Skepticism

Skepchick Quickies, 5.11

Jen

Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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32 Comments

  1. From the chemotherapy article:

    Among other things, Daniel is following a nutritious diet, drinking ionized water, and taking vitamins and herbal supplements.

    Isn’t that nice. It’s going to be a well hydrated, savory tumor.

  2. I love Judy Blume, don’t know that I would have ever read her books except that my school library banned them. How could I resist that? I get paid Friday and will send a donation to Planned Parenthood in her name.

  3. The “personhood” video was definitely one of those “duh” things that you wish everyone realized, but sums up better than you can blather on about.. Thanks for submitting it guys.

  4. Not sure what to make of that chemo article. I’m in favor of a patient’s right to refuse treatment. On the other hand, I tend to think of that in terms of an adult patient who is capable of giving “informed consent”. This case is a gray area, though. The patient and the patients parents are against the treatment but I’m not sure they’re making an informed decision. Then again, I’m not sure that anyone else has the right to make the decision for them.

    I’d like to think that, if one of my kids got sick and a doctor insisted on a treatment that I considered to be unnecessary and/or dangerous, I’d have the right to refuse that treatment. I’d also hope that I knew what I was talking about if and when that situation came up.

    Also, there’s something about the wording of the article that makes me think that “religious reasons” is just a tactic they’re using to refuse treatment and that there are other, unspoken reasons.

  5. I’m kind of in agreement with Steve. I don’t believe the religious beliefs argument. That’s so much BS. If that were true, then they wouldn’t have signed off on even ONE chemo treatment.

    However, from the article, they seem to be exploring other options (which is fine) which include quack medicine (which is not) but IF the tumor is shrinking and IF they follow through with going back to chemo if it begins growing again, I’d have to say it is WAY early to think of taking the kid away. How about some follow up on the kid’s progress from a real doctor? Why does this need to be an either/or thing.

    On the other hand, if the parents were really considering chemo if their ‘alternatives’ don’t work, why the religious grounds argument?

    As usual, not enough information coming from the media.

  6. marilove: That’s not the point. The point is that someone who doesn’t want to go through that (or put their child through that) isn’t automatically bad. This article doesn’t give us information like how long the doctors think he’s got before chemo won’t work and gives misleading information like saying that the doctors say the tumor is growing, but there’s obviously been no followup since the fourth opinion when the parents started their kooky treatment. They reporters seem less interested in how the kid is doing and more interested in telling us a juicy story about parents withholding treatment.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think the parents are very wrong here. I just don’t know if they’re bad enough to take their kid away. It sounds like the first round of chemo spooked them and they ran to religion as the best way to keep the lawyers off their back. Without any follow-up, we’ll never even know anything except maybe whether the kid lived or died, and maybe not even that.

  7. Also note that Nemenhah is not a real American Indian organization. Unfortunately my local news station said the family was adopted into the “tribe” although it is not a tribe but a new age religious group. They also said the boy is a Nemenhah medicine man, but didn’t say that it was for a fee.

    Here some more info:
    http://www.indiancountrytoday.com/archive/28147394.html

    http://www.computernewbie.info/wheatdogg/2009/05/11/a-sad-curious-tale-of-rampant-duplicity-and-stupidity/

  8. @swordsbane: “Don’t get me wrong, I think the parents are very wrong here. I just don’t know if they’re bad enough to take their kid away. It sounds like the first round of chemo spooked them and they ran to religion as the best way to keep the lawyers off their back. ”

    Uh, what? So basically, because chemo “spooked them” (chemo isn’t a fun process, but it SAVES LIVES), doesn’t mean they have a right to just let their THIRTEEN YEAR OLD CHILD die.

  9. Like I said. They probably joined to keep the lawyers off their backs. It may not work, but it’s better than just saying “We don’t wanna.” I’d love to have been a fly on the wall during the cpw’s visit. What was said has a great deal of bearing on this, and judging by what the cpw said, the parents are just trying to make certain that chemo is their ONLY option and don’t want to take a doctors word for it. Completely wrong, but almost understandible.

    Unless, of course, they were lying to the cpw, which given that the cpws word can make a judge take the kid away, isn’t out of the realm of possibility.

    Maybe the judge, some doctors, the parents and their new ‘religion’ just need to all get together in the same room and have a chat about their ‘options.’

  10. “Uh, what? So basically, because chemo “spooked them” (chemo isn’t a fun process, but it SAVES LIVES), doesn’t mean they have a right to just let their THIRTEEN YEAR OLD CHILD die.”

    Go back to the part where I said I thought it was wrong but understandable. I also said that the article doesn’t give the likes of you or I enough information to pass judgment.

    Yes, I know the kid is just as dead no matter what the motives of the parents are. However, there are some motivations that can be overcome and the kids life could be saved, but might make things WORSE with a court battle. It would be a great thing if the childs life was saved, but it would be even better if the parents understood why the childs life was in danger in the first place. If you just take the kid away, give him the chemo and he still dies, all you’ve done is alienate another couple who think that THEY could have saved their kid if everyone had only let them do what they thought was right. You lose the battle AND make a new enemy.

