Patient does not have right to refuse chemo, judge rules — UPDATED
UPDATED: Judge issues arrest warrant for mom of boy refusing chemo, orders boy be placed in protective custody for medical treatment
Well.. it sounds like I got the “kicking and screaming” part right. But, of course, it sounds like the family is doing some lousy decision-making. A quotable quote from the article: “Colleen Hauser testified at the earlier hearing that her son ‘is not in any medical danger.’” Ahk!
A Minnesota judge ruled Friday that a family cannot refuse chemotherapy for their cancer stricken 13 year old son.
Judge John Rodenberg denied the Hauser family’s request to decline chemo for their son Daniel. The family wanted to avoid chemotherapy, citing their religious beliefs.
In his ruling, Judge Rodenberg wrote:
“Brown County Family services has demonstrated a compelling state interest in the life and welfare of Daniel Hauser sufficient to override the fundamental constitutional rights of both parents and Daniel to the free exercise of religion and the due process right of the parents to direct the religious and other upbringing of the child.”
His cancer doctor says Daniel Hauser of Sleepy Eye has a 90 percent chance of surviving his Hodgkin’s lymphoma with chemotherapy. Without it, Dr. Bruce Bostrom says, it’s almost certain Daniel will die.
Nevertheless, Colleen and Anthony Hauser are supporting what they say is their son’s decision to instead treat the disease with nutritional supplements and other alternative treatments. They belong to the Nemenhah Band, a Missouri-based religious group that believes in natural healing methods.
Judge Rodenberg praised all parties, including the family and county officials, for acting in good faith at all times….
But despite their rights to believe as they wish, the judge said several Minnesota statutes require parents to provide “necessary medical care” to their children, and that “complementary and alternative health care” is not enough.
Most people will latch onto the religious beliefs aspect of this story. It probably made the judge’s decision a lot easier, not harder. For me, the more interesting question is what happens when a patient wishes to decline treatment, for any reason. In this case, it appears that the 13-year-old has his own strong preference, and the parents support him. Should the government drag him kicking and screaming to treatment, or should the family make its own decision?