Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Tug 'O War

There's an interesting legal-medical battle going on in my area.

A 16-year-old boy, Starchild Cherrix, has Hodgkin's disease. After going through chemotherapy a year and a half ago, the cancer has come back. This time, he and his parents are refusing chemotherapy or any other medical treatment.

Instead, Starchild is following an organic diet and taking herbal supplements supplied by a "clinic" in Mexico. He decided that chemotherapy was too hard and he didn't want to be that sick again. He says he would "...rather die healthy and strong...".

Hmm...I feel that this boy is not receiving/hearing all the information he should. Does he really think he's going to die "healthy and strong" if his cancer isn't treated? I think someone is misleading him terribly. Just because he feels good now doesn't mean that all the herbal supplements in the world are going to make his death from cancer easier.

So now all the lawyers are involved. Lawyers for Starchild, lawyers for hospital, the attorney general. His lawyers did win the latest battle, though. Just today they received a successful ruling so that he does not have to report to Children's Hospital today to accept treatment prescribed by doctors. He and his parents are thrilled.

On one hand, I think people absolutely should have control of their own bodies. Just because I personally think using herbal supplements and diet to try and cure cancer isn't going to work, doesn't mean Starchild shouldn't get to try it if that's what he wants. But, he is only 16. Can he really be getting and understanding all of the information he needs to make this incredibly important decision? Why aren't his parents saying, "Hey, I know chemotherapy is horrible, but it's been proven to work and we want you to stay alive..."

I guess this is one of those cases where that old cliche, "time will tell" is really true. Good luck to him.

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