The Hauser family in Minnesota has strong religious beliefs. In fact, the parents feel so feverishly about natural healing methods favored by Native Americans, they refuse to allow their 13 year-old son to receive chemotherapy to treat his Hodgkin's lymphoma.
The family believes that their son, Daniel, can make up his own mind. In their church, he's considered an elder and a medicine man. He wants to follow his mother's procedure, instead of chemotherapy, by "starving" the tumor with natural healing methods, including herbs, vitamins, and ionized water. The family feels that chemotherapy will poison his body and that it amounts to torture.
Daniel's court-appointed guardian advocates for the conventional treatment. He feels that Daniel's parents haven't given him the true picture of his illness; consequently, Daniel believes he is not very sick. He cannot read, and is only considered to be a medicine man and elder in his church because all members are given those titles.
The judge carefully considered both sides of the story and issued a 58-page decision a few days ago. He ruled that Minnesota law requires the chemotherapy, because it is medically necessary. The judge wrote that Daniel does not understand the severity of his illness and cannot decide for himself. You can read more about his decision here.
The only problem now is that the treatment has been delayed for so long, it might be too late. Daniel was diagnosed in January, given one chemotherapy treatment in February, and none since then.
Tests will be given this week to see if the chemotherapy can still work. If so, Daniel will be treated. If not, he will likely die.
Guardianship disputes over children and adults alike are often emotional and difficult. But when the life of a child hangs in the balance, the case takes on a whole new meaning. Hopefully the court proceeding won't have come too late to save Daniel.
Posted by: Author and probate attorney Andrew W. Mayoras, co-author of Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights! and co-founder and shareholder of The Center for Probate Litigation and The Center for Elder Law in metro-Detroit, Michigan, which concentrate in probate litigation, estate planning, and elder law. You can email him at awmayoras @ brmmlaw.com.Follow us on Google+