Daniel Hauser, the Minnesota 13-year-old with a very treatable cancer, will probably get the medical help he needs. He and his mother have returned to Minnesota after fleeing court-ordered treatment.
In this particular instance I think that what the doctors recommended, chemotherapy and possibly radiation treatments, is a good idea.
On the other hand, I am not exactly gleeful that American courts have demonstrated their power to force parents to submit their children to officially-sanctioned medical procedures.
Again, in this case I think that Daniel Hauser will benefit from a regimen of chemotherapy. And that, without it, he will most likely die. The benefit/risk ratio, based on what we've been told, makes the decision seem obvious.
However, I think it's well to remember that doctors and judges can make mistakes. And, may not always have values that are consistent with those of the patient and patient's family. I'll grant that I have a personal stake in this. I'm someone:
- Who survived a medical experiment
- Whose mother suffered a drug-induced stroke due to a medical expert's bungling
- Whose beliefs are somewhat counter-cultural when it comes to life issues
- "Medical Procedures, Imminent Death, Decisions, and Catholic Teachings"
(May 21, 2009)
- "Daniel Hauser and Mother Fleeing Chemo"
(May 20, 2009)
- "Medical Ethics and Human Experimentation: Why I Take it Personally"
(February 3, 2009)
- "Lawyer: Mom prepared to allow son to undergo chemotherapy"
CNN (May 25, 2009)
- "Key events in the Daniel Hauser case"
Minneapolis Star-Tribune (May 25, 2009)
- "Sheriff: Boy who fled chemo returns to Minnesota"
The Associated Press (May 25, 2009)