In your opinion…should parents be allowed to deny needed medical care for children based on religious beliefs?

A Minnesota woman has an arrest warrant issued for her after she took her son and "lit a shuck" outa town rather than show up at a court hearing to determine whether her 13 year old son would be made to take chemotherapy.

According to medical testimony, there is a high degree of probability that the cancer is curable with treatment, and also an indication that without treatment he is at risk of substantial physical harm.

The family claims that they are basing their medical decisions on religious beliefs based on something called the Nemenhah Band, a Missouri-based religious group that believes in natural healing methods advocated by some American Indians.  Ironically the founder of this merry band of natural healers spent prison time for fraud related to "natural remedies" he was selling or promoting.

This is an interesting situation.  Religious beliefs coming in conflict with the state’s opinion of what is in the best interest of a minor.  If this kid were an adult, it probably wouldn’t be an issue, although he has a learning disability…and if it is bad enough it could put him in the disabled category as an adult which would affect his legal abilty to make decisions anyway. But I digress.  I feel that for the most part, the government has no right mandating particular treatments etc. for people, but i suspect that i am more in agreement with the judge than i am with the family, based on the fact that the family is unable to present evidence that their method has the ability to cure or effectively treat their son.

What say you?

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55 Responses to In your opinion…should parents be allowed to deny needed medical care for children based on religious beliefs?

  1. Bryan K says:

    This partcilar case is cut and dry, but I don’t think that will always be the case.

    If the parents can provide legitimate evidence that the choice they make for their child could be in the best interest of the child, that’s about how far parents rights should go. For example…say the child has a 50/50 chance of survival with treatment. However, if the child does survive with treatment, there is also a 50/50 chance that the treatment may cause permanent damange as a result that would make his quality of life a burden on himself and others. In that case, the case lies with the parent.

    But the question is…where do you draw the line?

    My belief is that a child should not be automatically burdened by the restraints his parents’ religion imposes. A thirteen-year-old is not old enough to make his own decisions, whether we are talking about religion or life. A parent of a thirteen-year-old is obviously going to be biased in the case of his/her religion.

    Surely, if there is a case where it is okay to “sin” based upon one’s religion, is there a more justifiable reason than to protect the life of a child? I most certainly can’t fathom how a person thinks when the whims of a magical sky fairy becomes more important than the life of their child.

  2. thothamon says:

    The concept that a deity, if one exists (and i lean in that direction)would be opposed to providing needed medical treatment to save the life of, or prolong and improve the quality of life, of a child with cancer, is abhorent to me. It flies in the face of the idea of all we have (including medical knowledge..being gift from God. And that is what most christian faiths at least teach, is that everything we have is “Gift” from the almighty). If one takes it outside of the mythic, mystic realm, and into the scientific realm, it is, as Bryan says, pretty cut and dried in this case. The preponderence of evidence suggests more harm will be done by not providing the treatment, than is likely by providing it. Either way, it seems difficult, in this case at least, to claim that denying the child treatment is sane or rational, or in the child’s interest. The question, however is poorly worded, in that there are indeed occasions where the opposite may be true. I suspect that there can be a case made for not forcing the administration of some vaccines, for example.

  3. Grootch says:

    Abortion should be outlawed, because every child deserves a chance to live – until his parents convince him it’s in his best interests to die? I am simple fucking baffled at conservative reasoning here. Where is the outrage at the imprisonment of Warren Jeffs? He believes he should be free and happily fucking his 13 year old wives, who are also believers, but it’s OK to let this kid die because his beliefs make it OK?

    Or is there?

    All you conservatives who are for the release of Warren Jeffs to fuck his harem of 13-14 year old wives, post your aye. Stand up and be counted.

  4. Vertigo says:

    “But the question is…where do you draw the line?” (Bryans Quote)

    The flaw to this logic, Bryan is its not YOU drawing the line. Its the parent. Abortion is another one of those issues this applies to. Its not YOU who decides if an abortion is called for, its the mother. Like it or not, thats the pragmatic reality. Just as a mother will have an abortion whether its legal or not, the mother of this kid has chosen to go underground before allowing the government to make this decision for her.

    As a parent, I wholly understand this, and with mixed feelings and total lack of understanding on where her screwedup head is, cannot disregard her rights as a parent.

    There are many other factors that come to play when making the decisions this mother is making, and some of them I believe strongly in. One is quality of life decisions. If this child, because of this disease is destined to live a short life of misery and sickness.. as many child cancer survivors do… perhaps this is a factor she is considering. Add to that financial ruin to the entire family who has no insurance… I cannot place myself in her shoes, and Bryan, I believe I am more qualified as a parent than you are to do this.

    Perhaps its her wishes to see her child live a short but happy life instead of a long and miserable one.

    That being said, Christian Science should be outlawed for the very reasons of this issue. They teach that children should not have medical care because its the “Will of God” whatever happens and if the child dies from need of an apendectimy, or the flu, then so be it. This is irresponsable teaching in my opinion.

    Perhaps the real issue here shouldn’t be parental rights to decide the health care of their children.. perhaps there should be appropriate responsability given to the appropriate parties. Perhaps the mother should be allowed to let her child die, but be put up on murder charges.

    Perhaps churches who teach abstinance from medical care should be held accountable too with a wrongful death.

    Where does the real responsability lie. I don’t know, but as a responsable parent, I may find myself in the same position…. willing to face jail time to properly care for my child. I will do this gladly with no misgivings if it should so happen.

  5. Profile photo of billybones billybones says:

    well, the reality is that the courts have upheld the fact that a parents right to choose not to treat their child ends when their lack of treatment endangers the life of that child.

