Who should decide?

chemoI was wondering if you’ve all heard of Daniel Hauser, a 13-year-old boy with Hodgkin’s lymphoma?  He’s from Sleepy Eye Minnesota so we’ve been hearing about it on the news now for days.  Doctors testified in court last week that Daniel could have a 90 percent chance of being cured through chemotherapy and radiation. But they said there’s a 95 percent chance of death if the family decides to forgo the treatment.

In written final arguments filed Tuesday, Brown County Attorney James Olson asked the judge to order chemotherapy for the boy, who he says isn’t mature enough to make his own medical decisions. Olson wrote that Daniel has a learning disability and cannot read, and he cited testimony from doctors who said it doesn’t appear the boy understands the severity of his diagnosis.

It’s also been talked about that he had an aunt who died after chemo and the family blames the chemo for her death.  This happened when this boy was 5.

I’m not about to judge anyone in a situation like this.  I’m 99% sure what I’d do.  First I’d plead to God and promise anything in the world for an answer and to please save my boy.  But we are all different and when scared, we may not be thinking right.  Do you think a 13 year old with a learning disability and who cannot read is capable of making a decision like this?  Or do you think it’s strictly up to the parents when things like this happen?

I hate giving the government any more say in my life than they have now but what is the answer here?  At what age is a child no longer a child or at what time should a child be able to make a choice with the magnitude of death as a repercussion?  The doctors involved here do feel this boy WILL die without the chemo and radiation.

What do you think?

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26 Responses to Who should decide?

  1. javajunkee says:

    that’s a hard one. I have to think it’s the parents decision. If we allow the government in for this one they will be in for everything. Sad as it may be there are people who do not trust drugs and or doctors and that’s when they put it in God’s hands. I just am real leary of letting the government invade our decision making as parents.
    The doctors as far as I’m concerned are in it for the money. The boy may very well die with the drugs and what they’ve done is racked up a nice big bill for the parents. If he has other health issues he’s already fighting an uphill battle. I’m not cold hearted I just look at things like that. chemo shocks the hell out of healthy bodies let alone those that have other issues on top of it. 😦 Very very sad.

  2. mssc54 says:

    Thirteen year olds can not be licensed to drive, vote, drink alcohol, enter into ANY legal agreements so why are they even talking about letting him make a decision on what can kill him or save his life?

  3. pammy wammy says:

    Thats a hard one.I dont believe they should force anyone to do something they dont want.Its hard enough for a family to go threw something like that to begin with.My heart goes out to the parents.

  4. Doraz says:

    For me, the “child” is 13 years old.
    At that age, they need guidance.
    The legal guardian should be intelligent enough to make the right decision.
    If they were not, intervention is needed…for the well-being of the “child,”

  5. starlaschat says:

    Very sad indeed. I hope the best decision is made for the child. I would hope that the parents would make the best decision for the child as they are his caregivers. Kids with Cancer so unfair and so Sad.

  6. Just a Mom says:

    I would say it is up to the parents. They are his legal guardians and they are the ones with the decision. I think in matters like this the government should stay out completly.

  7. Sue says:

    This is a sucky situation. I do think it’s the parents’ resposibility to make a decision for a 13 year old, but in this case, it also sounds like the 13 year old has his own decision. His parents are in a rough spot either way. My son wants/doesn’t want xyz done, do I as a parent listen to my childs wish, do I try and talk them out of it if it’s not what I believe, do I do what I want to do and then get backlash for it.

    I don’t think the government has any business in our medical decisions. If they decide that not giving your child chemo is against the law b/c they might die without it, what will they go after next? There are too many what if’s and no one knows for sure what will happen to this boy.

    • Sue says:

      oops…should be responsibility!

      • javajunkee says:

        YES totally agree. I think the government is stepping in way too much now as it is. There are places government doesn’t need to be and this is one of them.
        I doubt the government is going to be there if the child dies anyhow and as sad as it is to me that’s going to be the case. He has too many cards stacked up against him. And I doubt the government will foot the astronomical bill the parents will be stuck with all in the name of research. I don’t trust the government further than they can be thrown. JUST MY OPINION 🙂

  8. Oh man, that’s a tough situation… I’m confused though – is it the parents who aren’t agreeing to chemotherapy or the boy? Either way, in a case like this it seems to me that saving a life is most important.
    However, as you say, this raises extremely difficult moral questions and legal ones as well – is the state allowed to order a boy to undergo a very serious and difficult method of treatment in order to cure him if it is against his will? It’s a tricky question, and there are arguments to be said for both sides.

