………and he dies?
Today, a judge in Minnesota decided that a 13 year old cancer patient’s family does NOT have the right to reject chemotherapy, for their son who has Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The family of the young man had decided, along with their son, that they wished to honor their religious beliefs to choose natural healing and alternative treatments. They had allowed one chemo treatment and then, allegedly stopped it. The court has allegedly found them to have medically neglected their son.
The family belongs to a religious organization called, the Nemenhad Band; they believe in natural healing for those in need. — Write Where You Are
Cue Twilight Zone jingle. This sounds eerily familiar. Can anybody spell “Terri Schiavo?”
The boy’s treating physician says withholding therapy is tantamount to executing him, placing probability of death at “95%.” Meanwhile, the child himself adamantly refuses it, saying he’d “bite the doctor’s arm off” if they tried to force him. — TwinCities.com
Well, Ms. Schiavo wasn’t a threat to bite anybody. That canine reflex response was left to Jeb! and his band of crusading moral zealots who claimed they could communicate with her despite her Swiss Cheese cortex.
If the object of the game is to save the boy’s life, then in my humble, uninformed, and unasked-for opinion, they should go with their doctors’ prescription.
But doesn’t the family have the moral authority to do what it thinks best for its loved ones, and conform to the spiritual directives it has voluntarily embraced? They don’t sound like a pack of irresponsible zanies whose judgment is a threat to themselves and others, possibly justifying intervention by government authority. Because that’s what this is: government authority intervening on a very personal intra-familial decision based on religious convictions.
If the sole object of the game is to save the boy’s life, then in my humble, uninformed, and unasked-for opinion, they should go with their doctors’ prescription. There better be damn good reason to step in……
……like saving a kid’s life, maybe? That was the justification Attorney General Jack Reno floated for firebombing the Branch Davidians at Waco. “To save the children,” remember?
Logically, there are four options: (a) The right person chooses right; (b) The right person chooses wrong; (c) The wrong person chooses right, (d) The wrong person chooses wrong.
I submit that in most people would agree that (a) is the best and (d) is the worst. My prejudice is that (b) trumps (c), although you can get stuck with some real sour outcomes. Like a dead 13 year old. But maybe a sour outcome is the price of preserving choice.
Of course, the real pleasure is watching the debate proceed among rivals who routinely, and maybe purposely, confuse (a) through (d) as they holler right past one another, regardless of the actual issue, whether it’s euthanasia, abortion, capital punishment, or, in this case, rejection of treatment. And then there’s the prior issue: who determines the identity of the the right and wrong person?
We’ll see how this one plays out. But I see a child’s funeral and maybe the first national apearance of a Nemenhad ceremony.