Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Right to Die

Abraham Cherrix, 16, has cancer, Hodgkin's disease to be exact. Last year he had chemotherapy, which left him weak. But his cancer has returned. Instead of going back for more chemo, Abraham went to Mexico to try an alternative treatment, a sugar free, organic diet and visits to a Mexican clinic. The tumor in his chest has since grown.

The state is trying to force him into chemotherapy, which his (American) doctors advocate. The family wants to allow him his alternative treatment. The parents may lose custody of Abraham, who has told the judge he doesn't want to go through chemo again.

The family's lawyer makes the usual argument, though he's wrong:
"I don't think any family in the commonwealth would be comfortable with the fact that a social worker with no medical training could make a medical decision for their child...It's an assault on the American family."
So if his doctor, who has medical training, said he should have chemo, that wouldn't be an assault on the American family? Do these doctors in Mexico have medical training? Or are they just running a clinic based on holistic approaches?

If an assault, it would be an assault on the American family regardless of whether doctors or social workers decided he should go for chemo. That the state is interfering in the parent's decision (the child, a minor, really doesn't have much say) would be the assault.

But I'm willing to bet most people think this isn't a bad move. Should parents who want their child to have a protein-less diet be allowed to starve a baby to death? Should parents be allowed not to vaccinate their children? We recognize the state can get involved, especially when it comes to children.

Oh, and does the family have any medical training? Just because they love Andrew and have watched him grow up doesn't mean they are any more competant to make medical decisions. In fact, I'd say they're less competant. At least the social worker deals with this on a daily basis with many people. Andrew's family has dealt with him, and that's it.