Parents or doctors? Who has the trump card when it comes to their rights in treating a child patient?
A 10-year-old Amish girl with Leukemia is in the middle of a legal battle between her parent’s and the hospital. When I read the headline, I assumed that the Amish parents didn’t want to use modern medicine because of their…Amish-ness, and that the hospital wanted to treat her. That’s not even the case, though.
The parents did try chemo. They are opting to pull their daughter out of it because of the “devastating” effects its had on her body and the risk of damage to her vital organs down the line. The doctors say that this child has an 85% chance of survival if she continues with her chemo regimen, and that if she doesn’t do chemo, she will likely die in months. But, the entire Amish family wants to try natural medicine. Even the girl herself says she doesn’t want chemo anymore. The parents are wanting to take a homeopathic course.
Okay. So, I think this is not even a legal question. If I were the parent, I would follow the doctor’s orders and do whatever they said gave my child the chance to survive. However, it’s not like these parents are giving up. They simply want to try a different route – while still treating their daughter. They don’t want her to suffer, so they are looking for alternatives. I’m not a big homeopathic person, but that’s just me. Looking at the facts, these parents are doing what they think is right in caring for their sick daughter – and the daughter herself is on the same page with mom and dad anyway.
I think that the hospital winning this and taking over the girl’s medical care is a very big violation of parental rights.
I was recently in a situation where I went against a doctor’s orders because of my beliefs. I was thought to have an abdominal ectopic pregnancy. I had a traumatic near-death case years ago, so when I’m pregnant, I’m high-risk. Anyhow – a doctor I saw insisted that I get into the Operating Room so he could remove the pregnancy that he thought wasn’t growing in the right place.
My problem was that I’m pro-life and I have read of a handful of cases where abdominal ectopic pregnancies grew to term and were born healthy babies. Would it have been a risk to my life to go against the doctor? Yes. Was it an easy choice? No. But, I left the office that day to seek a second opinion from a doctor who would respect my views and give me some other options.
Luckily, I did not have an abdominal ectopic pregnancy. It was a cyst. And the “pregnancy” they detected was actually a tumor (molar pregnancy) that I had to have removed. So, my moral dilemma went away. But, it did force me into a position where I had to choose to do what a doctor told me or what I thought was right.
These parents, by all accounts, are good parents and they have the right to decide what form of medicine they give her daughter. If it’s not a situation of parental abuse or neglect, Americans should have the right to make healthcare choices about themselves and their children.