- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 16, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS | A Minnesota judge has ruled that a 13-year-old cancer patient whose parents want to treat him with “alternative” medicine must seek conventional medical treatment.

In a 58-page ruling Friday, Brown County District Judge John Rodenberg found that Daniel Hauser has been “medically neglected” and is in need of child-protection services.

Judge Rodenberg said Daniel will stay in the custody of his parents, but Colleen and Anthony Hauser have until Tuesday to get an updated chest X-ray for their son and select an oncologist

The judge wrote that Daniel has only a “rudimentary understanding at best of the risks and benefits of chemotherapy.”

“He does not believe he is ill currently. The fact is that he is very ill currently.”



Daniel’s court-appointed attorney, Philip Elbert, called the decision unfortunate.

“I feel it’s a blow to families,” he said. “It marginalizes the decisions that parents face every day in regard to their children’s medical care. It really affirms the role that big government is better at making our decisions for us.”

Mr. Elbert said he hadn’t spoken to his client yet. The phone line at the Hauser home in Sleepy Eye in southwestern Minnesota had a busy signal Friday. The parents’ attorney had no immediate comment but planned to issue a statement.

Daniel was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and stopped chemotherapy in February after a single treatment. He and his parents opted instead for “alternative medicines” based on their religious beliefs.

Child protection workers accused Daniel’s parents of medical neglect; but in court, his mother insisted that the boy wouldn’t submit to chemotherapy for religious reasons and she said she wouldn’t comply if the court orders it.

Doctors have said Daniel’s cancer had up to a 90 percent chance of being cured with chemotherapy and radiation. Without those treatments, doctors said his chances of survival are 5 percent.

Daniel’s parents have been supporting what they say is their son’s decision to treat the disease with nutritional supplements and other alternative treatments favored by the Nemenhah Band, a Missouri-based religious group that believes in natural healing methods advocated by some American Indians.

After the first chemotherapy treatment, family members said they wanted a second opinion, said Dr. Bruce Bostrom, a pediatric oncologist who recommended Daniel undergo chemotherapy and radiation.

They later informed him that Daniel would not undergo any more chemotherapy. Dr. Bostrom said Daniel’s tumor shrank after the first chemotherapy session, but X-rays showed it has grown since he stopped the chemotherapy.

“My son is not in any medical danger at this point,” Mrs. Hauser testified at a court hearing last week. She also testified that Daniel is a medicine man and elder in the Nemenhah Band.

The family’s attorney, Calvin Johnson, said Daniel made the decision himself to refuse chemotherapy, but Brown County said he did not have an understanding of what it meant to be a medicine man or an elder.

Court filings also indicated that Daniel has a learning disability and can’t read.

The Hausers have eight children. Mrs. Hauser told the New Ulm Journal newspaper that the family’s Catholicism and adherence to the Nemenhah Band are not in conflict, and that she has used natural remedies to treat illnesses.

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