Mankato Free Press, Dan Linehan/AP
Colleen Hauser comforts her 13-year-old
son Daniel during a press conference in
New Ulm, Minnesota.

Judge Rules Minnesota Boy Must Get Cancer Treatment

May 18, 2009 06:00 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
A family who wants to treat their teenage son's Hodgkin's disease with alternative treatments must get him chemotherapy.

Court Rules Against Family

Colleen and Anthony Hauser have until tomorrow to select a doctor and get a chest x-ray for their 13-year-old son Daniel, a judge has ruled.

Judge John Rodenberg said Daniel has been "medically neglected," because after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma he had just one of the six recommended chemotherapy treatments, The Associated Press reported. He will remain in his parent's custody, though.

Philip Elbert, the Hauser's attorney, said the ruling "marginalizes" parents' decisions for their kids. "It really affirms the role that big government is better at making our decisions for us," he told the AP.

According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Daniel's chances of survival with treatment are up to 90 percent with raditation and chemotherapy.

Background: Parents refused treatment

Doctors say 13-year-old Daniel Hauser’s chances of surviving Hodgkin’s disease without chemotherapy are very slim, but his mother told the court last week that they would not do what they are ordered.

Daniel’s mother says conventional treatments conflict with their beliefs as members of the Nemenhah American Indian religious group, and that they would rather he use natural remedies instead. His family is treating his Hodgkin’s disease with a diet his mother researched on the Internet and talked about with experts. She said he is growing “better and better every day” as a result.

Dr. Bruce Bostrom of Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minneapolis was Daniel's oncologist, and he reported the family to authorities when Daniel stopped chemotherapy. Bostrom told the court that Daniel was led to believe that it was the chemotherapy making him sick, when it's the Hodgkin's.

X-rays show that Daniel’s tumor has grown, The Mankato Free Press reported, but his family believes the results are inaccurate.

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Related Topic: Other parents and children who refused care

Other cases of youngsters and parents asserting their rights to refuse medical care have cropped up around the country and internationally in recent months.

In 2008, a British Court permitted Hannah Jones, a terminally ill teenager, to refuse a heart transplant. Diagnosed with leukemia at age 4, the girl spent much of her life undergoing medical treatments; her heart was weakened by medication she took to fight an infection.

Hannah’s parents were told at one point that their daughter could be removed from their home if they didn’t bring her in for the transplant.

“I’ve been in hospital too much. I’ve had too much trauma,” Hannah stated. “There’s not a month or year that goes by where I have not had medical treatment. I didn’t want to go through any more operations. I didn’t want this and it’s not my choice to have it.”

In Oregon, another teen died of a treatable urinary tract condition after he refused medical help. Neil Beagley and his family, members of the Oregon City Followers of Christ, believed that prayer, not medical treatment, would be the best way to cure his illness.

A few months prior, Beagley’s niece, 15-month-old Ava Worthington, died of an untreated bronchial infection, and her parents were charged with manslaughter. At the time, Oregon law stated that children over age 14 could make their own decisions about medical care. Beagley was 16, so his parents did not face charges.

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