Minnesota Judge May End Up Saving Daniel Hauser’s Life

Daniel Hauser is the boy brainwashed into thinking his Hodgkin’s lymphoma can be cured by “natural remedies” instead of chemotherapy. His parents are the irresponsible people who have persuaded him to think this way.

At least the judge in this case has his mind in the right place:

In a 58-page ruling, Brown County District Judge John Rodenberg found that Daniel Hauser has been “medically neglected” by his parents, Colleen and Anthony Hauser, and was in need of child protection services.

While he allowed Daniel to stay with his parents, the judge gave the Hausers until Tuesday to get an updated chest X-ray for their son and select an oncologist.

If the evaluation shows the cancer had advanced to a point where chemotherapy and radiation would no longer help, the judge said, he would not order the boy to undergo treatment.

However, he said, if chemotherapy is ordered and the family still refuses, Daniel will be placed in temporary custody.

It looks like the best of all possible outcomes right now.

It would be great if Daniel grows up to leave his destructive faith. I worry, though, that if he does make it through this ordeal, he could become even more entrenched in his religion and just pissed off at the world…

  • Michael Nietzsche

    I say, let the kid die……. so that his mentally Ill parents can live with the guilt for the remaining days of their lives! Maybe they’ll be pushed to commit suicide! That would be a good thing! Two more religious idiots DEAD!

  • Michael Nietzsche

    LOAD! Thank you for giving me the brains to totally reject your existance!

  • Bill

    Here’s a good discussion about this story. Lots of good points made.

    http://newsroom.blogs.cnn.com/2009/05/08/forced-chemo/

  • K

    Meh, evolution in action.

  • workingstiff

    I’m an atheist, but chemotherapy is barbaric at best.

    I don’t want to defend the religious nuts, but cancer treatment in the U.S. is dominated by the makers of these poisonous drugs and in many states doctors are not allowed by law to even discuss any other treatment or they can be fined and jailed.
    If chemotherapy is so effective, why do thousands of cancer patients travel outside the corporation dominated U.S system to seek alternative treatments?

  • Jeff Satterley

    Wow, I’m really surprised by the commenters thus far. He doesn’t have the capacity yet to make these decisions himself, and you want to let him die to spite his religious parents? Of course I’m disgusted by these parents, and I know that if this kid survives its possible that he’ll be just as ignorant, but I’m not going to take it out on the kid now.

    I don’t understand why the parents are even allowed the keep custody. I’m wondering how probable it is that they do not comply with the court order…

  • stephanie

    Am I the only one cynical enough to think they’re going to find a ‘faith-friendly’ oncologist that’s going to take make the evaluation that ‘the cancer has advanced too far for chemotherapy’?
    Sigh. I don’t object when religious nuts take themselves out for what they believe because it’s their life and I’ve no right to interfere. But when they start sacrificing their kids, it’s murder. :(

  • http://universalheretic.wordpress.com/ Vic

    He needs to be helped, despite himself and despite his parents. It is frustrating, but we need to remain compassionate toward our fellow humans even if they do hold silly belief systems. This is a very treatable disease, many people have survived it with proper medical care. Few survive without it.

    Since they have now been court ordered, if they disobey (which they said they will) they will most likely lose custody which I think would be the best. He needs to be exposed to a broader world.

  • Troll

    1, 2, and 3…

    Reverse Poe’s?

  • http://asad123.wordpress.com Asad

    I respect the judge in this case and realize he had a difficult decision to make. Yet I disagree with him. I don’t think it’s the role of the state to force people to get medical treatment. Individuals should be able to make medical decisions for themselves. In the case of minors, it should be the parents who make these decisions. Even if society views those decisions as foolish, it is dangerous to transfer power from parents to judges.

  • GullWatcher

    @Asad

    In the case of minors, it should be the parents who make these decisions. Even if society views those decisions as foolish, it is dangerous to transfer power from parents to judges

    I see this sentiment a lot, and frankly, I don’t get it. Why are the parent’s rights more important than the child’s life? Children are not their parent’s property, and parents should not be free to neglect or abuse them as they see fit. The government has a duty to protect vulnerable citizens against people who would harm them, and that includes protecting children from anyone who would harm them, parent or not.

    So, Asad (or anyone else who agrees with him), what’s your solution? Let the parents kill the child through neglect, then charge them with murder? Now you’ve got a dead child, his siblings in foster care (being supported by the state) and his parents in prison (ditto). How is that better than a judge saying “take care of your kid or face the consequences”, when the kid can maybe still be saved?

    I do believe that sometimes we have to pay a certain price for our rights and freedoms, but in this case, we’re making the kid pay. How is that just or fair?

  • http://www.noonespecial.ca/cacophony Tao Jones

    Once again, this family’s “faith” is as much a faith as Pastafarianism is. It’s something someone made up very recently to get around some legislation that could protect these people from selling “faith medicines” to unsuspecting people like this family.