  6. existentialist says:

    From what I understand, the health care community will generally tolerate the decisions of an individual made on religious grounds provided they don’t pose an immediate threat to others and the individual is of sound mind. However, when children are involved, it becomes complicated. Depending on your location, there may be certain state laws; however, courts have taken divergent positions, so it’s difficult to ascertain any semblance of legal precedence. Personally, I feel that anyone who denies care to a child based on religious grounds is guilty of abuse and neglect.

  7. Bryan K says:

    Actually, Vertigo, I believe the fact that you are a parent makes you less qualified to answer the question because you are allowing your emotions get in the way of logic. That said, by your logic, it is a parent’s right to abuse his/her child in any way that the parent sees fit. That is, after all, what we are talking about here. A parent allowing his/her child to die due to lack of medical care is an extreme form of child abuse. There comes a time when the law has to step in to protect the child because, like it or not, some (dare I say most) parents are simply not good parents. I do think that the strength of the family unit has improved by leaps and bounds over the past century, but the fact that there are parents out there who would rather let their children die than to seek out treatment leads me to beleive that we have a long way to go.

    As an afterthought….this issue is not comparable to abortion. Fetuses younger than 22 weeks do not fit the criteria set by the United States courts to qualify for the rights of a living human. A thirteen year old adolescent most certainly does.

  8. Bryan K says:

    exy: how about volunatry manslaughter?

  9. Vertigo says:

    Unless its abortion which ALWAYS endangers the life of a child, right Billy?

    The way I see it, there is still a lot in this case that remains untold. Just having the childs life “Endangered” really means little. Halitosis endangers a childs life if he has big brothers. Sometimes an endangered life shouldn’t be preserved simply out of mercy.

    As I said, there is a lot here we don’t know.

    What we do know is that he has Hodgkins Lymphoma, which is a cancer of the lymph nodes, thus passes through the endocrine system and when spread to a certain point is terminal and very painful.

    We know that a cat scan has been done that says its worse than it was before.

    We also know that because of the hypocratic oath, the Dr’s are going to say his prognosis is good no matter what the truth

    Another point we know is that the media is going to take a subject like this and ride it all the way to the bank, and not always tell all the truth, or even be truthful about it.

    Thats all we know, and the rest is conjecture.

    Lets talk about the religious aspect of this, Billy. It seems the “Religious” issue here is because she is using Native American religious values. Do you know anything about their religion Billy?

    Do you know anything about Shamanism? 2 of my best friends are Shamanists, and what they discuss isn’t using vodoo and dried roots to cure diseases.

    Shamanism is a truly spiritual movement. They believe everything has a spirit, even rocks and tree’s. Its not about what you do, or what toys you collect and pray over. Its how you live your life and how your spirit has grown. This mother isn’t treating cancer with roots and prayer. She is treating his spirit.

    There is a chance this child’s health has reached a point where although he may be cured, but may never live a normal life. Perhaps the mother has decided that instead of putting him through a miserable prolonged death, she will guide him to a happy and pain free journey to the next world.

    I don’t know, but to say her rights should be taken away because the childs life is “Endangered” is specious. I personally wouldn’t withold medical care for my children…

    No, I take that back. If my child were in extreme pain and terminal, I would want to have a lethal dose given, and live with a broken soul for the rest of my life.. even if its from behind bars.

    I wonder how she feels.

  10. Bryan K says:

    Endangering the life of a child because the parents believe in imaginary fairy-like creatures live inside him is ridiculous and unacceptable. Religion is no excuse for allowing a preventable death to happen.

  11. Grottch says:

    Vert, you speculate an awful lot. And a lot of the time it doesn’t have any bearing or substance on the argument:

    “Perhaps its her wishes to see her child live a short but happy life instead of a long and miserable one.”

    Does it matter?

    ” Add to that financial ruin to the entire family who has no insurance… ”

    You don’t know that. I’m pretty sure if they’re deluded and poor they can get MinnesotaCare. And again; does it matter?

    What matters here is that society deems what they are doing as child abuse, it’s that simple. You can’t cut off your daughter’s clitorus in this country because of your beliefs. You also can’t let a child die because you refuse modern, accessible, PROVEN treatment. You tried herbs and prayers, great. It isn’t working. Tough shit. Logic prevails.

    And if you don’t fucking like it, well… move to Somalia. Your libertine paradise awaits.

  12. Profile photo of billybones billybones says:

    Yeah, i’m with grootch…the simple answer is as grootch says…society deems what she has done to be child abuse. i thought thothamon summed it up quite nicely…however, if at some point i disagreed fundamentally with the law and the courts over the care of my child…i suspect that i too would break the law. Although i can’t imagine circumstances that would compel me to do so in this country. as far as abortion…yeah, i believe that always ends innocent life and is morally wrong. but it is not illegal. i don’t know a lot about their religion, i certainly am not going to discount native spirituality as illegitimate…although i believe that from what i have read this is some hybrid. I find it an interesting issue…putting the “religion” aside, it is really about where individual and parental power ends and government power begins. i side with the state on this one, because the preponderance of evidence suggests they are right. Not sure why you are coming at me on the religion thing vert, i don’t think i criticized the religious beliefs.

  13. Pastafarian Pete says:

    No worries my fellow meatballs. The FSM will reach down with one of it’s infinite noodley appendages and save this poor boy from something.

  14. Bryan K says:

    Oh, yes. The can of worms is officially open. After writing at least a dozen anti-religious based letters to the Forum over the years, they have finally printed one. I have a feeling my phone will be ringing off the hook today.

