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single15-Nov-2014ethics/moralityIseult by votes25150.0%


What side are you on - girl should be treated with traditional medicine or not?

Judge rejects application to take aboriginal girl from family for chemo

Court dismisses McMaster application, saying family has right to choose aboriginal medicine

By John Rieti, CBC News Posted: Nov 14, 2014 5:01 AM ET Last Updated: Nov 14, 2014 12:59 PM ET

An Ontario judge has dismissed an application to take an aboriginal girl from her family for chemotherapy.

The judge was deciding whether the Children's Aid Society should intervene in the case of an aboriginal girl whose family removed her from chemotherapy at a Hamilton hospital in favour of traditional medicine. The girl has been undergoing treatment for leukemia in Florida.

Judge Gethin Edward has presided over the complicated and potentially precedent-setting Brantford, Ont., court case since it began on Sept. 25.

Edward ruled that the young girl needs protection, but that the court had also to consider how aboriginal family rights apply in the case. As part of that consideration, Edward described the traditional Haudenosaunee creation story to point out that practice of traditional medicine existed before contact with Europeans.

Full article:

7I agree with judge's decision
4The girl should unergo modern medical treatment for leukemia
4I'm not familiar with the case, I didn't read the article
2I don't care one way or another
0I have a different opinion

posted 15-Nov-2014 12:50pm  
I do not know enough about this to make a comment
Biggles Bronze Star Survey Creator
posted 15-Nov-2014 2:12pm  
She is very likely to survive with chemotherapy (90 - 95% according to her doctors). She is virtually certain to die if she is only "treated" using traditional medicine. If she were an adult and capable of making a decision for herself, then she would have every right to choose whatever treatment she wished, and should be supported by her doctors in doing so. But she is a child who isn't able to make that decision. Her right to life should be protected by the law. The judge's decision is essentially allowing the child's parents to euthanise her, despite the fact she has a very good chance of surviving with chemotherapy. I can't find the words to describe how utterly despicable and disgusting that is to me.

The right to live according to your cultural beliefs should not allow someone to act in a way that is otherwise reprehensible.
(reply to Biggles) posted 15-Nov-2014 3:18pm  
If the girl was not Native, this whole thing would probably not be an issue. The courts would force the parents to have the daughter undergo the treatment. I don't know how familiar you our with First World Nations issues in Canada (obviously don't blame you if you're not), but they tend to be held up to different standard in the court system. White guilt, and all that.
Biggles Bronze Star Survey Creator
(reply to Iseult) posted 15-Nov-2014 3:59pm  
I'm not very familiar with First World Nations issues, but it seems similar to the blind eye that was turned to issues like female genital mutilation and forced marriage in the UK. I'm all for sensitivity to people's cultural backgrounds, but not when that contravenes the basic human rights of others.
(reply to Biggles) posted 15-Nov-2014 6:57pm  
Uhm... it's a bit different, I think. It's hard to summarize it without writing an essay.

In a nutshell, Native Americans are given a special status in Canada because of their history. As long as they fulfill certain conditions, they are exempt from having to pay the sales tax, and there are other perks that I can't name off the top of my head. However, they're also, statistically, one of the most underprivileged groups in Canada, marginalized, living in poverty, and have a lot of issues with substance abuse. I don't want to say too much because I'm no expert on this subject by any means, but the general consensus is that it's okay with give them special exceptions (i.e. allowing a mother to take her daughter off leukemia treatment) because of their special status and because of the way they were treated throughout the history.

I hope my explanation does not come biased in any way, because, as I said, it's a touchy subject in Canada (yes, Canada is not all sugar and spice, we do have issues).
posted 16-Nov-2014 2:59am  
Natural medicine is my choice.

This reminds me of the case of 3 year old Chad Green back in 1977. The court took the young boy from his loving parents and family, who wanted to treat the boy by natural means, and forced chemo on him. When the parents finally won custody back, the boy was damaged from the chemo, he died.

I tell my family and friends....STAY AWAY FROM CHEMO. Go the natural way. All cancers can be healed, if done naturally.
posted 16-Nov-2014 7:22am  
Regardless of background, it seems like the girl and her family should have the right to choose the treatment they receive.
The state imposing chemo (which can be quite unpleasant as far as I know) on a young girl makes me uneasy.
I do think their fools for not choosing chemo, but it's their choice.
Biggles Bronze Star Survey Creator
posted 16-Nov-2014 11:29am  
I definitely think that people should have sovereignty over their own bodies and make decisions regarding their treatment where they are able to do so. The ethics of my profession forbid me from forcing treatment on an unwilling patient, provided they have the mental capacity to make that decision. I've definitely had patients choose treatment paths that I disagree with, and in those cases, my job is to support them as best I can. It hasn't altered our doctor-patient relationship, because we've been able to have a sensible discussion about it and find out what I can still offer them within the limits of their choice. People who can't make decisions for themselves are different and they should not be left to live or die depending on whether or not they happen to have been born into a culture that believes things that are objectively untrue. We aren't talking about life prolonging or palliative chemotherapy here, we're are talking about curative treatment. If the doctors were trying to push chemotherapy to gain an extra year, or as a last ditch attempt that was extremely unlikely to succeed, then I would be all for it being the parents' choice - there have been studies that have shown that most doctors would decline active treatment for many terminal illnesses because they often aren't worth it. But this child could live another sixty, seventy, eighty years. The child's right to life surely trumps her parents' right to their act according to their cultural beliefs (not her beliefs, not while she is a child who could reject them as she grows up).