  • http://noadi.blogspot.com Noadi

    I DESPISE the sentiment that somehow parents get to treat their children like property and do whatever they want to them. Children are people and should not be subjected to treatment we wouldn’t condone if done to an adult. I can only imagine people who believe this have never seen the results of abuse and neglect.

    I cannot be unbiased in this, my mom grew up in foster care because her parents abused and neglected her. Sounds like some people here think it would have been a good idea for that to have continued.

  • Solitas

    @workingstiff: “to seek alternative treatments?”
    What alternative treatments? Herbs and magic water? Acupuncture? Chiropractic?
    How many alternative treatments for cancer are there?

    Having had Hodgkin’s Disease and been cured with chemotherapy (and a little bit radiation therapy), I know that chemptherapy, even though it can be rough on your body works!

  • Mathew Wilder

    workingstiff: WTF? Are you serious? Yeah, some people (thousands? Really?) got to “alternative treatment centers” in places like, oh, China, because THEY HAVE NO FUCKING CLUE WHAT THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT when it comes to medicine.

    I love how anti-medicine dickheads twist all meaning out of the word “barbaric.” Chemo might be barbaric if it didn’t work. But it does, quite well.

    And what states and laws? And what other treatments besides palliative ones are their for cancer (discounting, of course, radiation therapy, which I imagine workingstiff would also think barbaric)?

  • anonymouse

    First two comments HAVE to be a joke. This is a child, a human being we are talking about. The parents..meh.. but the kid. he is a VICTIM and people are acting like he should be shot or something. That’s appalling.

    It’s hard for me to decide my opinion on this, because I can relate…sort of. As a vegan, if a judge ordered that my (hypothetical) child be given meat, I would view this as a horrible infringement on our rights,and as abusive. I can’t see an instance in which this would happen, but the feeling of having my personal rights violated would be harmful.

    I do think people should be able to seek the treatment they need, in the way they want. Plenty of non-religious folk stand by alternative medicine. I wouldn’t wish chemo on anyone.

    What I didn’t see as clear is if the parents are only praying and giving the kid a Centrum One-A-Day, or if they are actively seeking therapies like Gurshon’s therapy. All I have seen on Gershon’s therapy was a documentary, but it was in favor of the therapy so it was hard to get an objective opinion.

    I just see specific treatments being court-ordered as a very dangerous path to go down, because people being sick keeps drug companies in business. I really do not trust drug companies. I do trust science, and I don’t believe in eschewing medicines…I am just saying anytime there is money to be made, corners will be cut, and ethics can go down the drain. I wouldn’t want to see a judge and a drug company in bed together.

    Ultimately I think that the judge order should only come in if it’s proven that the parents aren’t seeking out anything that can actually help their son. The parents should have no problem whatsoever giving over a chest x ray if they believe in the treatment they are doing.

    There’s also the issue of bodily integrity. I firmly believe that peoples’ bodies are their own and no one has a right to tell someone what to do with it unless it affects another person (bad example- you can punch yourself but you can’t punch another person). Then there’s the issue of responsibility of a minor and all that.

    This is such a horrible situation :(

  • Henry

    Anonymouse:

    My feelings precisely. Anyone who honestly disagrees with that has a problem as far as I’m concerned.

  • Miko

    @Gull:

    Children are not their parent’s property, and parents should not be free to neglect or abuse them as they see fit. The government has a duty to protect vulnerable citizens against people who would harm them, and that includes protecting children from anyone who would harm them, parent or not.

    I’m going to somewhat agree with you eventually, but lets take this apart first.

    I’ll agree with you 100% that children are not their parent’s property (indeed, if you want to use the language of property, I’d say that they own themselves). However, they’re pretty clearly not the property of the government either. Therefore, the argument that the government should be able to do as it sees fit isn’t supported by this assertion. Also, if the children are not the property of the parent, it’s not clear why the parent shouldn’t be able to neglect (as opposed to abuse) them: I pay close to no attention to most things which are not my property.

    You seem to be slipping from the distinction between “neglect or abuse” toward a more encompassing definition of “harm,” which is troublesome. The harm which comes from action is clear to see, but we need to be more careful when considering inaction: if a poor family is unable to afford a large color TV, will that count as “harming” the child and justify government intervention? Hopefully you’d say no, but then we come to the issue of where to draw the line on letting the government intervene; and since the government is the one who gets to draw that line, the line in effect doesn’t exist. As anyone who knows our history of taking Native American children away from their parents in order to “westernize” them because of the harm caused by the “barbaric” upbringing that they would otherwise receive will tell you, asserting that government should protect us from (what it defines as) harm is a very dangerous slope. In a current example, do we want government to protect children from the “harm” (from obesity) that candy manufacturers will cause?

