Friday, June 10, 2005

Clash over girl's cancer

Child welfare officials took a 12-year-old cancer patient from her parents' custody, accusing them of blocking her radiation treatment.

During a court hearing Wednesday, Michele and Edward Wernecke asked juvenile court Judge Carl Lewis to bar doctors from providing radiation therapy for daughter Katie, who is now in a Houston hospital, until a hearing next week to determine whether she will stay in state custody.

They say their daughter's cancer is in remission and they object to the radiation following a round of chemotherapy. Katie was diagnosed with Hodgkins disease, a cancer of the lymph system, in January.

A Driscoll Children's Hospital pediatric oncologist quoted in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times said standard protocol for children in advanced stages is to complete chemotherapy and radiation therapy, with blood transfusions, and that halting such treatment increases the risk of death.
The couple, members of the Church of God, have said they oppose blood transfusions unless they were from Katie's mother. But the couple's attorney, Daniel Horne, said religion wasn't at issue in the fight. Rather, they say doctors have not answered questions about radiation side effects. "This issue is about parental rights, not about religious rights," Horne said. "They just want to be informed of her treatment."
However enraged you may be by the parents' thinking here, this isn't a step down a slippery slope; it's a flying leap off a cliff. If we're going to have the State force blood transfusions and radiation therapy for children against their parents' wills, what next? Will the State take custody if parents refuse tonsillectomys? What a doctor prescribes, say, Vioxx and the parents refuse? How about Ritalin? What about vaccinations? What if their kids show up at school in September 100 lbs overweight? 50 lbs? 20?


Blogger Donna said...

Enraged at the parent's position? Not at all. You ask about the slippery slope. US citizens have been sliding down that slope for years.

Forced vaccination of children is one such example. It's happened to several families in a number of states. And in at least one case that I recall, the situation was disgusting. The kid had had a severe vaccine reaction so the parents didn't want to let any of their kids have more vaccines. The gov't stepped in, took the kids into custody, vaccinated them and then gave them back to their parents. Sickening and it's already happening.

Parents having their kids taken away because they refuse to give their child Ritalin is another example where the gov't has already impeded parents' right to make medical and health decisions on their kids behalf.

The slope is well-worn. This story is no surprise. And beware when the new Patriot Act gets its revision in the new year. Last time the pharma industry (through one Congressman) managed to sneak in a provision that would force all American citizens to accpet experimental vaccines to counter potential biological attacks (such as smallpox). Thankfully, this one phrase was noticed by one advocate, it was debated and reworded or deleted (I don't recall which). But be ever vigilant...your gov't has some nasty tricks up it's sleeves. And I don't think parents' rights are at the top of their list of concerns.

2:37 PM  
Blogger SantaBarbarian said...

and is the state going to pay for these force procedures?

3:32 PM  

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