  15. Vertigo says:

    Gee Grootch, I don’t believe you wrote that. Did you actually use the dismissive and specious Neo Con arguement of “Its the AMERICAN way, and if you don’t like it… move to another country”?? PLEASE say you didn’t…

    In fact, I am seeing a LOT of extreme right wing attitudes here. Parents taking control of medical care is Child abuse? Only the law knows whats best for the child? Comparing this to cutting off girls clitoris’s GET IN TOUCH PEOPLE. (not of that, td)..

    We are literally only hearing one side of the story.. and that side is presented in a very biased manner. The courts and the health care industries… there is another side we are totally ignrorant to.

    Even if he only has .01% chance of being cured, the Doctors (by their hypocratic oath) will say he is curable and the courts will judge in that way. There are a lot of vegetables wired up for decades because of this. At what point do we say no chemo for the terminal?

    There MAY be a chance people with Hodgkins Lymphoma can be cured, but they didn’t say what this specific patients chances were… not one word. What words DID they use? Well, HL is curable with radiation therapy and young people have a good prognosis.. but the kid quit after ONE CHEMO THERAPY, not the reccomended radiation. Chemo is used for extreme cases, and none of the literature says it stops HL. To me, this says he is already terminal and they want to use desperation tactics.

    Is it abuse to not put a child through the desperate misery of Chemo if he cannot be cured? Only a mother can tell.. should choose.

    What she has chosen, which I tried to illustrate by explaining shamanism, is that Shamanism is about accepting oneself and ones fate. You cannot change the outcome of fate, but you can change how you deal with it. Dealing with death is what she is trying to do with him. Its not a cult thing, as I see it, she is doing her job as a mother and preparing him to accept his death.

    I might also add, there is another voice in this, the kids. He is old enough to participate in this dialog, and I assure you, he is. If he wanted the treatment, he would be taking it, it was his choice to stop. HE chose to stop after the chemo- not before. He can run away at anytime, and get all the care offered by society if his mother is holding him captive. His silence is a vote here too.

    As I said, much of what I have said is conjecture, but almost ALL of the rest of what has been said is also conjecture without knowing the truth.

    There are times I might accept the “oppose the courts and its abuse” arguement, but unless you can say clearly that thats the case, its not.

    We can put our pets to sleep when they are in misery and terminal, its considered humane… but if we do this with our parents, or our children.. its considered abuse. This is a societal priority thats simply wrong.

  16. Grootch says:

    Vert – if nobody is the arbitor of nothing, no laws can exist and no one can pass judgement on anyone for anything. Society unravels. Think a bit more pragmatically for a change.

  17. Bryan K says:

    “Only a mother can tell.. should choose. ”

    Excuse me while I laugh my ass off. I sure am glad my mother never had to make a choice like this for me when I was 13.

  18. Grootch says:

    Leave it to Bryan K to stir up a shitstorm on the in-forum comments section.

  19. Vertigo says:

    Um, Grootch, did I say that? I think not. Really, if you read your little.. er, disjointed sentence and even holds a double negative, it really has no pragmatic meaning.

    There are arbitors, but just as in the abortion issue, its not always the court who should be the final arbitor, and if not, the choice is easily removed from its venue. The mother did so simply by visiting friends in Somalia (you told them to go there) or wherever they went.

    Here we have an entire family who has made a decision (yes, arbitors)… not just the mother, but the father and child. This is not a flakey drug addled hooker and her child, these are stable catholic farmers who’s family has been there for generations. They are going to loose everything for this, and apparently they think its worth it to save a child from suffering. To me, thats solid family value.

    You know, what has effected my stand on this the most is the fact that, although the media tries to paint this as a religious nut neglecting her child because of some kind of cult following. Its the Native American (shamanism)teachings that pull it over to the other side.

    If it were Christian Scientists behind this, I would be totally on the bandwagon and say throw them in jail…. but its not.

    Shamanism doesn’t encourage nor discourage any kind of care or approach to lifes problems. Its about destiny and how to make the best decisions to bring about your destiny.

    Native Americans use fasting and sweat lodges to clean their systems so they can think more clearly and make better decisions. They try to purge their inner demons, and seek out the positive spirits in their lives to guide them to make the best decisions.

    This family has thought deeply and hard on the course they have taken. God didn’t tell them to neglect their child, they are allowing their child to die in a dignified manner for a reason. Just because we haven’t heard that reason yet doesn’t mean it isn’t valid.

    Sometimes Laws, in their ambiguity, hurt the people they are intended to help. There is a difference between having an arbitor and a judge who enforces the letter of the law no matter who it hurts.

  20. Bryan K says:

    They love me, Grootch.

    I’m hoping that perhaps there is an atheist somewhere following along in that thread, and the responses from three others saying that they went through similar trials in coming to their realization might help save that person’s life. Perhaps I’m being too optimistic. I don’t know.

  21. Grootch says:

    Vert: a couple of points here –

    1) “This is not a flakey drug addled hooker and her child, these are stable catholic farmers who’s family has been there for generations.”


    2) ” They are going to loose everything for this, and apparently they think its worth it to save a child from suffering. To me, thats solid family value.”

    Have you ever watched a loved one die of cancer? It’s the very definition of suffering.

    3) “This family has thought deeply and hard on the course they have taken. God didn’t tell them to neglect their child, they are allowing their child to die in a dignified manner for a reason. Just because we haven’t heard that reason yet doesn’t mean it isn’t valid.”