  9. javajunkee says:

    I would think if we want a parent being swayed in a different thought process it should come from loving friends and family or those that have been through it. Not the medical people who not all but some are in it for money and research (as they were for my dad) and certainly not the government. HELL NO on the government!

  10. nikki says:

    WOW! I do not want anyone other than myself and Jason making those decisions. I went back to read this but I can’t find any where it says what the parents think. Hmm?? If Bailey were 13 and this was happening to him and he didn’t want to to do it, I’m sorry this may sound harsh but too damn bad! I am his parent, I AM the adult, I know what’s best for him and I have to ability to do research and know what’s going on. I do what I have to do at any and all costs to assure his life. What I don’t understand is they say if he does do the radiation and chemo that there is a 90% chance of being cured, but if he doesn’t there is a 95% chance of death???? I’m not understanding that I guess.

    • Laura (LS) says:

      The percentages are standing alone, and have nothing to do with one another.

      He has a 90% chance of surviving, if he takes the chemo.

      If he does not take the chemo (does nothing), he has a 95% chance of dying.

      • Sue says:

        Think of it this way…

        if he has chemo, his chance of survival is 90%

        if he does nothing, his chance of survival is 5%

        I suppose it doesn’t add up b/c they always account for a marginal error.

  11. javajunkee says:

    that’s “new math” nikki 😦

    actually I do not think there is more than a 50/50 chance.

  12. Laura (LS) says:

    This is a truly hard question. On one hand, I’m thinking, “what the hell is wrong with you people? Nausea and headaches in the short term, 90% survival rate and a good long life in the long term. What’s the problem? SAVE YOUR KID!”

    But on the other hand, I hear what that lawyer is saying…. “A parent’s rights only extend as far as the State wishes to allow them to extend.” That’s scary stuff right there. That’s Big Brother, stepping in, because the Government knows better, and they’re using the same, old argument, “It’s for the children.”

    Perhaps I missed it, but I saw no evidence that this child had a learning disability or mental difficulty of any kind. So I think, as bad as it sounds, I would have to take the parent’s side – even though I think they’re making an extremely poor, and ill-thought-out decision. In situations like this, I’m always reminded of that story about the guy facing the flood from the roof of his house.

    He screams out, “God, help me!!”

    Meanwhile, a guy in a canoe comes up, “hey, buddy, get in!”

    “No,” he says. “God will save me.” The canoe paddles away, and the man screams, “Please, God I’m praying. Help me!”

    A guy in a rowboat comes up, and the man again, refuses, saying that God will help him. The rowboat roars away, and the man pleads. “GOD!!! I’m on my knees!! Help me!!”

    The National Guard shows up in a helicopter and lowers a rope. “Grab on!” they yell.

    The guy refuses again, believing that God will help him.

    The chopper flies off, the flood waters rise, and the man prays once more, “God! Where are you? I beseech you, HELP ME!!!”

    And God’s voice booms from the Heavens: “I sent you a canoe, a rowboat, and a helicopter. What more do you want?”

    I think the situation is the same. We all believe that our God is going to save us, but we’re so busy looking for His help, that we are blind to it when it comes.

    God gave the doctors their talent. Perhaps those folks ought to consider that.

    • Sue says:

      “I think the situation is the same. We all believe that our God is going to save us, but we’re so busy looking for His help, that we are blind to it when it comes.

      God gave the doctors their talent. Perhaps those folks ought to consider that.”

      You hit the nail on the head Laura.

      • mssc54 says:

        It is my opinion that people who abandon ANY form of medical treatment too say that God will heal them are being very presumptious of God.

        Holy Scripture says (in various places) “all were healed”, “some were healed”, “He could do no good works.”

  13. Gary says:

    I don’t think a 13 year old with a learning disability and who cannot read is capable of making a decision like this. This should be left up to the childs parents or legal guardian and not to the government.

  14. JQ says:

    Aw, this is just sad. This little boy is in no way capable of making this huge of a decision. I have twin 13 year olds, and I cannot imagine getting this kind of bad news, but I can also never imagine saying, “Ok, so what do you want to do?” – there is no question to me that I’d do whatever I could to get them cured! If I really questioned the percentage of recovery w/ chemo vs. w/out- I’d get a second, and maybe a 3rd opinion. Doing nothing is not an option. Wow, intriguing questions as usual.

    When will my kids have the right to make their own medical decisions? When they are adults. When they are on their own and adults; otherwise I’m right there….

  15. SKL says:

    I’d have to agree that it doesn’t sound like the boy can make his own decision here. Even an exceptionally intelligent and mature 13-year-old would have to go some to convince me on that point.

    But I do feel the parents should be the ones deciding this, unless there is evidence (other than this decision itself) that they haven’t historically acted in the child’s best interest. For example, if there is a history of abuse / neglect overall, that would make a difference.

