Friday, May 15, 2009

Judge to parents: I won't let you kill your kid

Good news for Daniel Hauser: a judge in Minnesota has ruled that his parents may not refuse him treatment for his cancer, even though he allegedly also wanted to refuse treatment.

The boy is thirteen years old, and dominated by his parents, who are Catholics but also belong to a made-up cult that claims to use "natural healing" methods. His doctors testified that with treatment Daniel has a 90% chance of surviving, whereas without it his chances are 5%.

So why doesn't the kid get to make his own decision?

Well, first off, he's thirteen, and kids that age don't get to make that kind of decision. He can't read. And, as the judge found, Daniel has only a "rudimentary understanding at best of the risks and benefits of chemotherapy. ... he does not believe he is ill currently. The fact is that he is very ill currently."

What's the parents' solution? Treat him with "herbal supplements, vitamins, ionized water, and other natural alternatives — despite testimony from five doctors who agreed Daniel needed chemotherapy."

Sometime, assuming this kid grows to adulthood, and he understands a little more about life and death, I'll be glad to see him make his own decisions. Now, as a juvenile who has no understanding of the situation he's in, and in the hands of parents who are equally clueless, he needs someone with a level head on his shoulders to protect him from those parents. I'm glad this judge was there.

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