FF: Holistically Stupid

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I know this topic will be controversial, but that’s OK. A little debate and controversy is good to stir things up from time to time. But you know what isn’t good? Debating parental rights vs. the life and death of a child while said child dies from Cancer.

That’s right, I’m sure you’ve all heard the story about Daniel Hauser and his mother Colleen. Daniel is a 13-year-old boy from Minnesota who has Hodgkins’ lymphoma. Even though this is a highly curable form of cancer with a 90 percent success rate if treated with chemotherapy, Daniel’s parents are against “poisoning” their son with chemo and instead have opted for holistic remedies inspired by Native American Indians. Colleen recently took off with her sick son after a court intervened and ordered her to get her son the chemo his body needs to successfully fight the Cancer.

And now the debate is on and the question is should the state have the authority to tell parents how to care for their kids? Furthermore, should these parents be criminally charged for neglect if they continue to watch their child die simply because they don’t believe in the proven treatment.

In my opinion, these parents are idiots and they should be held responsible should any further harm come to their son. Look, if the mother or father doesn’t believe in chemo and wants to use voo doo or salamander excrement to fight cancer, fine. They are adults and that is their choice. But that’s not the case here.

This is a child we’re talking about. A 13-year-old boy who is not capable of making this kind of decision on his own. And if the parents are so idiotic that they’d let their child die just to assert their “parental rights” and say F You to the authorities, then the state should ABSOLUTELY be able to step in and do the right thing.

Doctors said Hodgkins has a 90 percent cure rate in children treated with chemotherapy and radiation, but the survival rate drops to 5 percent without those treatments. Seriously, what more do you need to know? Chemotherapy = 90 percent success rate and a bright future. No chemotherapy = probable death at a tragically young age. If the Hausers were armed with that knowledge and yet they still chose to ignore it, then they are killing their son. I know that’s harsh, but it’s reality.

And spare me the argument about individual rights. I’m all about freedom and our rights. But if that kid was bleeding to death and the parents refused to take him to the hospital for treatment, the parents would be arrested to face criminal charges. How is this any different? The child is dying from cancer and the parents refuse to give him a treatment with a 90 percent success rate. That’s text book child endangerment. And, it’s just stupid.

What kind of parent wouldn’t move heaven and earth to save their kid? I don’t believe in God, but if someone proved God’s existence and science showed us that prayer could cure a disease that Will had, I would give up all my personal beliefs in a heart beat if it meant saving him. You do what’s best for your kid. Period. End of story. And these parents failed in that capacity, so the state had to do it for them.

Good for the state, and shame on Colleen Hauser.

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18 thoughts on “FF: Holistically Stupid

  1. I am actually torn on this one. For ME the choice would be obvious but I believe in science. Most of the time, I play the odds. However I also have the experience of a grandmother who had cancer and chemo didn’t help. The doctors said she had less than 3 months to live (that was 11 years ago!) and she turned to alternative medicine. So… I don’t know. Anything can happen, you just never know.

  2. I don’t know what I’d do if my child was diagnosed with cancer. I can’t say that my actions would be clear and focused. I think in the end I’d probably go to the best places I could find and treat the cancer aggressively.

    But I think i would explore alternative methods too. Who wants to watch their child go through chemo?

    I hope the chemo works for this child.

  3. I may sound harsh here but I don’t see how anyone can be torn on this issue. If the success rate from Chemo was low and they choose to go a different way then maybe, but they are litterally giving their child an 85% less chance of living because they don’t want to give up their pride. I am not a parent, so I can not speak about this as passionately as you, but I know I would do ANYTHING to save my child when I do have one. And I too have seen chemo fail on my own father, but that does not mean it will fail on everyone. They are being selfish and I believe that state had every right to step in. If they don’t want to help their son live, then someone else has to. Simple as that.

  4. To me this issue is no different than the parent that neglects their child and doesn’t feed them, ultimately resulting in the state taking them away from the ‘parent’. I’ll respect beliefs up to a certain point, but in this day and age of modern medicine there is no excuse for this. For me the decision isn’t even one. As painful as it would be for me to have to subject my son to the treatment, I know the end game and I know the odds. The only decision to make is when to start the treatment and where. Also, my wife is a health care professional, so, there would be no ambiguity for us. Now, if I had some belief that these holistic methods had some benefit, then I would see no issue in doing them in conjunction with one another. But to turn a blind (perhaps ignorant?) eye to what man has accomplished in the treatment of disease is ludicrous and reckless, especially when it isn’t you who is ill.

  5. Parents should have the right to raise their child as they see fit so long as it doesn’t cause harm to the child. When their choices start affecting the life of the child, and there are way to heal the child or at least extend their life, it should be done regardless.

    What parent wants to see their child die while being told that the could save their child by going to a fucking hospital>

  6. I don’t usually like to fight the arguement that it’s part of their religion. That was the arguement the parents were useing UNTIL the leader of their group publically said that they should come back and face treatment. Can’t hide behind that wall anymore.

    Personally, anything that would help my son I would do it. Trying to take is temperature isn’t pleasent, and he hates it, but it’s for the best. Putting bactine on a cut hurts like hell, and makes him cry, but I do it so he doesn’t get an infection. IT’S THE SAME THING.

  7. And then there’s little ol’ me being a dissenter. We were ridiculed for planning a home birth with a midwife, and we still ended up going to the hospital. Bea is fine. When we get pregnant with the second, we’ll again plan a home birth.

    My mother has suffered from various illnesses for years and the western meds have just made things worse. She’s not trying a path of hollistic medicine. Have a similar story with my dad almost dying 7 years ago and UCLA medical center taking him off all his meds and starting clean.

