Daniel Hauser and his mom return on their own

I didn’t write about this before, but I’m sure quite a few of you have heard of Daniel Hauser. He’s 13 years old and has cancer. The doctors think that with chemotherapy he stands a very good chance of surviving. He went through one course of chemo, but then refused any more and the tumors have grown since then. Daniel and his parents said they thought chemo would kill him and they were going to try Native American holistic healing practices instead. (Snort.) He and his mom, Colleen, fled when child protective services got involved to force them to abide by the doctors’ orders.

Anyway, Daniel and his mom have returned voluntarily from Mexico to face the music. It looks like they just didn’t want to hide anymore. At any rate, Colleen promised she’ll do what the court advises for Daniel from now on. I hope she holds to that. I would be a lot more sympathetic if the chemo only stood a small chance of working, or if the doctors said it would only prolong his life but Daniel would die of the cancer in the end. But I expect if that was the case, the family court would not be getting involved. For the Hausers to refuse a treatment that is predicted to be 90% effective, in exchange for doing…well, nothing, is lunacy.

Being an atheist, of course I don’t believe in “faith healing,” nor do I believe in New Age-type treatments. Acupuncture and herbal remedies is about as far as I’m willing to go. I do believe in the right of parents to decide what’s best, medically, for their child (even if their decisions seem dumb to me), and the right of children to have input in their medical decisions once they reach their teens. But I don’t believe those rights should be without qualification. Their freedom ends when the medical condition becomes life-threatening. The protection of life is paramount.

A lot of people, perhaps even the majority, can be awfully stupid when it comes to medical decisions. Like, for example, people with high cholesterol who refuse to take, or stop taking, medications that could prolong their life. And who goes through their full course of antibiotics even after the symptoms disappear, every time? Also people who smoke, when they know perfectly well what the dangers are — I’ve never understood that at all. When Daniel Hauser turns 18, he’s allowed to be as much of a moron as he wants about this. Until then, he should do what the doctors say, because if he doesn’t, he’ll probably never reach 18 at all.

21 thoughts on “Daniel Hauser and his mom return on their own

  1. Aimee May 26, 2009 / 2:23 pm

    I think they got scared after the first chemo treatment and radiation. Chemo can be an awful thing, no doubt about it. Good to know they got scared back into their senses and came home to take the treatments.
    I think a 13 year old should have some say in his medical care, but not the final say. And I also think the fact that Daniel is severely learning disabled and unable to read or write weighs against him having as much say in his treatment as somebody else his age.

  2. Aimee May 26, 2009 / 2:42 pm

    PS: On people being morons about their medical treatment, I’d like to add one more: the obese person who gets a lap-band or some other “weight loss” procedure, and then continues to eat the same ridiculous diet they were eating before the surgery.

  3. Anthony May 26, 2009 / 2:43 pm

    What bugs me most about this whole affair is the “when white people adopt Native American practices and beliefs” factor, as if they could now be “one” with the Great Spirit and assume a heredity not their own.


    • Meaghan May 27, 2009 / 9:49 am

      You don’t think non-Native Americans should be allowed to adopt those beliefs? What about non-Asians that become Buddhists, etc.?

      • Anthony May 27, 2009 / 1:24 pm

        “Should (not) be allowed” is a bit harsh. Obviously, systems of beliefs and values cross ethnic lines. Just saying that it makes me queasy when, in this case, whites of European descent—a people who decimated the numbers of Native Americans TIMES NINE—purport to hold like beliefs.

      • Aimee May 27, 2009 / 1:43 pm

        Excellent. Anthony, you said that better than I could have, and in fewer words.
        I also would point out what Forthelost says a little rather down about the particular “movement” the Hausers were following being set up as a front to peddle quack medicines.
        Sincere appreciation of Native beliefs and practices is a good and admirable thing. Cherry-picking at those practices to futher one’s own personal agenda is not, especially when it leads to the harm or others.

  4. Aimee May 26, 2009 / 2:53 pm

    I know, it’s a huge eye-roller. If was Native American, I would be so annoyed. Like, who do they think they’re kidding?

    • Anthony May 26, 2009 / 3:25 pm

      Okay, my caveat—should have (ahem) stated this beforehand. I’m somewhere in the “1/32 — 1/64” range in terms of being Native American; one of my great-grandmothers was full-blood Cherokee, “blood” on other side of family too. So anyway, one of my former students, full-blood Lakota Sioux, invited me to sweat lodge. Of course I went, more than once, and, yes, it meant something, and no, I wasn’t raised to have any sort of consciousness about N.A. beliefs, values, etc.

      But it did mean something.

      So maybe I’m being a TEENSY bit hypocritcal.

      But only a “1/32 — 1/64” bit.

  5. Donde May 26, 2009 / 3:19 pm

    I’m gonna take what I think is the opposite stance Anthony took. If a Native American family did this people would be saying “Leave them alone! It’s their culture!” But a white family does it and it’s like, “You should know better! You’re white!” All whitey is ever told is how they should learn to appreciate other cultures. But the moment they do (like a white teenager listening to rap) they’re ridiculed by all sides.

    • Anthony May 26, 2009 / 3:29 pm

      I would beg to differ because, of course, there is a life involved.

      Otherwise, this family is fully welcome to believe what it chooses. Just not at the expense of their child.

  6. Aimee May 26, 2009 / 3:46 pm

    I would wager, if I was a wagering woman, that if this family really were Native Americans and tried to flee to avoid “western” style medical care, the outcome would have been mucht he same, EXCEPT that a few people would have done the “It’s their culture and they should be allowed to practice it” thing. Again, since it was a matter of health and safety, not many, and I believe the court would have stood firm.

  7. forthelost May 26, 2009 / 4:40 pm

    Of course, this isn’t even a set of real Native beliefs. It was set up under a loophole in the laws by a white guy to peddle quack medicine.

    • Anthony May 26, 2009 / 4:57 pm

      Excellent point.

  8. Anthony May 27, 2009 / 2:16 pm

    I’m glad all’s settled (apparently) and it’s back to chemo for Junior. I was about ready to point out that the Hauser clan evidently were descended from that infamous know-little, Mr. Kaspar Hauser, the so-called feral child of Nuremberg.

  9. Aimee May 27, 2009 / 2:35 pm

    *scratches head* Was Kasper one of those “children raised by wolves/badgers/tigers/possums type deals?

    • Anthony May 27, 2009 / 2:53 pm

      Moles. Raised by moles.

      Kasper’s worth a google. The Wiki entry’s pretty good. I think that the consensus today is that he was quite possibly fraudulent in representing his circumstances.

  10. Aimee May 27, 2009 / 3:11 pm

    Glurrrrggghhhhh! That’s all I got to say about Kasper and his moles.

    • Anthony May 27, 2009 / 4:11 pm

      Tsk-tsk! I daresay you would not be so cavalier with dear Kap if he were in fact heir to the House of Baden’s enormous riches!

      But no. He’s just another mole-boy on the vine to you. Sad.

      (You’d probably have at least some interest were he a gypsy though!)

  11. Aimee May 27, 2009 / 10:25 pm

    Or if he’d picked some animal besides moles. Moles, for godsakes! At least wolves or tigers would be slightly more believable. Or monkeys of some sort would be really interesting. I think, if there was any kind of study done, that monkeys taking charge of a human child and raising it would probably do the best job.

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