    No, they haven’t “thought deeply” about anything here, Vert; They are following the instructions, lock-step, of a snake-oil salesmen who promised them roller-coaster rides in heaven. There was no logical thought involved whatsoever. They honestly think a dead son will please a magic sky fairy. For fuck sake, Vert – I can think of few things more deluded than that.

  22. Vertigo says:

    “Vert; They are following the instructions, lock-step, of a snake-oil salesmen who promised them roller-coaster rides in heaven. There was no logical thought involved whatsoever. They honestly think a dead son will please a magic sky fairy.” (Grootches quote)

    Prove this.

    I am sure if there is a “Snake Oil” salesman, he has been hunted down by the media. I DO know people who follow shamanism, and they don’t sell magic sky fairies. They seek to become more in tune with nature. There is no prosylizing, no pushing religion, and their heaven is when they once again become one with nature. Everybody,
    no matter what their sins, has this final end.

    I have seen someone dying from cancer, and it was no less painful in the last month after they had gone through 18 months of gross illness and starvation like hunger because of puking up everything they eat. The pain started a LOT sooner because of the chemo, and the end came much later… stretching hell out into purgatory.

    You don’t seem to understand, Grootch, that Chemo is a cure that is often worst than the disease. If there is no chance of cure, then its only cruel to put them through Chemo. Those Dr’s who testify would put him through that because its how they do business. You want to discuss the snake oil salesman in this story, its THEM… and the Lawyers.

    I think you watch too much tabloid TV, Grootch… Not everybody who runs from the law are bad people.

  23. Profile photo of billybones billybones says:

    Vert…you stated that the doctor’s Hyocratic oath would basically prevnt the doctor from presenting a realistic prognosis?! did i understand that correctly. What is that statement based on?

  24. Vertigo says:

    I don’t believe, Billy, I said it quite that way. I said WHAT WE KNOW, is that the Dr’s testified that Hodgkins Lymphoma has a good prognosis if treated early with young people. It says that on the HL net sites too. They never ONCE said what the “Realistic Prognosis” of this individual patient is.

    This is consistant with their hypocratic oath to save lives at all costs.

    When the Dr’s are in the Operating room, as long as you have even a little brain function, they will stick tubes into every orafice of your body, and even create a few new holes to keep you alive. The will hook you up to machines that will filter your blood, beat your heart for you, breath for you, and shit for you. They have synthetic hormones and fluids that will replace every body function. They can keep you alive for 100 years without your own body doing a single thing. Its their hypocratic oath that allows them to do this, and they will do it to you too, Billy, unless you have a living will that denies them this little… er.. money making pleasure.

    They will do this to this kid if given a chance.

    You know, I went into depth on the shamanism not because I believe the mother follows this religion, but to explain that its absurd that she IS being unduly influenced by her religion. Next to Unitarianism, this is probably the LEAST likely of religions to have a bizarre suicidal cult following.

    It comes down to the legal tactics, and she (a catholic)had chosen the legal tool of religious protection. Native American religious protection will go all the way to the supreme court, it consistantly does. It probably will this time too, and she is only biding her time because he won’t live long enough to see the final verdict.

    This makes sense, sky fairies don’t.

  25. andy g says:

    re: we can humanely put a dog to sleep…..and we cannot do the same for our kids and parents????? I love my rat terrier but I will not compare Daggett to the boys or even my loathsome father in law.
    Dogs are dogs, they are not people, as much as Daggett is smarter than most people and almost as manipulative…

  26. Vertigo says:

    So, you would show mercy to your dog who is in pain, but not consider doing so for your father?

    My point is that we have screwed up priorities in our society when we place more value on giving our pets thoughtful, and merciful care, but put those people we deeply love through sheer hell on the idea that because they are “People” their lives should be preserved at all costs… even if they are suffering.

  27. andy g says:

    Vert: You go thru chemo or radiation yet? Have you ushered a loved one who fought gallently for their last breath as well as their personal dignity during the fight to the next place? YOu a fucking shaman?
    1) Oh god gave us science…not to use it…
    2) The parents know better how to fight the disease killing their kid ( Hodgekins pal beat that shit..)
    3) We can humanely end the life of much as feel otherwise, by bestest little nub-butted pal is considered livestock in the eyes of the law..Michael Vick non-withstanding…as long as his life is ended similar to a pig or calf going to slaughter…
    4) My sons and parents (RIP)are not and were not livestock. Animals. Tough some consider me an animal, though I prefer aging barbarian…
    5) Any God who tells me to with hold medical treatent from my child, who could fight a deadly disease with it and die without it, it a god thirsting for the blood of my child…not being fucking Isaac..I am inclined to tell that false god to go fuck himself and hope like hell that the real god heard me and is getting ready to slap the fuck out of the false if I am wrong…I am running reitheer dead quare into the arms of satan or nothingness…can’t go the noodly appendage route..suace makes me break out…
    6) Wasington (state) just had their first death by neglect (legal)so much for society blah, blah, blah..vert: if you want to die, you can..there are ways of making that happen…just don’t pay your bills and be employed…no money, no care..or go rent a cabin by a lake and watch the sunset one last time..(my preferred method)
    7) seriously misunderstand that concept…I am merciless, but compassionate. Goes with my political leanings……
    8) If it is death they want why go to the MD in the first place…Cancer cure by Nyquil and cauliflower?????WTF! The kid doesn’t like Chemo..who the fuck does…some one needs to say..listen Little Joe…this shit can be beat…it won’t be easy..but the big sleep.that is for ever..way past next do not handle the concept of time and forever real well. Big reason for teenage suicide..thoe misguided goofs never realize that all this shit is gone by the 5th year reunion..and the cliques generally are shattered by the grim force of reality..Bill Gates..who knew???
    9) Bryan K; Your point on Leviticus was well placed…not to mention the patriarchs lived about 80-90 years..remarkable 4-5 generations…a trip across the known world was by foot and lasted “forever”…decent point without any sarcasm..well played.
    10) and Vert..they (EM Surgeons) will come out and let you know there is no hope but will keep patient going for family notification and gathering, decisions on donating isn’t black and white and as callous as you put it, not to mention the fucking spector of the real ghouls…trial lawyers looking for a malractice lawsuit opportunity..another reason for some pretty drastic medical decisions…
    there you have it, from the home office in Hoope ND..the top ten reasons for Vert to give pause to consider shit…

