A judge ordered a 13-year-old Minnesota boy with a treatable form of cancer to undergo chemotherapy against his parents' wishes.
Daniel Hauser, of Sleepy Eye, suffers from Hodgkin's lymphoma. The boy, who claims to be an Indian medicine man, became the center of a case involving charges of parental neglect when he stopped chemotherapy after a single treatment. He opted instead for alternative medicines, prompting child protection workers to seek custody. Doctors had recommended six chemo treatments, followed by radiation.
On Friday, a state judge agreed with government social workers that the boy has been "medically neglected." He will stay in the custody of his parents, but Colleen and Anthony Hauser have until May 19 to select an oncologist.
Dr. Bruce Bostrom, a pediatric oncologist at Childrens Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota and Daniel's treating physician, estimated the risk of death from forgoing treatment at about 95%. He testified that Daniel's tumor had grown since he had his one round of treatment.
"In my opinion the benefits of treatment far outweigh the risks of treatment," Bostrom testified last week.
Daniel's mother, Colleen, testified that she approved of using western medicine during a life threatening emergency, such as a heart attack, but she said that did not apply.
"My son is not in any medical danger at this point," she said, adding that Daniel's first treatment left him "beyond depression." She said Daniel wouldn't submit to it again.
"He said he will bite the doctor's arm off," she said.
The family asserts membership in an American Indian religious organization called Nemenhah, though they don't claim to be Indians. In an affidavit, Daniel said he is a medicine man and church elder.