Jim Mone/AP
Daniel Hauser

Parents Agree to Chemotherapy for Teen With Hodgkin's Disease

May 27, 2009 10:30 AM
by Emily Coakley
Daniel Hauser, who fled the state after a court ordered him to receive chemotherapy, is back home and scheduled to resume treatment today.

Tests Show Tumor Has Grown

During a court hearing Tuesday afternoon, Colleen and Anthony Hauser said they believe their son needs chemotherapy, though they had previously resisted. Minnesota Public Radio reported that the couple didn't explain why they feel differently now.

Though the Brown County district attorney wanted Daniel Hauser, 13, to be in the state's care, Circuit Court Judge John Rodenberg said he should be with his family now. Despite the fact Colleen and Daniel fled to California to escape Daniel's chemotherapy treatment, Rodenberg said the family has "a clean slate in his courtroom," MPR reported.

Social services officials told Rodenberg they were worried that after Daniel's next round of chemotherapy the family would refuse treatment again.

Colleen and Daniel Hauser returned to Minnesota over Memorial Day weekend. The family, according to ABC News, hired a Las Vegas-based production company to film Daniel's return. A four-minute clip made available to the media shows an interview with Colleen and Daniel, along with pictures of them aboard a chartered jet, and some of his siblings at the family farm.

In the clip, Colleen Hauser talked about the devastating effect one chemotherapy treatment had on Daniel, and said her son had planned to run away.

According to MPR, the owner of Asgaard Media doesn't have a "contract or agreement to tell the Hauser's story or profit off of it," and that he's been assisting the Hausers "because it's the right thing to do."

Background: Flight after ruling

After a court ruled that Hauser's parents had "medically neglected" him, and ordered him to seek treatment, Daniel got a chest X-ray, and then left Minnesota on May 18 with his mother. His father told police and reporters he believed his wife and son had left the country, but didn't know where they went. Minnesota authorities issued a warrant for Colleen Hauser and alerted law enforcement across the country.

Doctors have said that Hauser’s chances of surviving Hodgkin’s disease without chemotherapy are slim. Daniel’s mother said 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 has been treating his Hodgkin’s disease with a diet his mother researched on the Internet and talked about with experts. She had said he was 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.

Qwidget is loading...

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 neighboring Wisconsin last week, Leilani Neumann was found guilty of second-degree reckless homicide in the death of her daughter, Kara, according to the Wausau Daily Herald. Neumann believed that disease was caused by sin, and could only be healed through prayer. Kara, 11, died of diabetes in March 2008, and the state argued that she could have been saved with proper medical treatment. Leilani Neumann's husband, Dale, faces the same charges, and his trial is scheduled to start this summer.

She faces up to 25 years in prison, but her attorney plans to appeal, according to the Daily Herald.

Last year, 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 at the time. “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.

Most Recent Beyond The Headlines