    I understand the success is high for treating this kind of cancer, but I would stand by the parents and this specific decision and circumstance.

    They’re not idiots for choosing not to poison their child. I had a best friend in college die from chemo complications, not the cancer it was supposed to kill.

  8. Kevin,

    I actually agree with the examples you listed. Those are consenting adults who should be free to make their own decisions. However, in this case it’s a child. Completely different situation.

    And I understand chemotherapy is not a walk in the park. I haven’t had cancer, but friends and family have and sometimes the side effects are just as bad, if not worse, than the disease. But in this particular case, chemo is a godsend for this specific type of cancer. You say they’re “poisoning” their child with chemo, but they’re KILLING their child without it. Isn’t that worse? I’d say so.

  9. Guess it depends on peoples beliefs. If BOTH parents believe they are going against their fundamental beliefs by getting chemo and the child was raised with the same beliefs then it’s not really our place to decide his fate. Frankly, if it’s religion based then I applaud them for sticking by “Gods Will”. I have more respect for someone that can stand by that edict through death than I do for people who say it only when it’s convenient for them or they lack an explanation for something.

    Otherwise the parents should be deemed mentally unfit to be parents and should have custody taken away from them.

    I try to remember not to judge people by my own standards. I wouldn’t allow anyone to stick my son with dozens of needles and submit to torture when he turns 13 but several cultures do just that. AND are proud of it! Just because we find something shocking and distasteful doesn’t always mean it’s wrong.

  10. JEE,

    This isn’t a coming of age custom or faith-based rite of passage. This is cancer. Cancer knows no religious boundaries. We know that in 90% of cases regarding this particular cancer, chemo cures it and sends it into remission. That’s an indisputable fact from doctors. I highly doubt the “God’s Will” statistics are that good.

    And I’m sorry, but denying your kid life saving treatment in a case like this is wrong. Dead wrong. And if that makes me a judgmental jerk then so be it. But this isn’t some kind of quirky tribal ceremony where someone has something pierced or they stretch your earlobes out to your shoulders. This is blatantly and ignorantly ignoring a treatment with a proven track record of success, while watching your kid die.

    That’s always wrong.

  11. It is always a tough thing to question religous beliefs. But at some point, society ahs to step in and say “Wait a minute, these are kids and they are sick and they need help.” The situations have to be just so, you don’t go messing around with people’s religions without the best of reasons. In this case, you have to step in. You can’t let the kid die.

    I have seen chemo not work also. I’ve also seen people get hit by cars, but I still walk and drive.

  12. Let me clarify, lol. I’m on board with your assessment and I think most religious people are fruit loops any way. However with that said, if someone truly believes it’s Gods Will for their child to die they will see any attempt to help as thwarting Gods Will. If everyone who has claimed something is Gods Will stood on those types of principles this situation would happen more frequently. But they don’t. Most people drop the illusion of Gods Will any time it doesn’t suit their purposes.

    Situations like this should open peoples eyes to religious nonsense but it never does. Because people call them ‘extremists’ instead of calling themselves hypocrites. People would much rather have the facade of catholicism and Christianity than the reality of it. This is the reality of it. THIS is what happens when you try to put every thing off on the will of a ‘god’.

    I wasn’t referring to simple piercing or earlobe stretching. I mean there are tribes where children regularly die in an attempt to become a ‘man’. It’s accepted as part of their culture. Only the strong survive the ritual torture and the barbaric practice goes back to the days when they could only afford to have the strong survive. Here in America we’re too enlightened to stomach such things. I’m just saying that we’ve not all evolved as a society with the same standards.

  13. just read an article online where an 11 yr old girl died cos parents prayed instead of getting help. only when she stopped breathing did they call 911. she was diabetic and could have been saved w insulin and fluids. i guess they didn’t feel she was that sick when she could neither walk or talk. parents are being charged w her death.

  14. I find myself thinking about the grandparents I lost to cancer, but for them it was essentially their choice to go out like that. They were chain smokers to the point that they lit the next cig with the last one. They had small dishes of cigarettes in every room (Yes, even the bathroom) so that they were never without. Chemo didn’t work for them. But, this is a kid. He didn’t choose this. The parents should be doing everything within their power to save their kid. Seems like a no-brainer.

  15. I agree that the parents are being stupid on this. I do not agree that the state should force a treatment that is not wanted and I think it sets a dangerous president. Because he is a minor and unable to make these decisions himself, the decision falls to the parents. Just because the state doesn’t agree with the decision doesn’t mean they should force it.

  16. I’m definitely a “percentages guy” and 90 percent sounds like a no-brainer to me. My wife is into alternative medicine, but she draws the line at major medical issues – you can try treating the flu and rashes and stuff with tree bark or whatever, but when it comes to cancer (or in her case a scary pulmonary embolism) modern medicine should step in and take over. Should the state force treatment? Tough call for me – it’s the parent’s right to oversee their kids treatment options (I wouldn’t want state troopers checking in on my flu-stricken kid’s chicken soup intake), but in this case it seems the treatment path is clear cut and they aren’t taking it to the likely death of their child. I’m interested to see how this plays out (assuming they are found).

  17. I’m a big fan of alternative medicine, but not in the face of cancer. I know that if I had cancer that I’d really want to forego chemo. I’ve lived a great life, but I’d want to stick around for my son. So, I’d probably do it.

    If my son had cancer, I guess it would depend on how curable it is. I would not want to put him through hell on earth if the odds were stacked against him, but this boy’s cancer has a very high success rate with treatment. My cousin had to go through the same cancer at 11, had the miserable treatment, and she’s now 32 and just had twins. It’s really a no-brainer in this case.

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