  28. Vertigo says:

    Andy, just as Billy’s initial post, and much of what is happening in the media, you are making a LOT of huge assumptions here. My main point is WE DON’T KNOW! We cannot make educated decisions without all the infomation, thus I play Devils Advocate here. I will address a couple of points here, but first let me say something.

    What we do know, is that the standard treatment of this is RADIATION treatment, and its easily curable with RADIATION when caught EARLY. When the health care people are pushing CHEMO, then the disease has progressed far passed easily curable and its a last ditch effort. Once cancer has entered the lymph system (remember, this is Lymphoma), it runs rampantly throughout the entire body and cannot be cured. Chemo seeks to slow it down but cannot stop it.

    To address some of your points.

    #1. (you can refer to the prior post for text on numbered points) Perhaps you believe “God” gave us science, but he also gave us free will to make our choices. We do not, and should not, blindly follow what “God” tells us… or even what our Dr’s tell us. We should educate ourselves on our medical health, and take control of our own care. I think its pretty clear this family has done EXACTLY this.

    #2. Thanks for agreeing with me. Its the only thing you said that makes sense. The parents explored the reccomended solutions, but found these solutions were not going to help their child, and explored other alternatives.

    #3-4. I feel sorry for the people who you make health care decisions for. If you feel having mercy on a cow is more important than having mercy on your mother and would allow her to suffer… she will suffer in the end. I think we will disagree here. Your priorities, just like societies, are screwed up.

    #5.. All assumption. You assume he is curable. You assume they don’t know what they are doing. You assume that the Dr’s and the Courts are looking out for the best interest of the child. You assume God told them to do this, and Shamanism doesn’t have a “God” who tells them what to do. Well, assume means Making as ASS out of YOU in front of ME.

    #6, I didn’t say what is happening should be made legal, perhaps there SHOULD be consequences for this. Perhaps the mother should sit on death row for this herself. This is her choice, her burdon to take.

    #7- yeah.. your political leaning. I suppose you believe in “Compassionate Conservatism” too. What an oxymoron.

    #8, once again, HUGE ASSUMPTIONS here. The first one is that his disease was curable. That has NEVER BEEN STATED. Not in one of the articles. Its only been stated that Hodgkins Lymphoma has a really high cure rate in young people if caught early enough. NEVER ONCE HAS IT BEEN SAID WHAT HIS ACTUAL PROGNOSIS IS. If he is going to die anyway, then he should be given the right to die with dignity by way of his own choice. He should NOT be having useless and cruel treatments forced upon him.

    #9 I double checked, and I couldn’t find anything from Bryan on leviticus… but the only comment I find is its Ironic that Bryan of ALL people would be using the bible as a debate reference.

    #10 I am not sure what relevance this has. The EMT’s the Dr’s, even the courts have their jobs to do and often its not their choice to make those decisions. Are those decisions always for the best interest of the patient is the real question. I think its pretty clear the family of this specific patient feels they won’t be or they wouldn’t have run.

    As I said, I am playing more devils advocate here. I DO have firm beliefs in Right to Life and Death issues, and they are consistant. I believe in Voluntary Euthanasia, Abortion, and yes the Death Penalty. I see this as falling in the Right to Die with Dignity. Until I see ANYTHING that contradicts that, I will maintain my stand. To date, there has been NO prognosis, and NO statement that Chemo would save his life or make the quality of his death better. I suspect this is EXACTLY what his parents are thinking too.

  29. Bryan K says:

    Vertigo: I assume Andy is talking about the discussion on Leviticus. I tend to quote from the Bible frequently when in theological discussions with Bible beaters. It really pisses them off, and their response is always the same. “You’re taking it out of context.” Hey…if they can use the Bible to prove what’s written in the Bible, then I can use the Bible to disprove what’s written in the Bible.

  30. Bryan K says:

    Oh, now this looks like fun.

    1) Didn’t you know that science is TEH DEBIL!!!!!111ONEONE Seriously…man gave us God…and man gave us science. After man invented science, man looked back and said, “Why did we invent God first?”

    2) I have two friends that beat Hodgkins Lymphoma. One was 8, and the other was 20. The prognosis for both of them was very grim. The doctors expected the 20 year old to die. She was pregnant when she was diagnosed, and she lost her fetus. Now, they have a happy 3-year old daughter. I have a third friend that is currently fighting it.

    3-4) I hope I never have to make a euthanasia decision. To someone like me who believes that there is no afterlife, life itself is just too precious. If my dad asked me to do it, I don’t think I could say no. It hurts just thinking about it. As for myself…physical pain is shit. I’d rather be in perpetual pain than a perpetual state of itching. Life is so precious to me, though, I just don’t think I could ever ask someone to pull the plug on me.

    5) The God in the Old Testament thirsted for the blood of many a child…and many a man…and many a woman. I’d tell this God to go fuck himself too. In fact, I do it daily.

