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Something's missing here...

I read the stories about Daniel Hauser, the 13-year-old Minnesota boy who is on the run with his mother after a judge ordered the boy to continue chemotherapy to treat his non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

His father pleaded with his wife and son to come home and "be a family again". What are the chances of that happening when the outcome awaiting them is jail for the mother, and a treatment regimen for the boy, as well as placement in a foster home away from his family?

I don't think I'd come home either if I knew that was waiting for me. I think I'd want to kill myself and my child first.

I know that's extreme. But when I'm being threatened with the possible loss of my child by forces out of my hands, it's hard to ignore the "fight-or-flight" reflex.

So I know what Daniel and his mother are going through right now.

I am certain that when Daniel got sick, his parents did what anyone else would - seek the best care for their son. But when the first round of chemo was too painful to bear, who could blame the parents and Daniel for seeking other options, other opinions?

Who could watch their child bear so much pain? I don't know if I could.

Was any support for Daniel and his family present while they sought conventional medical treatment? Were options discussed? Did somebody sit down with his parents and say "this is what's going to happen and what we could try? Did the medical profession seek to form an alliance with Daniel and his family in the first place?

Or was it "our way or the highway" - or in this case, a courtroom?

When my husband, from whom I've been separated now for over two years, had liver cancer, his doctors tried two rounds of chemo immolization, something similar to what was forst tried with Daniel. I was basically excluded from any discussions regarding his treatment. At the time, I was raising our daughter, who was a preschooler at the time. It pained us to see the suffering he was going through. I was intent on protecting our child from seeing what her father was going through, so I wasn't that involved with my husband's care. I don't think his family has completely forgiven me for that. But I had to be around to see his suffering, to clean up after he vomited, to make sure he got to his appointments. In short, I wasn't a wife but a caretaker. In the end, that was the beginning to the end of a marriage that was disastrous due to his alcohol abuse.

So it's easy for the medical profession to exclude family members from sharing treatment options and using intimidation to force them to go along with it.

In the case with my husband, the second round went very badly. The hospital released him even though he couldn't keep food down, and that's a big no-no. I had to take him to the ER three times after that in ten days because he was constantly vomiting. The third time they finally admitted him in critical condition, and the doctors were screaming at me because I didn't "bring him in sooner", and I screamed back that I did and it was their fuckup, not mine. As the story went, he stayed three months until he had a liver transplant and recovered from a subsequent stroke.

If the medical community did more to form a partnership with his family, this would not happen. If there was an advocate with Daniel and his family, if there was strong external support for the family, a judge would not have to step in. Daniel could have his alternative treatments along with the conventional treatment, and he might be on the road to recovery.

Instead, his family has been broken. Daniel faces a lonely road to an uncertain future without his family when he needs them the most. His mother would be jailed for a time, and his father would not have the family he pleaded for. If Daniel dies then, it would not be his parents' fault, for the state has taken their parental rights away. Sure, they might press manslaughter charges against the parents for withheld or delayed treatment, but wouldn't have a case.

So something is missing from the story, and I bet it's a case of misplaced communication that led to the clash of a family going through an incredibly rough time and a state imposing its will on them.

Of course I hope for nothing but the best for Daniel and his family. No one should have to go through what they're going through.

But to the state of Minnesota, I say damn you.

Comments

( 1 thought shared — Speak your mind )
donnalee_kiss
May. 21st, 2009 02:26 pm (UTC)
Just my opinion, I have real issues with alcoholics who make themselves sick, then need liver transplants.
( 1 thought shared — Speak your mind )

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