Hodgkin lymphoma is one of the more curable forms of cancer — the 5 year survival rates for patients who are middle-aged or younger is over 90%, and for kids, it is over 95%. These results assume, of course, that the cancer patient is actually treated with modern medicine — neglect that, and all bets are off. You’re almost certainly going to die of it.
Daniel Hauser is a 13 year old victim of Hodgkin lymphoma here in Minnesota. Doctors give him a 5% chance of surviving the disease, not because he has some particularly lethal form of the cancer, but because his mother is a religious fruitcake who who wants to deny her child treatment. Her reasoning is insane.
Hauser, whose son was diagnosed in January with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, said conventional treatments such as chemotherapy conflict with the family’s religious beliefs. She said they prefer natural remedies such as herbs and vitamins.
Asked where she learned about the alternative healing techniques, Hauser said, “on the Internet.”
If one of my kids was deadly ill, and I had a doctor who was telling me that she has a very good treatment, and she can tell me how it works, and she could show my statistics and clinical trials that backed up her claims, and on the other side I had priest waving his bible and telling me that it was a sin to treat the disease with secular medicine, but had no track record of success, and no solution other than vague claims of herbs from the internet, I would not be facing a difficult choice. I would commend my child into the hands of the person who had evidence of a 95% cure rate, without hesitation. There is simply something wrong with a parent who selects the 5% success rate over the 95% success rate, no matter what their motivation.
It would be easy to write them off as taking the Darwinian cure — that harsh statistical view that they’ll simply be extinguishing their contribution to the gene pool — especially since Daniel Hauser is agreeing with his parents. But he’s a 13 year old boy — no 13 year old is informed enough about medicine to make a good decision, and no 13 year old deserves to die of cancer because all he is given for treatment is “herbs”.
And this is all about religion. What a sick, stupid, wasteful thing to die for.
The Hausers declined to speak to reporters after Friday’s court session. But Dan Zwakman, a member of the Nemenhah religious group to which they belong, acted as the family spokesman. He argued that this is a case about religious freedom, noting that the group’s motto is “our religion is our medicine.”
Your medicine doesn’t work, and it’s going to kill a child. If you’re going to equate the two, the reply is obvious: your religion is wrong and lethal.