Monday, June 15, 2009

It’s My Kid and I Should Be Able to Say No to His Treatment!

You’ve probably read the story about the Wisconsin mom who took her 13-year-old son and fled when a doctor wanted to do a second round of chemo on the boy. According to a story on Yahoo News, the boy has Hodgkins lymphoma, a form of cancer. But the teen and his parents rejected chemo after the first treatment, with the boy's mother saying that putting toxic substances in the body violates the family's religious convictions.

So what did the doctor do? Got the court involved, and suddenly the parents no longer had custody. That's when all hell broke loose. Mom and son fled, and a federal arrest warrant was issued on her. It turned into an international manhunt with Interpol being notified, and U.S. Marshals being deployed to Mexico to search for them. And the mother's crime was merely to say “No thank you” to a treatment prescribed by Daniel’s doctor!

Hellooooo? Is this the United States of America?

This has bothered me for weeks. Sure, if a child is being neglected, beaten, starved, molested, in the parents’ care, there is a need for intervention. But for chemotherapy? Seriously?

I’m sensitive about this because I watched with trepidation as my mom underwent chemo and radiation after her cancer had been successfully removed (stage 0 - uterine) because the oncologist said that it was "protocol" as a preventative measure.....except that it killed her. What, exactly, were they preventing? Her from reaching old age?

So you can understand that this story really gets my goat. The boy had undergone chemo, suffered badly, and said he never wanted to go through it again. What’s more, the chemo didn’t work, so the oncologist, in his infinite wisdom, decided he should have more. Excuse me, but it didn’t keep the cancer from returning the first time, and now that his immune system has been wiped out, why would it work now? I know, there are cases where it has..... but shouldn’t the parents be allowed to decide if they want to take that risk? Shouldn’t they?

This breaks my heart: After undergoing the second round of chemo on May 28, a family spokesman stated: "Danny has had a horrible day, he's felt terrible all day long. He's not happy. The doctor changed the number of chemotherapy drugs in the protocol submitted to the court.

Danny is not tolerating the drugs well and has been vomiting all day. He is understandably angry and depressed about being forced to go through the ravages of chemotherapy again."

His treating physician, Dr. Richards, has recommended at least five cycles of chemotherapy followed by radiation, adding that “the goal will be to include alternative therapies in which the family is interested, as long as there is not data to suggest that a particular danger exists with any alternative medicine.”

Wait. Alternative medicine “might” have dangers? Considering the amount of data detailing the severe dangers that exist with chemo and radiation, is he kidding?

Did you know that 75 percent of doctors say they’d refuse chemotherapy if they were diagnosed with cancer due to its ineffectiveness and its devastating side effects? You can read this startling report by an oncologist here:

So if they can refuse it, why can’t that poor mom who only wants to protect her child? Why? I hope to God the boy’s treatment will work this time, because who knows what the court and the oncologist will decide he will need next.... and the parents will have to stand helplessly by and watch their child suffer.

If it were you, what would you do? I told my husband that if my child were forced to have something that I feared would poison her, I’d take her and flee, too. Trouble is, to where? With Interpol searching? U.S. Marshalls on the trail? Where could we go?

America: The land of the free? I don’t think so.