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Judge intervenes in teen cancer case

Sat., May 16, 2009

Teen’s parents rejected drugs for religious reasons

MINNEAPOLIS – A Minnesota couple who refused chemotherapy for their 13-year-old son was ordered Friday to have the boy re-evaluated to see if he would still benefit from the cancer treatment – or if it may already be too late.

Brown County District Judge John Rodenberg found Daniel Hauser has been “medically neglected” by his parents, Colleen and Anthony Hauser, who belong to a religious group that believes in using only natural healing methods practiced by some American Indians.

The judge allowed Daniel to stay with his parents, noting they love him and acted in good faith, but he gave them until Tuesday to get an updated chest X-ray and select an oncologist.

If the tumor has not grown and if Daniel’s prognosis remains as optimistic as doctors testified last week, then chemotherapy and possible radiation appear to be in Daniel’s best interest, Rodenberg wrote.

If chemotherapy is ordered and the family refuses, the judge said, Daniel will be placed in temporary custody.

It was unclear how the medicine would be administered if the boy fights it, which he said he would do.

According to Daniel’s court testimony, he believes the chemo will kill him, and said: “I’d fight it. I’d punch them and I’d kick them.”

Calvin Johnson, an attorney for Daniel’s parents, said the family is considering an appeal. For now, he said, Daniel is following the order and will have X-rays Monday.

Dr. Bruce Bostrom, a pediatric oncologist at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, diagnosed Daniel with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in January and recommended six rounds of chemotherapy.

He underwent one round in February, but stopped after that single treatment. He and his parents opted instead for “alternative medicines,” citing religious beliefs.

Doctors have said Daniel’s cancer had a 90 percent chance of being cured with chemotherapy and radiation. Without those treatments, doctors said his chances of survival are 5 percent. Child protection workers accused Daniel’s parents of medical neglect and went to court seeking custody.

Court testimony indicated Daniel’s tumor shrank after the first round of chemo, but has since grown.

His mother has been treating his cancer with herbal supplements, vitamins, ionized water and other natural alternatives – despite testimony from five doctors who agreed Daniel needed chemotherapy.


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