Lots of you have been talking about the story of Daniel Hauser, the cancer stricken teen who has returned voluntarily with his mother after fleeing Minnesota to avoid chemotherapy. The family are members of a religious group that believe in natural healing methods. Do you have the right to refuse medical treatment? What’s the point in forcing someone to accept treatment?
This blogger sides with the parents rather than the state because cancer treatments can be unnecessarily vicious. But Kate Dailey on the Newsweek blog believes that in this case, using the best interests of the child not to provide treatment is just not good enough.
This Christian theologian agrees
“In these cases I advise what the great Reformer Martin Luther advised — take your medicine and put your trust in God. For parents, this means to give your child the best care that modern medicine can offer, and to entrust your precious child to God and to God alone”
And the story is not isolated.
Leilani Neumann has been found guilty of reckless homicide for praying instead of getting medical treatment for her diabetic daughter.
Another example that comes up time and time again is that of Jehovah’s witnesses refusing blood transfusions. The story of Bethany Huges has been back in the news in Canada. She was diagnosed with Leukaemia when she was 17. She needed a life saving blood transfusion but did everything she could to refuse the treatment, even pulling tubes out of her arms. Her father agreed to the transfusions against the wishes of her family and the matter ended up in court. Should soceity stop interfering and respect a parent’s right to decide what constitutes suitable care for their child?
In the case of the Hausers, over 50% of respondents on this MSNBC poll agreed that parents should get an ultimate say in a child’s medical treatment. That surprised me. As this forum discusses, parent’s might have responsability for a child, but they do not own the child.
So who should have the ultimate say in life saving treatment – the patient, the parents or the state?