Feature

Treating Daniel Hauser's cancer

What should the state do when parents refuse chemotherapy for a child's treatable cancer?

What happenedAnthony Hauser held a news conference Thursday to urge his wife, Colleen Hauser, to return home with their 13-year-old son, Daniel, so he could undergo chemotherapy for Hodgkin's lymphoma. A court ordered the treatment after Daniel Hauser refused to continue chemotherapy because he wanted to rely on Native American healing practices. Colleen and Daniel Hauser fled several days ago and are believed to be traveling to Mexico. (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

What the commentary said"It's not a parent's place to martyr their own children," said Dr. Michael Kessler in The Washington Post. So a Minnesota court was right to say that the state should take custody of 13-year-old Daniel Hauser to treat his Hodgkin's lymphoma with chemotherapy. Daniel Hauser's cancer is "highly treatable," and the state should make sure he gets the care he needs.

Yanking Daniel Hauser out of his family, though, seems a bit extreme, said Valerie Reiss in BeliefNet. Don't get me wrong—"I'm with the judge on this." The kid belongs in chemotherapy. But he also belongs with his mom and dad, even if they have differences with the state on what's best for their child.

Don't judge Colleen Hauser too harshly, said Dr. Rahul K. Parikh in Salon. The chemotherapy treatment it takes to beat cancer "is a grueling regimen that can indeed give even a dying person pause," and the Hausers only backed out after Daniel Hauser felt its "violent effects" in round one of his treatment. Still, they should only use the Native American remedies as a complement to the "medications that will save Daniel's life."

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