What I don't understand is why the child has to be taken away from her parents, because that makes the risk/benefit more complex. Surely the court could order that chemotherapy should go ahead, and the parents would be compelled to comply?

Those who have said they agree with the judges decision are essentially saying that it is better for this child to die, than for her parents to have to allow proven medical therapy in addition to practising their own beliefs.
Biggles Bronze Star Survey Creator
(reply to Iseult) posted 16-Nov-2014 11:31am  
Special status is one thing, allowing a child to die is another.
Biggles Bronze Star Survey Creator
posted 16-Nov-2014 4:29pm  
A good article here:

Key quote: "In essence, the 11-year-old girl with leukemia is going to be sacrificed at the altar of Six Nations culture. I don't think it will matter much to her if her throat is slit or if she is allowed to die from a curable cancer, she will still be deprived of reaching adulthood."
posted 17-Nov-2014 5:36am  
I am not sure which side I am on. As long as the parents are doing something and having the condition monitored then I see no problem.
(reply to Biggles) posted 17-Nov-2014 5:38am  
So the article is for the childs rights and that we should do everything in our power to make sure they reach adulthood? Quoting from the Conclusion in the article (sorry to open this can of worms, and this is not directed personally at you Biggles):

"To me these cases are crystal clear. Adults can treat themselves anyway they wish. However, parents do not have the right to harm or neglect their children for any reason. One of the primary duties of the state is to protect the vulnerable, those who cannot protect themselves. There is a broad consensus that children are a vulnerable population and need at least a basic level of protection."

Yet the state allows 3rd trimester abortions (at least here) upholding the mothers right to choose LIFE OR DEATH for this child. We can't have it both ways folks. Are we protecting the child or are we protecting the parents right to choose?

And I know the argument that well the child isn't born so it is not a person yet. Bull-crap! There was a tragedy in the one church I sing at where a pregnant mother was in a car accident suffered extensive head injuries and was pronounced brain dead at arrival at the hospital. The doctor in charge decided to try and save the child and take it out premature (7 weeks premature, she was 1 pound 15oz). He saw life there that needed to try and be saved, not aborted. They got her out and immediately placed her on life support for the next 3 months where she was released from the hospital to her father. A miracle of life. Ok let the blasting begin, I have my flak jacket on.
(reply to Lysannus) posted 17-Nov-2014 8:42am  
In this, you make an argument for Roe v Wade which placed the dividing line at the viability of the fetus. They observed that this point would move earlier as medical technology advanced (although to me it appears that the point hasn't moved all that much, only that a higher percentage of preemies who make it to that point now survive). I always thought that was a good political compromise.

The problem is the number of people arguing against even that most reasonable position, the people who want to make abortions even in the first trimester illegal. Some people go so far as trying to ban things like Plan B (aka morning after pill) which prevent a pregnancy from starting in the first place. It's not just a handful of nuts pushing this extreme agenda; it's a whole lotta nuts who've been all too successful politically. Against that kind of dangerous agenda, extremism the other way is entirely predictable, even necessary.

I would be okay with laws limiting 3rd trimester abortions to only those cases of clear danger to the pregnant woman. In fact, I think that's what happens most of the time anyway. Thing is, because of the strong push to ban abortions across the board, I don't dare allow even a little slipping for concern that it'll go too far. A fundamentalist christian friend who's strongly anti-abortion once suggested a compromise of no public monies going to fund abortions but they remain legal and we put the issue entirely behind us. There's no way to guarantee that's as far as it goes and we all know it.

