J. D. Heyes
Where once it was rare for courts of law to invade the privacy and purview of parents when it came to raising their children, in today’s America the wall between parental rights and the state’s Leviathan is increasingly being dismantled by activists disguised as public servants.
Karen Parisian of Minnetonka, Minn., told a local television station during a recent interview that her cancer-stricken eight-year-old daughter, Sarah, was having a lot of difficulties following a single cycle of chemotherapy.
Besides the standard hair loss, Sarah lost weight and suffered from nausea and a sore throat.
“The week that we were to start chemo she was sleeping 22 hours a day,” her mother told WCCO-TV.
Because of the chemo’s negative effects, Sarah’s family wanted her to forego further treatments. Instead, they wanted to use alternative medicine techniques because a) they know alternative medicine; and b) it was their choice to make.
Or so they thought.
Use our plan – Or lose your daughter
“She is very sick from the standard treatment so we wanted to explore and option of modifying the treatment so that it would be more appropriate for Sarah,” said Karen Parisian.
The Parisians feared the side-effects of the treatments, but doctors felt like every day Sarah did not get chemo was a risk, so they notified child protective services, who then went to court.
“So in order to modify her treatment, we had to go in front of a judge and fortunately we seem to be working this out,” she said.
But the order to appear in court came with an onerous caveat: if the Parisians failed to show up and work with the court on a treatment plan, they could lose custody of Sarah.
“As parents, you don’t have the right to choose the kind of treatment you want your child to have,” a flabbergasted and exasperated Karen Parisian said.
Dr. Kevin Conners, Sarah’s cancer specialist, told the TV station he believed there was a way to make both sides happy.
“Do what’s best for the patient,” he said. “Let’s take her case as an individual case and not try to fit her into what is standard protocol and look at her as an individual. What she can tolerate what other therapies added to a traditional approach is going to be best for her.”
So, after the court allowed the Parisians to be parents, Sarah is now at home and is being treated under the court-ordered “plan” that still includes chemotherapy.
“It’s going to include some chemotherapy, but it’s going to include a dose that is not going to send her tipping over the edge,” she said.
Making a bad situation worse?
WCCO-TV reported that the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office said it respects the right of parents to make decisions for their children. But officials there said they “had strong evidence that the Parisians weren’t doing what was best for Sarah,” according to the report.
It wasn’t clear what that “strong evidence” consisted of, but what is clear is that the Parisians’ parental rights were not very well-respected.
It also wasn’t clear whether Dr. Connors, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office or the court advised the Parisians of the results from recent studies showing that chemotherapy can undermine itself by causing a rogue response in healthy cells, thereby developing a resistance to treatment.
A study by Seattle researchers led by Peter Nelson and colleagues at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, published in Nature Medicine, found that 90 percent of patients with solid cancers, such as breast, prostate, lung and colon, that spread – metastatic disease – develop resistance to chemotherapy.
Translated, that means that “chemotherapy could actually help some cancers survive, grow faster, and resist treatment,” The Week magazine reported.
If that happens to Sarah, will Connors, the attorney’s office and the court step up and take responsibility for circumventing parental rights?
Somehow, we doubt it.