    Moreover, I disagree with the premise that the government has any duty whatsoever: it is a corporation completely unaccountable to the people which continues to exist solely because it is capable to forcing people to give it money through threats of violence. Anything that it has it has first taken away from the people (both in terms of physical property and in terms of legislative power). Thus, at best we may view the government in this case as standing in as a proxy for a non-state actor. Namely, the government’s power to protect the child can only be seen as its usurpation of the right of the child to protect itself or the right of any other bystander to protect the child upon observing the harm occurring. While we should do everything we can to take this power back from the government, we need to realize that pragmatically we have to let the government act in this case, since waiting to restore the power to whom it justly belongs would take too long for Daniel.

    Thus, I can see this action (giving chemo) as morally justifiable, as long as one can demonstrate that the child is in fact incapable of making the decision for himself. At 13, I’d argue that this is a bit of a gray area and think that those involved should talk about it very carefully with Daniel before making any decision, but it’s definitely conceivable that he is intellectually incapable of making the decision for himself, in which case an intervention of some sort could be justified.

    So, Asad (or anyone else who agrees with him), what’s your solution? Let the parents kill the child through neglect, then charge them with murder? Now you’ve got a dead child, his siblings in foster care (being supported by the state) and his parents in prison (ditto).

    That’s a straw-man of Asad’s position. If he views this as an individual medical decision, then he clearly doesn’t view it as neglect or the outcome as criminal, hence the solution would be to let the child die, view it as an unfortunate happening, and then do nothing.

    If it can be established that the child is mentally mature enough to make that decision for himself at 13, I’d even agree with this analysis, much in the same sense that I wouldn’t suggest arresting the parents if their child committed suicide. If the child is responsible for its own actions, then the parents are not responsible.

  • Indigo

    If these parents did not claim religious grounds for neglecting their son’s health – if they said they weren’t going to do it just because they couldn’t be arsed to – no one would be defending their right to kill their own child. No one would think twice about taking him away from them and making sure he got the treatment he needed to survive. Yet because they creep under the mantle of religious protection, suddenly everyone’s wringing their hands about whether or not this is religious persecution.

  • Randy

    One fact concerning the child is he has a learning disorder. It was stated that he couldn’t read at 13. How serious this disorder is wasn’t gone into, but it would seriously call into question his ability to make this choice. Having two wacka-loons as parents really doesn’t help. The issue of some native tribal group and the kid being told he’s a “medicine man” doesn’t help.

  • http://FriendlyAthiest Pat

    I follow this story with great interest. My husband is a devote believer in “Alternative Therapy” He has battled Non-Hogdkins Lymphoma for 8 years. After a Stem Cell transplant he was in remission for 3 years. When signs of cancer started to return he turned to Alternatives believing Traditional medicine had failed him. During that time practitioners of alternative medicine convinced him of the “poison” doctors used on him. His relapse was slow growing and he felt “fine” according to him. To his family, his deterioration was obvious. He followed the path of “his practioners” right up until he ended up in Intensive care a our local hospital. He was very close to death, and had multiple medical problems caused by his cancer. Once out of his immediate crisis, he was still listening to his Alternative Practioner’s. It took all of his family, all of his real doctor’s, to finally get through to him. He finally heard “You will die”. Much to the shock, and obvious anger of his “practitioner’s” he agreed to Chemo once again. These people never stepped foot in the hospital while he was gravely ill, never set eyes on him, but offered plenty of alternative advice on the phone. One “hands on” healer, Angrily told him “She could never treat him again” if he was full of poison. (Not to worry, she gave him plenty of “treatments” during the course of his chemo, @$250.00 dollars a treatment.) Thanks to his chemo, within 4 months time he was once again in remission, and today is the picture of health.
    These people get into a cancer patients head,it is nothing short of brainwashing. I would add that they say doctors and drug companies are in it for the money. My husbands years of “treatment” have cost over $300,000 dollars. Not covered by insurance.

    we were a middle income family. I Warn anyone looking to go down this path, RUN as fast as you can. My husband was an adult making these poor decisions No one could stop him. This poor child needs an advocate, if its the government, good for them.

  • Kathy

    The kid is old enough to make his own decision. He doesn’t want chemotherapy. Leave him alone. If I put myself in his shoes, and someone forced chemotherapy on me, I’d be a loose cannon….
    It’s not up to you to dictate someone else’s destiny….

  • Trent

    I know many people who have been to mexico for treatments.Medical Science is what it is a science.We kill unborn children but we the law wants to choose our way for healthcare treatments.

  • margaret

    Other people should mind their own business and let this family decide for themselves, what is best for THEIR child.

    I have seen the effects of chemo on patients and I don’t like what I see.
    I also don’t like greedy big business pharmaceutical companies out to make more millions through pushing their own toxic products, as the only treatment or cure.

    Let these people make their own decision, whatever the consequences are.