    6) I have just as hard of a time believing this woman’s motives are pure as I do believing that this woman’s motives are impure. There are some sick people in this world, and just because she is a mother doesn’t mean she is making the right choice. When parents kidnap their own kids, they almost always think that their motives are pure. That said, after reading some of the court transcripts, it is pretty obvious what has happened here. Daniel testified in court that he became a medicine man when his mother told him he was one. When the judge asked him how he knew what he knew about the side effects of chemotherapy, his response was, “my mom told me.” Daniel was unable to read his own written testimony before the court, and his own attorney testified to the judge that he was not convinced that Daniel’s professed spiritual beliefs were genuine. Finally, I have also read several testimonies from doctors not involved in the case that Daniel has an excellent chance of survival with no long term consequences with chemo, and he will almost surely die without it. Vertigo is right…there is a lot we don’t know about this case. In general, I trust the motives a parent has for his child. However, Daniel’s father is pleading for Colleen to bring their son home. That’s the clincher for me. Daniel’s mother is acting in her own self interest…not the interest of her son (whom, incidentally, she no longer has custody of).

    7) I tend to make decisions based on logic and reason while distancing my emotions as much as possible. Some people think that makes me too compassionate. Some people think that makes me cold hearted. Such is the life of a moderate.

    8) I’m a firm believer that there is a lot more to teenage suicide than just cliques and peer abuse. Studies say that 1 in 4 children are sexually abused, and nearly half are abused in some mannter. Why do you suppose that this number doesn’t correlate well into adults? I suspect because a large percentage don’t make it into adulthood. I’d like to hear Billy’s take on this.

    9) Thank you, Andy. You would have loved the two-foot putt I missed on hole number 6 on Prairiewood today, too. Ten-footers are automatic for me. The ones from about two feet to five feet give me trouble.

    10) I think it’s pretty clear that the mother is acting irrationally while the rest of the family is looking out for the best interest of Daniel by wanting them to come home.

    Okay, now…wtf does THIS captcha mean? Evening facial.

  31. Vertigo says:

    Would you please post the links to these documents?

  32. Bryan K says:

    I’m sorry….I meant to provide this link in my last post. It’s Daniel Hauser’s testimony: After reading it, I became convinced that the court is making the right decision in forcing him to get chemo.

    Another captcha of the day: “he’s cramping”

  33. Vertigo says:

    Thank your for the link, Bryan. Perhaps there are more, you infer so in your post. This was exclusively the testimony from a 12 year old. I didn’t see that it revealed any new information except that he had a learning disability.. possible retardation.

    It still didn’t give the prognosis of his specific cancer. The mother DID know this from minute one, and shared all the information she had with the child. The transcripts said so, the transcripts also said health care workers told him his entire situation. They also said that HE desired to not have chemo any longer.

    There are a couple other things this testimony DID make evident though.

    Religion isn’t the driving force of their decision making. There was no verbage from the Bible, or any other teachings, Never once did we hear “God says…..” and the only religious actions in their home was to say the rosary once a day and when they missed church. Although he was made into a shaman in name, they obviously didn’t even bother to teach him what a shaman is let alone what they do. I think it could be stated they made him a medicine man to empower him.. make him feel he had more control over his life. I believe this strengthens my arguement that the only reason they embraced Native American Religion was to have a loophole for court. If anything, his testimonly only validates the decision was made without religious influence.

    The mother did not withhold medical care from the child, she not only allowed him 11 days of chemo, but voluntarily brought him a long distance to do so. If she was, for example, a christian scientist, she would not have brought him in for the initial checkup, let alone allowed chemo in a location far away. She gave what she felt was a fair chance to the medical system. She was not opposed to having medical help, but obviously believes it won’t help.

    The actual care given at home is also very telling. It didn’t revolve around religous ceremony or holy herbs. They put him on a healthy organic pro-biotic diet meaning they tried to make him as strong and healthy as they could so he could best fight his disease. I think it wouldn’t be a stretch to say they also applied some homeopathy, but in truth, homeopathy addresses symptoms more than the diseases, and it would have helped to relieve his pain more than cure him.

    I would like to address a couple of your points, Bryan, although this may be premature because you OBVIOUSLY had more sources to make those snap judgements. I am sure they will be revealed soon.

    “When the judge asked him how he knew what he knew about the side effects of chemotherapy, his response was, “my mom told me.” (Bryans Quote).

    Are you trying to tell me the 11 days he personally spent on chemo didn’t tell him just a LITTLE about what one goes through?

    “Daniel’s father is pleading for Colleen to bring their son home.” (Bryans quote)

    Please show me this. A probably won’t buy the actual sincerity even if he did say it though, because he has an overriding interest to hold the rest of the family together thus he HAS to take the side of the law even if he doesn’t believe in it. They have 6 other children and a farm to care for and to have HIM sit in jail for not cooperating will destroy their entire lives. Of course he begged for her to come home in court and the media, but their private conversations probably are MUCH different

    “Daniel’s mother is acting in her own self interest…not the interest of her son (whom, incidentally, she no longer has custody of).” (Bryans quote)

    No brainer.. she is running away from the law, of COURSE they will revoke her LEGAL custody.. but guess what, she still has physical custody. So what? This is comperable to abortion being illegal, and arresting a woman who tries to get one, jailing her and forcing her to give birth just to take the baby away… because she no longer has a legal right to custody.

    If she returns him, he will be made into a ward of the court, put throught every crappy treatment possible, then die a long prolonged death hooked up to tubes because that same court WON’T look out for his best interests, only the letter of the law, which closely parallels the hypocratic oath.

