What do you think—should courts decide how you care for your child’s health? Tough question, since the law is ultimately supposed to protect people, and children are often in need of such safeguarding. But how much is too much?

A Minnesota judge ruled yesterday that a 13-year-old cancer patient must be evaluated by a doctor to determine if the boy would benefit from restarting chemotherapy over his parents’ objections. The family belongs to a Native American spiritual organization called the Nemenhah Band, which believes in natural healing. The boy—who is considered a medicine man and an elder in the group–has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Apparently he has made the decision himself to refuse chemotherapy (he only went through one session) and instead treat the cancer with nutritional supplements and other alternative therapies.

The treating oncologist, Dr. Bruce Bostrom, from Children’s Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota has stated that the boy’s tumor had shrunk after the sole chemotherapy session. Other doctors have said that the boy has a 90% survival rate if he continues with chemotherapy; but if he opts out, they say, he only has a five percent chance of survival.

The family, and the boy according to his legal team, want the right to choose whatever treatment option best suits them. But the court has ruled that the boy is unable to properly make that decision, stating that he has a learning disability* and can’t read. According to Judge John Rodenberg, the boy has only a “rudimentary understanding at best of the risks and benefits of chemotherapy. … he does not believe he is ill currently. The fact is that he is very ill currently.”

And so the judgment is that the boy must adhere to the doctors orders regarding chemotherapy, and if the parents refuse, the boy will be taken in protective custody. But it gets even more complicated. Check this out: If the boy refuses the chemo–hold onto your hats–doctors do not yet know how they will administer the drugs to him. Why don’t they just pin him down and inject it into him by force? Isn’t that the way to ensure compliance—gangstick ’em, Frances Farmer style?

Tsk, tsk, tsk…now if I haven’t heard it all. OK, first let me accede: these Nemenhah Band people are a bunch of nuts—no doubt about it. But who the hell is the government to step in and tell people what to do with their own bodies. Ok, ok…if the kid was absolutely clueless in all this, then maybe the parents are negligent and responsible for child abuse. But this kid knows what he wants. No, he doesn’t understand the full implications. Nonsense! He knows enough; and anyway, who the hell understands the full implications? Nobody has a complete handle on cancer; if they did, it wouldn’t be the new second leading cause of death worldwide.

Here’s the main problem with this ruling: At what point is governmental protection simply intrusion? Sure this is a tough case—as I’ve said, the family is teetering on the brink of lunacy. But ruling for court mandate in these complicated cases can far too easily lead to the same in other less complicated cases—like mandatory vaccinations, or worse, court-ordered psychiatric drugging of children, particularly those in “protective custody” (to get your bloodcurdling, read this frightening essay on state-prescribed medicating of children).

To what degree do we want our freedoms taken away, like the right to choose what each of us deems right for our family’s health and well being? It seems innocuous enough, this case in Minnesota—for sure it’s dealing with loonies right up there with Christian Scientists, those nut jobs refusing any medical treatment at all because of their belief that God will protect them. But this case is bigger, much bigger, because it’s deciding where Big Brother has the right to step in and dictate what we can and cannot do with regard to our families’ health. No vitamins—doctors say they aren’t necessary. Vaccinate your children or go to jail—like in Belgium. And absolutely, positively, without question you must take your pharmaceuticals because…well…doctor knows best. Just one question: What the hell are they going to do if that kid dies anyway? Doh!

*Learning disorder was a term coined by the psychiatry profession in 1963 to include children in the ever-growing envelope of mental disorders and to provide funds for disabled children in schools.

5 Responses to Where We’re Headed

  1. Avatar Drew Hall says:

    Great Blog NICKO…..I like BJ palmer’s quote…..”even if 250 million poeple believe in a bad idea it is still a bad idea”

    We do not have ahealth care system We have a disease care system. And even if the parents of the ancer patient go agaisnthe grain of”COnventional” thought when did it become a crime? Big brother and corporate america have become to close of budies and the day is here where profits and cohersion take precidence over common sense and freedom. And the sad part is that the majorty of the publc is deaf dumb blind and follows the “experts” . As Bj said just because 250 million people believe medicine is the path to travel upon doesn;t mean it is right!!!!!

    We are headed toward 1984 very quickly my friend. We mustake up our arms and fight.As braveheart said…..YOu may be able to take my life but YOU WILL NEVER take my Freeeeeedooom……AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

  2. Avatar rena morris says:

    Being a mother I would do anything to make my children safe. Cancer in children is such a cruel thing.
    I feel for this boy.
    Firstly, he’s under the illusion that god will look after him and make it all better, but we all know better.
    Secondly, he has parents that think God will look after him, and he won’t.
    Cancer will kill him, like it does. And even then, the parents will still worship this God who does this to children.
    The chemotherapy is his best shot here. Being a mother, I would go for that. But I’m not being blinkered like this poor boys parents.
    Because of his parents views, he will refuse help thinking that he will be ok. He just doesn’t understand the enormity of his illness.
    I fear for this boy’s outcome, which is probably why the authorities are jumping in.
    I’m afraid that, if I had the powers, I would do the same…..

  3. Avatar Dawn Jeronowitz says:

    Well, hold you down and stab you with needles is exactly what they do when docs force medicate. It’s a terrifying experience that leaves one screaming, praying, resisting, and feeling as though someone is trying to kill you. All the while helpless, as there’s no way to defend yourself against your predator. In the moment of attack, you must come to terms that this may your very last breath on earth… the needles jab all over your body and your heart pounds your chest in pure terror…
    Western ‘medicine’ is the greatest threat to American society. Having numerous friends battling cancer, most exhausting chemotherapy efforts with little cancer combat success, I find more and more often I’m attending fundraisers for those seeking alternative treatments in countries that have far safer and more successful cancer treatments & results… none of which are covered by Western Healthcare Insurance. Medical tourism is an enormously growing industry. Mexico, South America and India are leading the way with top-notch care in resort like settings for a small fraction of U.S. Healthcare expense.
    I agree with the boy & his mom. They know what’s best for them. So many natural alternatives with proven efficacy, so many healthier life-saving choices beyond Western medical practices. For a nation barely 240 years old, surely those that have survived 5000 + years have a huge database of knowledge and insight for healing.
    In the worst case scenario, if the boy dies young from cancer or chemo, well, it’s not like any one of us will avoid death.. and maybe this boy has served his life purpose and God is calling him home. Let’s hope he lives to be an old man, but whatever decisions he and his family make are their choice alone to make.

  4. Avatar Jodi says:

    A couple in Canada were sentenced today (the father to jail time, the mother house arrest) for the death of their son. He died of meningitis. The parents were treating him on advice of a naturopath. It’s a shame the symptoms were missed and his life lost – however I’m baffled at the outcome when conventional medicine kills people everyday. Doesn’t make sense to me whatsoever.

    • Dr. Nick Campos Dr. Nick Campos says:

      I agree with you Jodi – death by medical error usually get settled with financial payout, not jail time for doctors (or parents), even in cases of negligence. These people lost a child, and even to the judge’s discernment that “neither intended to put the boy’s life at risk.” So why jail? To prevent others for, God forbid, going against medical omniscience? But iatrogenic illness, or death caused by medical mistake…uh here’s $half a mil, sorry for your loss…

      Thank you for sharing, Jodi.

      Relevant article here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/lethbridge-meningitis-trial-sentence-parents-toddler-died-1.3650653

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