Thus polarization becomes more extreme and entrenched.
Biggles Bronze Star Survey Creator
(reply to Lysannus) posted 17-Nov-2014 8:57am  
I was discussing this case with an eleven year old child, where there is no grey area legally or morally about whether or not she is a person in her own right. If you want to debate the legal/ethical issues surrounding assigning rights to the foetus then that's fine, but I don't think it really impacts on this case.
posted 17-Nov-2014 11:43am  
I agree with the judge as long as the girl does too.
I don't like to see children suffer because of their faith, as it is with Jehovah Witnesses not allowing blood transfusions but the child can believe just as strongly as its parents and choose no treatment as well. Then arises the question of indoctrination. It's why I believe that the child's choice, regardless of indoctrination, is valid. If he or she believes as strongly in their faith, then it's their fate and we have no business dictating to them what to do.
I also believe in assisted suicide. We may not choose to be born but can't we have a little control and be allowed to go if we need to?
posted 18-Nov-2014 11:07am  
I think it would be presumptuous for me to "take sides". I read the article. I'm confused about the Ontario/Florida part. It seems odd that an Ontario court is making a decision regarding medical treatments that are happening in Florida. Clearly, there is a lot more to this than what is presented in the article. I will say that I don't generally support quackery. However, I also support aboriginal self-determination.
LindaH Silver Star Survey Creator
posted 22-Nov-2014 3:10pm  
If I were to take sides, I'd say probably not. I don't have strong feelings on this, but my argument would be that she is just a minor, and when it comes to life and death decisions, it's probably best to go with statistics. I don't know much about traditional medicine or how it works, but if chemo works better, why play with a kid's life?
posted 23-Nov-2014 9:54pm  
I'm with the judge allowing her family to retain their rights as aboriginal spiritual beliefs. It sucks to have to argue about this.
posted 1-Dec-2014 1:00pm  
"Traditional" medicine for disease is nearly worthless, only a profit maker. Emergency medicine is acceptable, i.e. broken bones, burns....

I know two women who were healed with the Hoxsey Formula. One had a 6 lb.cancer tumor in her abdomen. The other woman cancer throughout her body. They ate healthy, from scratch cooking and took the Hoxsey Formula. They went to the Bio Medical Clinic in Mexico. I've been there, it's good.

The AMA wouldn't accept the Hoxsey formula, offered for free, by Harry Hoxsey, There was a stipulation that the Hoxsey treatment be given free to those that couldn't afford it. The AMA wouldn't accept the deal, said they had to make so many $millions in profit. Read the book "You Don't Have to Die" by Harry Hoxsey.
(reply to LJD) posted 2-Dec-2014 4:44am  
> The AMA wouldn't accept the Hoxsey formula, offered for free, by
> Harry Hoxsey, There was a stipulation that the Hoxsey treatment be
> given free to those that couldn't afford it. The AMA wouldn't accept
> the deal, said they had to make so many $millions in profit. Read
> the book "You Don't Have to Die" by Harry Hoxsey.

Of course they had to discredit it, everything is about the bottom line.
It don't matter if it is medical or not they want the biggest cut they can get and screw everything else.
(reply to Lysannus) posted 3-Dec-2014 2:09am  
You're right.

It's so wicked, to put the dollar before human life.
LindaH Silver Star Survey Creator
(reply to LJD, Lysannus) posted 3-Dec-2014 10:13am  
So what happens when there's an alternative remedy out there that is all snake oil, and doesn't really work? People rush out to buy it, and the AMA tries to warn people? Studies shows it doesn't work, but no one listens because it's those greedy AMA, scientists, doctors, etc trying to tell them. Who would they believe?
(reply to LindaH) posted 3-Dec-2014 12:45pm  
I am not saying everything the AMA touts is bad, but until they give support to both sides the cheap and the expensive they do not carry credibility with me.
Example my health insurance selects meds that are "approved" by the AMA. Well my SO is on insulin and had been using a needle, drawing from a vial, 3 months supply
was $87 (insurance paid $249) then the AMA noted that they were not backing that insulin anymore but this newer one (Now mind you that had been working great for my SO)
now we are forced, yes forced to get this other one which now for a 3 month supply is $318 my cost (insurance pays $1156). Now it would be ok if it worked better
but it does not, it takes 3 times more per injection to get the same effect as the old stuff. "The only reason is because the drug manufactures were going to stop making
the cheaper stuff because, 'No money in it'", quoted right from the doctor when we asked why we needed to change. Pretty easy to see $339 vs $1474, and they wonder why
health insurance keeps spiraling up out of control.
(reply to LindaH) posted 4-Dec-2014 4:28am  
The Bible warns us of Pharma.

I believe in healing the body, it takes time. Only nature heals. The AMA are chemicals...don't really heal, they just sustain...prolonging profit.

Natural healing works. The reason people sometimes thinks alternative medicine doesn't work is because they expect immediate healing, the body takes a time, but it heals, unlike AMA medicine.

LindaH Silver Star Survey Creator
(reply to LJD) posted 4-Dec-2014 10:33am  
My point is that alternative medicine sometimes does not work, when traditional medicine for that particular illness does. There have to be some sort of checks in place to keep people from selling "snake oil" cures that don't work - because people die unnecessarily when that happens.
(reply to LindaH) posted 4-Dec-2014 7:02pm  
Let's face it, when an entity, such as the AMA/Pharma, has vested money interests, they'll not always greet competitive interests honestly.

"If and When" the AMA's medicine works fast, it does not necessarily HEAL, it sustains only momentarily, this is why continual medical service is needed. The body heals reasonably slow. People don't know that. The American public have become dependent on the AMA/pharma. The people need to turn to God's natural medicine...herbs/food. As I've said AMA emergency measures are acceptable, such as broken bones, i.e.
LindaH Silver Star Survey Creator
posted 4-Dec-2014 9:00pm  
Which medicine are you talking about?

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