    As to what her motives are… PLEASE explain HER self interest here. ANYTHING that makes sense other than fearing sky fairies and everlasting hell. She has given up her entire family and WILL go to jail no matter WHAT the outcome. She is not avoiding medical care for herself, and her destiny is already written in stone.. the minute she ran. The only thing that makes sense is that she is trying to take care of her son at all costs.

    I am looking forward to more links, Bryan, becaue that one was rather lame as to providing more actual information.

  34. Bryan K says:

    Most of what you question, Vertigo, is right in the link I already provided. What is obvious is that this 13-year old is basing his judgements off of short term consequences rather than sound scientific judgement.

    As to the one question you ask that was not related to the testimony of Daniel Hauser, here is a link:

    I guess since this made the front page in almost all of the nation’s major papers, I thought it was common knowledge. However, since YOU are the one making a wild assumption in saying that Daniel’s father is saying something different than what he actually means, I would expect you to come up with some sort of a source to back up that statement. I would also expect some kind of source to refute the ascertation that Hodgkins Lymphoma is easy to beat.

  35. Bryan K says:

    I also thought I’d add:

    “I think it could be stated they made him a medicine man to empower him.. make him feel he had more control over his life. I believe this strengthens my arguement that the only reason they embraced Native American Religion was to have a loophole for court.”

    Which, by definition, is an abuse of religion.

    So, take religion out of the equation. A thirteen year old is not old enough to decide for himself what the proper course of medical action would be for a terminal illness.

  36. Vertigo says:

    Um… to get you back up to speed here, Bryan. His mother has been making the decisions for him. IF he didn’t like her decisions, he would have run away.

    I have a boy almost exactly the same age… 5 days older. To say he can make his own decisions would be absurd, he is not mature enough to do so. To say he wouldn’t participate in those decisions is totally naive. He is involved in EVERY aspect and decision in his life.

  37. Bryan K says:

    I’ve tried as hard as I can to refute all three sides of the argument here, but you seem to think that I’m flip flopping around.

    First of all, we removed religion from the equation, which was my stance all along.

    Next, we removed the possibility that the boy is mature enough to make his own decisions. That part of the equation is also now moot.

    The third and final part of the equation is whether or not the mother is capable of making decisions for this boy. Let’s look at some facts here. This boy is a thirteen year old home-schooled kid who is at a fifth grader’s cognitive level. There are a couple of possibilities here. He might have a learning disability. If that is the case, then his mother has obviously not been looking out for his best interest in getting him the level of professional tutelage he needs in order to overcome this disability. More likely, his home schooling has been woefully inadequate. If that is the case, then his mother has obviously not been looking out for his best interest in making sure that he has the skills he needs to succeed in the real world. Let’s explore this more fully. Most of what he knows about being a medicine man and about the ill effects of chemotherapy come from his mother. He went into his first treatment with a negative stigmatism. It is apparent that neither he, nor his mother, are capable of differentiating between short term negative side effects balanced with long term consequences. Furthermore, his father has been pleading with his wife and son to come home to discuss proper treatment possibilities.

    There is a lot we don’t know about this case…but by gosh, what we do know makes it painfully obvious that the court is more reliable in looking out for his best interest than the mother is.

  38. Grootch says:

    ” His mother has been making the decisions for him. IF he didn’t like her decisions, he would have run away.”


    Vert, this is why I don’t argue with you.

  39. Vertigo says:

    I don’t quite understand your point there Grootch. I have a child that age, and he takes a VERY active role in his life… frankly it can be really annoying at times.

    If he were to come down with a life threatening illness, and I advised him to not take treatment which could cure him… and he wanted that treatment, he would go find a police man and turn himself in. I believe Daniel NOT doing this himself is very telling.

    Would you please explain your point? or was it just being rude for the sake of rudeness?

  40. andy g says:

    vert: review commentary in back issues of the pioneer press (st paul), there are a great many threads regarding this issue for about the last 3 weeks. it is archived in topix.
    the id and his mom came home last night.

  41. Bryan K says:

    To make an analogy…most victims of childhood abuse, especially male victims, don’t learn to face that abuse until they are well into their 20’s, 30’s, or even beyond. I say this only because reading something into a 13 year old’s decision to not turn himself into authorities is absurd at best. Perhaps your 13 year old was raised better than most, or maybe he’s just a rebel. Most 13 year olds, dispite the tendency to rebel, still view their parents as the ultimate authority.

  42. Vertigo says:

    LOL, you don’t have a 13 year old, Bryan, thats crystal clear. You may cite an exception as the rule as an analogy, but you are off base.

    The rule isn’t obedience, its rebeliousness. Its a normal stage they go through and it take years to mature enough to realize Mom and Dad are their friends; Usually when they have had to pay for their own meal ticket for a few years. If anything, fighting against the parents is the standard rule at that age.

  43. Bryan K says:

    So, you are basing your assumption off of one 13 year old while I’m basing mine off dozens. Who is citing an exception to the rule?

  44. Vertigo says:

    No, its not just one, and I have 2, a boy and a girl; 12,13. Dozens aren’t a very good sample either, especially if you don’t actually know ANY of them.

    I am not basing this off of assumptions because of one though. As a parent you learn what drives the children you raise. Its an understanding of the beast… sometimes literally. Its the job of the child at this age to learn how to be an adult, how to make decisions and take appropriate action. They do this by pushing their limits… learning what they can get away with. They can only do this by taking rebellous action.

