Issue of court-ordered medical treatment

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Issue of court-ordered medical treatment

Postby Marina » Sat May 02, 2009 10:21 am ... 06644.html

Boy’s cancer treatment contested in court case
Parents want right to refuse additional chemotherapy; medical neglect

By Kurt Nesbitt Staff Writer POSTED: May 1, 2009

NEW ULM - A 13 year-old Sleepy Eye boy's cancer treatment is at the center of a child protection case pending in Brown County.

A hearing is scheduled today in Brown County District Court in the case regarding Daniel Hauser, 13, of Sleepy Eye.

According to a child protection petition filed in Brown County District Court, Brown County Family Services started a child protection assessment on April 7 after receiving a report from a doctor alleging medical neglect of Daniel.

A family physician examined and then referred Daniel to Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota on Jan. 21 and discovered a mass in the middle of Daniel's chest.

Children's determined Daniel has nodular sclerosing Hodgkin disease, the most common form of Hodgkin's Lymphoma, after lymph node biopsy on Jan. 23. Children's recommended six rounds of chemotherapy with radiation treatments at the end.

Daniel underwent one round of chemotherapy in February. He had trouble breathing because of excess fluid around his lungs caused by the tumor in the middle of his chest, which had to be drained by a chest tube that was ultimately removed, and the tumor decreased.

The petition claims Children's and the Mayo Clinic told the family Daniel has "a 90 percent chance of recovery with standard chemotherapy and radiation, but the chance of recovery would decrease significantly 50 percent or less if the tumor was allowed to regrow and developed resistance to chemotherapy. In addition, he would need a much more aggressive chemotherapy including a stem cell transplant when the tumor recurs."

The family requested a second opinion and saw an oncologist at Mayo and received the same opinion. They sought a third opinion from a doctor of osteopathy in Mankato.

The child protection worker spoke with the Hausers on April 9. At that time, the Hausers said they are using alternative medicines to treat Daniel's cancer, They believe the cancer is shrinking because of a special diet prescribed by a doctor and presently do not want to put their son through chemotherapy.

The Hauser family practices alternative medicines in their daily lives, and, although Catholic, also belongs to the Nemenah, a Native American traditional organization, according to the petition.

Daniel's parents, Colleen and Anthony, told the child protection worker they are not denying their son his chemotherapy and would start a round of it again if the cancer began to grow. However, they do not want to follow through on the whole course of treatment. They are said to be opposed to the recommendations of both hospitals at this time.

Attorney Calvin Johnson, who represents Daniel's parents, said today's hearing is meant to determine when the case will go to trial. The case has been difficult because it involves a "huge subject," said Johnson.

"A young man decided not to have chemotherapy and his parents support it (that decision) because his aunt died from chemotherapy and they have concerns about it," said Johnson.

Johnson said the main issues in the case, as he sees them are freedom of religion and methods of healing physical ailments and "not to have the state force their way into their lives this way. This is unconscionable."

He said the case also involves a "parent's legal right to protect their child."

Brown County Attorney James Olson said the issue at hand is "a parent's right to choose their child's medicine versus the state's right to protect the health and safety of their child."

Olson said he suspects the court will try to narrow the issues today and to try and see what the parties to the conflict can agree to.

Olson said the case is "unique and unusual. The ramifications of conventional medical wisdom. If that young man isn't treated, that outcome could be very poor."

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