  11. I was going to write out a big rant about personhood laws, but the whole subject just sickens me. So, I’ll just say this: that video was shocking, I hope that the sort of experiences those women had were extremely rare, and I hope that the Supreme Court knows what to do when one of these odious laws comes up for review–I can’t see how Roe v Wade and its progeny can be squared with embryonic “personhood”.

  12. I watched the fetal personhood video during my lunch and thought it was very well done, and addressed an important part of the whole abortion rights/freedom/liberty issue. The examples and stories were a powerful way of getting the message across and showing the actual harm these types of laws can cause. That said I’ve had dozens of professional experiences where women have been heavy drug and alcohol users during their pregnancies that has caused permanent brain damage and life long disabilities to their children. I’ve seen babies born with blood alcohol levels that would likely put me in the hospital or kill me. There is little recourse for this situation in most states given the fetus is indeed not a person until they are born (which I agree with). However it could be said that the states inability to intervene in these situations leads to the serious harm of a person. I don’t know what the alternative is for this all to common situation, and tolerating the damage to these children may be what is necessary to preserve our rights and personal liberties. I don’t think the discussion is in any way complete unless these many thousands of permanently disabled, damaged and compromised children are not mentioned.

  13. On the chemotherapy case – they did let some alternative medicine practitioners testify by phone (one being a former neurosurgeon). I can’t decide if the coverage on the last practitioner makes me want to laugh or cry.

    Helen Healy, a naturopathic health care provider in St. Paul, spoke about her specialty, which avoids drugs, major surgery and radiation in favor of natural techniques. Those include green tea extract, which she said reduces tumor growth.

    She is not a medical doctor and can’t prescribe medicine.

    Healy said she is willing to treat Danny, but would recommend that he receive chemotherapy in addition to her treatment.

    So she avoids radiation in favor of natural technique, but thinks the child should still get chemo. Other than a palliative (chemical or placebo) for the horrible side effects of chemo, what does she actually provide?

    As for the case itself – it’s an ethical dilemma, no doubt. But some of my doubt is removed when I consider the religion is a self-admitted shelter for Natural Healing practitioners.

    http://www.nemenhah.org/internal/about_us.html

  14. From the chemotherapy article:
    [quote]A child protection worker who interviewed the Hausers in April said [b]the parents “believe the cancer is shrinking due to his special diet”[/b]…The same worker said: “Colleen and Anthony also stated [b]they are not denying the chemotherapy and would start a round of it again if the cancer began to grow more. [/b]They do not want to follow through on the whole course of treatment recommended.[/quote]

    So basically even though they claim that their fake medicine is working, the parents will allow real medicine to step in when reality occurs and the child starts getting symptoms again.

  15. The fetal personhood video seemed to be pretty biased. Even speaking to a sympathetic audience, when they pull a “a team of doctors met and decided the c-section was the safest thing for the baby…but then she had two more vaginal deliveries years later, proving the doctors totally wrong” argument, my BS detector goes off loudly.

    I wish people on both sides of that debate would see that a moderate common ground compromise would be the best solution: It’s not “IT’S A WOMAN’S BODY IT’S MY RIGHT” and it’s not “PERSON FROM MOMENT OF CONCEPTION.” Both arguments sound equally crazy to me; I feel it’s obvious that it’s somewhere between the two.

  16. Re: cancer case

    Just keep in mind folks, when the news reports a story we are familiar with, they always… ALWAYS get it wrong, so why should we think it would be any different this time? We’re picking apart an article that has at least one blatant inconsistency in it. If read one way, the parents are being stupid anti-medicine fanatics and are killing their kid. Read another way, they’re scared parents who are frightened of chemo but still willing to use it. Without any follow-up, a flip of a coin is just as reliable as our judgment.

  17. He’s not dead yet, and if it comes down to it, I’m all for kicking the parents to the curb and giving the kid the chemo, but if there’s a way to convince the parents that it’s the right thing to do instead of taking their kid away, I’d rather do that, and from the article, no one seems interested in that.

  18. Rights are not a zero sum game.

    Granting the pre-born rights SHOULD NOT remove the rights of mothers. Granting any group rights should not remove rights from another group. What is happening here is not fetal rights, ie, not granting existing equal rights to a previously unrecognized group. Whats happening is the granting of privilege to a group. If the fetus’s rights are more important than the mother’s, the fetus has been granted privilege, not rights.

    Fetal rights are not, per say, bad. Whats happening her cannot be “fetal rights”. This is fetal privilege.

  19. About Daniel Hauser, the sick boy. Dead child: bad. Living child: good. Note to the local authorities in MN: it’s far easier to ask forgiveness than ask permission, so get busy and figure out a way to have the child treated. Then we can all relax and have a nice long legal battle.

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