and presently have cancer, I want to say that I know of two
    cases personally where extreme tumors were shrunk by
    chemotherapy and yes, the side effects of the chemo can be
    very extreme, but one has to make the decision as to what
    the options are;
    on the other hand, for a fact, in the state of Pennsylvania,
    and this may be a Federal law, I am not sure, a patient has
    the right to refuse treatment and refuse medications.
    Of course, this is not something that doctors will tell
    you. This family needs to be certain that their son’s rights
    are respected.
    And in my opinion, the doctor and oncologist treating the
    patient, are of the utmost importance, even more so than
    the facility itself.
    Good luck and best wishes to this family.

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