    I don’t know a lot about this disease, but I know a lot of kids have been killed or placed very near death by chemo, by the procedures and drugs used to combat the side effects of chemo, by the infections caused by the weakened immunity that chemo creates, etc. I wonder if the 90% / 95% statistics touted by the doctors take into account all of these “side” considerations and whether they consider a child “alive” but with permanent brain damage, or a child whose death was indirectly caused by the treatment though they were “cancer-free” at death. Honestly, due to the bias toward treatment that most US doctors have, I can understand the family’s doubts.

    And it’s also true that people do survive cancer without chemo – whether because it was misdiagnosed, or because of their biological make-up, alternative medicine, or a miracle, who can say? It’s not impossible for the boy to live a long and meaningful life without chemo.

    I have family members who were on chemo and refused to continue it out of fear that the chemo itself was killing them. My mom’s gums and fingers became black and her teeth started falling out, besides the “expected” results of her being unable to eat, in constant pain, etc. Chemo is poison, plain and simple.

    I do not judge a family who does choose chemo, but it is not a light decision. I have seen and read too much to just go by the numbers.

    All I can do is pray for people who have this decision to make. What a horrible choice.

  16. javajunkee says:

    that’s how I feel SKL… it’s just such a horrible thing to try and weigh the factors. I’ve watched my sister beat cancer 2 times and both times she had chemo and radiation. I also watched my dad and that sisters husband die while receiving chemo and radiation.
    I’ve also watched friends with little kids go through the same thing. And yes a 2 year old who you want to pray survives and gets better is only having her life prolonged by a few months..a few months that she spends throwing up and losing her hair etc. That little girl died too.

    Then I look at the other side. How would you tell that 13 year old that you were choosing not to proceed with treatment? My God that would have to be one of the hardest things ever to deal with. I just would say that the only thing I know for sure on this question is that I would NOT want the government in on it at all.

  17. Mose Leaga says:

    I am a physician and I side with Daniel Hauser and his decision. Having been trained & practicing in allopathic medicine & surgery for over 10 years (emergency medicine) I have experienced how the “art of healing” has been diverted to the “art of making money”. And actually it was by design by the Rockefeller Foundation when it introduced allopathic healing back in 1912. In terms of the treatment, Chemo & radiation are cancer causing themselves and will kill. The concept behind the treatment is to compete with the cancer hoping that it will kill the cancer first before it (chemo & radiation) kills the patient. Unfortunately that is not always the case, meaning the treatment kills the patient first most of the time. Studies were done to see which of the two kills first and the end result is – it is the treatment that has killed more than the cancer. And that is the honest truth. The crime is, none of these studies are available for the public & healthcare providers (doctors) to have access to. Cancer patients live longer with cancer then they do with chemo & radiation. The suppression of information is not conspiratorial. It has to do with protecting jobs & career. There are more people making BIG money with the treatment of cancer then there are cancer patients. Daniel’s choice of using alternative choices (diet, herbs, environment, etc.) will do him better than what the oncologist’s are suggesting. It is also what leading scientists in the field of cellular biology researches are realizing. You change the environment, you change cell behavior. The leading research in biochemistry are also finding that cells becomes dysfunctional (cancer or any pathology) when they are either deficient in something (nutrients) or overwhelmed with toxins (our toxic environment). By the way chemo drugs are toxins.

  18. I say the parents are idiots if they don’t have the boy go through chemo. Having said that, I understand their fear based on their experience. If the court and doctors spell out the pros and cons, provide them hard facts, and they still refuse the chemo, the boy will die.

    End of story.

    It’s their decision, yes, but it’s not rocket science. If it’s God’s Will, then let it be done. I can’t imagine God would genuinely want the boy to not have a chance, though.

  19. Mose Leaga says:

    I am not surprised the judge favored the medical opinion. There is big money behind the decision and it would open up a massive lean towards choosng the alternative choice by many people – which will reveal how bogus chemo & radiation treatment are. As a culture as a whole, I think we owe it to the Native Americans justice way over due. Americans of African decents complains of injustice, but there’s is NO COMPARISON to what was done to the Native Americans – and are still doing. As a father I would take the case to the highest court. As a physician I will decline chemo & radiation treatment if it was my son. If we have to leave the country, we will. Do your research people, it is your constitutional duty as a free society. Otherwise, we’ve lost our country to big government controlled by corporate (fascist) power. In a way, we have.

  20. Pingback: Update on Daniel Hauser written by Laura « Joy,Nikki & Sue…sitting down to chat. Pull up a chair and join us.

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