Friday, May 15, 2009

The Judge, The Doctor and The Boy

It was reported this morning that a judge in Minnesota has ruled that a 13 year-old boy must continue undergoing chemotherapy treatments for a recently diagnosed case of Hodgkin’s lymphoma against the wishes of the boy’s parents and the boy himself. The boy and his family had chosen to forgo further treatments turning instead to natural and alternative methods of healing aligned with their religious beliefs. The oncologist associated with this case has suggested that chemotherapy had a 90% rate of success in such circumstances but further stated that without the treatments the young man faced only a 5% chance of survival.
This is tough stuff. Most of us have witnessed the struggles and devastation that accompany cancer and other horrific diseases. Watching a family member, loved one or other friend waste away helplessly from the aggressive attack of bad cells is gut wrenching. The treatments, however – whether successful or otherwise – are also accompanied by powerful side effects often resulting in elevated suffering in the form of nausea, weakness, headaches, damage to other organs and all manner of tag-along problems. After all, it is poison fighting poison.
The judge in this sad case has suggested that this young boy has been ‘medically neglected’ and is in need of child protection services. This is absurd and over-reaching, at best. This is a foreshadow of government-controlled medicine. This is a clear blow to human rights. What would you do as a parent in this situation? I don’t think it matters. Whatever an individual, spouse, child, parent or other caregiver chooses to do in such difficult circumstances is a private matter. I have seen child neglect and abuse face-to-face and from my vantage point – admittedly many mile away – this has no resemblance. May I humbly suggest that this court and this judge turn their attentions to matters more appropriate and remove their noses, gavels and opinions from the lives of these people rather than add more aches to their already broken hearts. 


Post a Comment

<< Home