Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Best Interest of a Child

When did we lose our right to decide what is best . . . for ourselves, and our children? Okay, I don't have any children, but . . .

It's been all over the news about a mother who didn't want chemotherapy for her son. A judge (thus, my question) ruled that her son must receive the chemotherapy. The mother has since fled with her son rather than submit him to the chemotherapy.

Isn't that her right? Shouldn't a parent have the final say about the best interest of his/her child? Why shouldn't this mother be allowed to seek alternative therapy for her son's condition? What right does a judge (any court for that matter) have to decide that a mother's decision is not in the best interest of a child?

Chemotherapy works . . . in some instances. Chemotherapy is also very aggressive. Some people choose not to take chemotherapy. My friend and co-worker Frances was one of those people. Five years ago she was diagnosed with breast cancer which metastasized to the bones. They doctor gave her 5 to 10 years to live. At first, she was gung ho about the chemo. After receiving chem for a time, Frances made the choice to stop all treatments. You see, the treatment was worse than the disease itself. This was her choice, and one I firmly believe she was allowed to make.

Frances was a fighter. Eventually, the doctor gave her 3 to 6 months to live. Ha! Frances beat those odds. In the end, after more than 4 1/2 years battling her cancer - with the most upbeat attitude I've ever seen - she passed from this life into the next. She died fighting, to the very end. She died with her wishes - no chemo - honored by all those who loved her.

So, why should a judge, even if he thinks it is in the best interest of the child, demand that a child go through chemo. Does the judge have any clue how devastating chemo is? Does he have any clue about some of the consequences of chemo?

I seriously don't know, and don't care. I just think that if parents wish to seek alternative treatment for their children, and if the consequences have been explained to the child, then they should be allowed to do so. We are not a third world country. His parents - at least in my opinion - are not monsters. They are just trying to do what they think is best for their child.

So, the mother and child are on the run, an arrest warrant has been issued, and the freedoms we are allegedly allowed in this country (at least for this mother and child) are seriously in doubt.

In the end, if it were me, and no seeking treatment was what I thought was the best decision for me, I would hope that my decision would be honored.

I'm just saying . . .


lizB said...

I completely agree. It should be a decision for the parents and child to make together. The boy is old enough to take part and make some decisions in the course of his treatment. I think the moms and dads, or dads and dads, or moms and moms, whichever the case may be, together with the child whose life hangs in the balance, should have the final say.