Who Decides Medical Treatment for Children?

13 year old Daniel Hauser has cancer.  He and his parents decided not to treat the disease with chemotherapy, but instead with “alternative” medicines.

Apparently, doctors have said that the type of cancer Daniel has can be treated successfully about 90 percent of the time, but that he only has about a 5 percent chance of survival if not treated.

A judge has decided that Daniel has been “medically neglected” by his parents and ordered that he be re-evaluated and treated with chemotherapy if doctors think it will be effective in helping him.

The parents cite religious reasons for not wanting the treatment.  What should be done?  Should the parents or the courts decide?  This is a tough one and has many interesting side stories.  Read a fuller discussion here.

Share your thoughts.

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3 Responses to Who Decides Medical Treatment for Children?

  1. Ben A says:

    I thought that the courts already ruled that it’s the child’s choice so long as he is of sound mind and is not being persuaded by a parent. That JW boy declined a blood transfusion and the courts allowed him to die.

    I have two thoughts on this one.

    #1: The evil thought

    I like that the government strong-arms its way into forcing us to do things. Because when we do something we disagree with, it puts the blame off of us.

    Therefore, when a person has a religious conviction against treatment, they can feel no guilt in their horrible treatment by their wicked overseeing government.

    In the end, the boy is healthy and his religious convictions are intact.

    #2: Good thought

    Don’t tread on me. Get off my back, government. I’m not paying you to tell me what I have to do when it concerns me or my children. So leave me be.

  2. Hi Tim

    In the “fuller discussion” found it interesting that
    “…an ethics committee would meet next week to talk about all the scenarios doctors may encounter.” This is in the event that Daniel himself, refuses to take the medicine.

    What will this committee discuss? Ways to remove the faith instilled in a child?! I wonder what lengths they will go to…

    This is a tough one for unbelievers to get their head around, but one whose eyes are fixed, not on this world, can see the other perspective.

    Do we preserve faith, or life? Don’t get me wrong, I am not against medical treatment, and I believe that God can, and does, work through doctors hands; but should a parent be convicted regarding the treatement of one entrusted into their care, then they stand before God for the decisions they make.

    Of course, the government will never see it this way, but hey, their view, nor their rulings, do not ultimately change the truth.

    Bless you.

  3. Pingback: 13-Year-Old Running From Medical Treatment « Theology Meeting Life

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