    I think it can be safely stated that people only learn from their mistakes, not their successes. If you succeed, you already have learned the lesson. Well, there are a lot of mistakes to be made in the road to maturity and your average tweenager is charging forward full speed ahead and learning the only way they can… from the school of hard knocks.

  45. Vertigo says:

    The thing about YOUR example though, Bryan, is you use the people who have been abused as the rule, and those people have had the fight beaten out of them. Their lessons learned are you can only survive if you passively accept whatever happens to you and you cannot take proactive steps to solve your problems. This is not representative…

    You cannot use the exception to the rule as an analogy. It doesn’t work.

  46. Bryan K says:

    The problem with your assumption, Vertigo, is that I wasn’t using my numerous experiences with adolescents as an all encompassing rule. I was using it as an example to state that your reading something into a 13 year-old’s decision to not turn himself into authorities is absurd at best.

    Also, we are also reinforcing my ascertation that, as a general rule, parents tend to be the least qualified to judge what is in the best interest of their children because they are too easily influenced by the emotional bonds they develop with their children. In your case, you have a 12 year old and a 13 year old who seem like they don’t listen to their parents anymore. In your case, that tendency is aggrevated by the fact that you don’t have custody of them. What they are doing is a natural tendency of growing up. They are testing the limits of their parents’ authority. All kids do this, and to a parent, it probably seems like they don’t respect authority anymore. However, just because they are testing those limits doesn’t mean that they aren’t going to abide by the authority that falls within those limits.

  47. Vertigo says:

    You aren’t paying attention.

    I do have custody, and they do listen, my children are VERY well behaved and under control… In fact my daughter got the Kindest Child award and had lunch with the Governor and Miss ND as a reward! I get compliments from their teachers on their behaviour, and they are A students.

    I am not saying that all tweenagers are out of control or badly behaved as a rule either! They just choose to challenge everything they can. This is their job, and they do it well.

    Its not my job as parents to force them to do anything. Its my job to guide them through their adolescence so they get into the least amount of trouble as possible. My job as “Behaviour Mogul” is over, now I have to keep them from getting in trouble while they explore what the adult world is like, and how to live within it in an acceptable manner.

    To give an example of what I am talking about with their behaviour that is happening at this time. One lesson I taught them from the beginning is that profanity exists, and everybody uses it at times. The use of profanity, though, makes one look ignorant and low class. They understand this and agree, so its not an issue or a problem.

    Now.. when we are in the privacy of our car, they have decided to learn to properly use profanity.. and what they do is if I swear, they add this to their lexicon of swear words and the car turns into a profanity trap with them swearing up a storm. Its annoying as hell, and I cannot stop them from doing it without throttling the hell out of them..

    The question is, SHOULD I stop them? They don’t swear outside of the car, they are really well behaved in public (well kinda better at some times than others). They do it only to annoy me, and they are learning language skills. As I see it, its one of those battles to choose not to embrace… but I do only allow about 10-15 minutes of it.

    They are learning about proper behaviour by misbehaving, and pushing their limits. This is normal behaviour. They do this around their friends, and its not my job to be a heavy enforcer, its my job to allow them to make their mistakes in a safe environment and keep them from trouble.

    In the specific example we are discussing, this kid obviously feels the decisions made were in his best interest, or he would have challenged them, and if he were ignored, he would have pushed the limit to the edge even to the point of addressing a police officer.

    I suspect the reason why they turned themselves in was because HE decided the running was over. I have been quiet about this issue at this time because I am waiting to see what transpired… waiting to get all the facts.

    Unlike you, I try to keep the assumptions down to a minimum.

  48. Bryan K says:

    You make me laugh, Vertigo. You say you try to keep assumptions down to a minimum, yet you tend to make more assumptions than anyone else here….like your assumption about the reason why they turned themselves in. My view is that any parent who is willing to abandon 7 of her 8 children in a time of need isn’t thinking rationally. She probably just came to her senses.

  49. Bryan K says:

    Oh….and another assumption….that everyone raises their kids like you do. I love your story…would love to be a fly on the window in that car….but believe it or not, most parents try to parent by controlling their kids…not by guiding them. Even my sister tries to control her kids instead of guiding them, and it drives me nuts.

  50. Bryan K says:

    There is a lot of evidence that says that the Book of Daniel was not written until at least 200 BC. Most notably….it was written in a language that wasn’t prevalent until that date….it was written in a dialect that didn’t exist until that date….it used terminology that would not be known to people earlier than that date….and it contained historical inaccuracies that someone actually living in 600 BC would not have made.

  51. Bryan K says:

    lol…that went into the wrong forum.

  52. Grootch says:

    Bryan k – there is a reason his name is Vertigo =)

  53. Bryan K says:

    lol…yeah…my head was apparently spinning.

    Anyway, to complete the totally off topic rant and point…the point is that the prophesies that were allegedly foreseen by the Book of Daniel, the most patently absurd* book in the entire work of pantently absurd stories, had already taken place when the Book of Daniel was written. It seems that is a pretty common occurence in the Bible.

    *patently absurd is my phrase of the day.

  54. Vertigo says:

    BEEP BEEP……….

    Spins to confuse Bryan

    BEEP BEEP…….

  55. andy g says:

    as father of two sons, both well past 13 but they were as different as night and day about angst and all that shit…never hit or anything..just regular goofballs. They youngest was always ranting about what he didn’t get, as it turns out he always had stuff his older bro didn’t get until older…half of the shit you get from kids is baseed on birth order shit and the fact they are just fucking bored.

    col assocated
    (WTF is assocated) something a proctologist does?

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