Attorneys from the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) — an organization focused on parental rights cases — have come to the defense of parents Ken and Erin Stieler, after they refused to comply with state mandates to provide certain medications to their son Jacob.
When nine-year old Jacob was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a type of bone cancer, he underwent surgery to remove the tumor, as well as chemotherapy to follow up.
HSLDA chairman Michael Farris explained:
The treatment was incredibly difficult, and Jacob’s mom, Erin, told me that when she looked her son in the eyes, she knew in her heart that he simply could not survive many more rounds of these drugs.
The family then joined a prayer network to pray for their son’s recovery.
“After all of these rounds of chemotherapy were completed, there was a PET scan done to check on the status of the cancer. There was no evidence of cancer detected in Jacob’s body. Jacob’s family and friends rejoiced in his healing — praising God for this wonderful outcome,” Farris said.
Still, doctors continued to demand further treatment, and more rounds of radiation.
World Net Daily reports, “In what is being seen as a preview of a fully implemented Obamacare, government officials in Michigan are demanding that a 9-year-old child follow standard procedure and take a dangerous course of cancer medications that can cause additional cancer — even though the boy has had three scans indicating an absence of the disease.”
Regardless of the scans, the Michigan Department of Human Services has already filed suit to force parents to administer cancer drugs to their son.
Lower courts ruled against the Michigan Department of Human Service; however, the agency filed an appeal with the Michigan Court of Appeals, demanding that Jacob receive ifosfamide, etoposide, and doxorubicin for treatment — even as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration states that the safety and effectiveness of ifosfamide and etoposide “have not been established.”
And the FDA’s statement on doxorubicin's side effects is even more harsh: “Pediatric patients are at increased risk for developing delayed cardiotoxicity.”
Farris asserts that the entire mandate is unnecessary because Jacob’s previous treatments have rendered him cancer-free.
And even as the treatment being mandated by the state is not guaranteed to be helpful, or safe, the parents face potential charges of medical neglect if they refuse to comply.
On the HSLDA website, Farris wrote:
If they succeed they will force Jacob to resume chemotherapy despite the fact that the drugs in question are not FDA approved (either for children in general or for this particular cancer). Moreover, these drugs do not promise anything close to a guaranteed cure. And, the FDA requires the drug manufacturers to disclose that these drugs cause new cancers to form, heart disease in children, failure to sexually mature, and many other serious side effects in some cases.
The HSLDA reported that Jacob’s parents “begged the doctors to make an individual diagnosis, rather than simply following unbending standards. But the doctors were steadfast. All children with this cancer needed multiple rounds of these drugs — regardless of PET scan results, the doctors contended.”
Doctors then contacted Child Protective Services when the parents refused to comply. CPS refused to press charges, prompting the doctors to contact the state.
Farris asserts that much of the case rests on how safe and effective the drugs being mandated are for Jacob.
“ ‘Have all of these drugs been approved by the FDA as safe and effective for children?’ I asked Jacob’s treating oncologist,” Farris said. “‘Yes,’ she replied, they have been FDA-approved for children.”
But Farris said that the doctor was “flat wrong,” simply based on the inserts mandated by the government that describe the drugs and their complications. “In fact, as it turned out, the treating doctor had never even seen, much less read, these official FDA-required package inserts,” he reported.
The warning for the drug vincristine, for example, reads, “Patients who received chemotherapy with vincristine sulfate in combination with anticancer drugs known to be carcinogenic have developed second malignancies.”
Chemotherapy drugs have a number of side effects, according to Natural News, including damage to the kidneys, liver, and brain. Ironically, a side effect of chemotherapy is also cancer.
It is for these reasons that Farris observes:
This is not an easy case. It is not a case where a child has a current illness and the treatment is tested and proven to be safe and effective — those cases are easily resolved. The best evidence is that Jacob no longer has objective evidence of cancer. And not a single drug that the doctors want to give Jacob is FDA-approved for children for his kind of cancer.
Farris contends that a case of this nature is particularly difficult because it is highly discretionary:
The doctor told me during the deposition that she thinks that she should make the call — for every child in this situation. And she would give the same answer every time, rather than making an individual judgment. I can’t imagine a more clear case of the need for parental rights.
Jacob’s case highlights some of the greater concerns voiced by critics of ObamaCare. Michigan’s Department of Human Services is asserting that the drugs mandated for Jacob are in the “national standard of care” for his condition. World Net Daily reports, “That’s the same type of concern that has been raised by many organizations and individuals about Obamacare, which is to face arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court later this month.”
Farris maintains that overall, medical decisions for a child rest with the parents, not the state. Furthermore, he observes, this particular case is even more clear cut, as there is no clear and present medical danger.
When Jacob’s parents requested an individual evaluation for their son, they were reminded about the “standard” that the state must follow.
“If we are put in a position where national standards are established, whether by practice or the government, it comes out the same,” Farris said.
A trial judge already dismissed the case of medical neglect against the family, but Farris contends that the bigger issue is “the ability of parents to make medical decisions contrary to the views of doctors.”
“This case may well shape parental rights principles for the long haul. We believe that parents, not doctors, should make tough decisions like this,” Farris stated.
Mike Adams of Natural News asserts that this is a case of “gunpoint” medicine, which he describes as “medicine administered at gunpoint by the government.” He even called it “government-sponsored medical terrorism,” concluding, “A system of medicine that requires enforcement at gunpoint is not medicine at all. It is coercion and torture.”