Chemotherapy Helps Daniel Hauser… What Do His Parents Say Now? June 20, 2009

Chemotherapy Helps Daniel Hauser… What Do His Parents Say Now?

Remember Daniel Hauser? He was the boy with Hodgkin’s lymphoma whose mother refused to let him undergo chemotherapy because she wanted him to get better with “natural remedies” (like herbs and vitamins). This would likely have led to his death.

Then a judge intervened and said Daniel had to undergo chemo.

(Then the mother kidnapped him for a couple days… because how dare anyone try to save her son with modern medicine!?)

Anyway… cut to this week. Guess what’s happening to a cancerous tumor in Daniel’s chest?

It’s shrinking! Looks like the chemo is paying off, right?

Of course not, says the family:

… the Hauser family attributes much of his progress to the complementary use of vitamins and minerals to boost his immune system, [family spokesman] Dan Zwakman said.

In fact, the family seems to be going out of their way to offer Daniel all possible pseudoscientific alternatives to real medicine — including acupuncture and an osteopathic doctor (they can cure cancer by treating the “whole self”?):

“We don’t know what all the benefits might be, but we know [acupuncture] helps many people cope with pain. This is sort of uncharted territory,” said the attorney, Barbara Gislason, of Fridley.

The family is continuing to comply with court-ordered chemotherapy, Gislason said. But the Hausers also are working with a Mankato osteopath “who is helping them build a local integrative and complementary team to best serve their son’s needs,” she said.

Of course, the Hausers had been trying alternative medicines for months to no avail. Meanwhile, two sessions of chemo and the tumor has shrunk significantly.

How badly do you have to hate science to go through all of this?

(Thanks to Nick for the link!)

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  • woah. what the hell is wrong with Osteopathy? you may not accept that everything can be fixed through muscle manipulation, but a lot of pain can be relieved through some realignment.

    but DOs do all of the same training as MDs; many even take the MD boards and do MD rotations.

  • But the Hausers also are working with a Mankato osteopath “who is helping them build a local integrative and complementary team to best serve their son’s needs,” she said.

    A whole team? That must cost them a pretty penny…

  • What will happen is that when he is in pain/ sick from chemotherapy, that they will blame on science. It is the “Goddit” explanation.

  • Osteopathy to treat muscle and connective tissue pain, sure. Osteopathy to treat cancer?

    That aside, I’m glad they are complying. I recall a particularly horrifying episode of Babylon 5 where an alien family refused surgery for their son due to their religious beliefs. Dr. Franklin performed the surgery behind their backs when the kid was clearly about to die. The surgery saved the kids life. The parents were horrified, said his soul was gone or something, even though he was acting like a normal healthy kid. Since he was an abomination and technically dead to them, they ritually killed him so his soul could have some peace.

  • Dawn

    I don’t know what this particular Osteopathic is doing for Hauser. He sounds like a bit of a CAM quack. But please don’t characterize (U.S.) Osteopaths as something other than real medicine. My husband is a DO in residency in an MD program taking MD licensing exams. Most DOs practice right along side MDs. Some perform muscle manipulation as part of their practice, many do not.

  • To be clear, while DOs do share some similar training to MDs, I don’t think a DO can do anything for cancer that an MD can’t do. And MDs are already providing the necessary medical help. So why bother with the DO?

  • Tom

    I want to know what this kid is doing in his parents’ custody after they’ve done such a spectacular job of demonstrating their unfitness as parents.

    Not only did the mother actually kidnap her child in an attempt to prevent him from receiving life-saving medical treatment (for which I think she should be jailed, the fact that they’re excusing it seems… inexcusable to me), but he’s a teenager and UNABLE TO READ despite apparently being quite articulate.

    These people seem determined to destroy, if not end, their child’s life, and really, I think it is unconscionable that they’re allowed to continue doing so.

  • thanks for clarifying about the DO.

    I would say that any DO who thinks s/he can help him (and his cancer) purely through OMM or something else ultimately fails at being a doctor. and maybe life.

  • Aj

    If this family sought this particular DO I’d be suspicious, more so if he’s making noises about “holism”. Quackwatch suggests that DOs are involved in some popular forms of quackery in higher percentages than MDs. It’s not surprising that separated by culture and tradition, these two different schools would have different amounts of crazy. MDs aren’t perfect by any means, they have many quacks and CAM supporters within their ranks.

  • Daniel

    How badly do you have to hate science to go through all of this?

    You should know better.

  • Maurice van Steensel

    Osteopathy and the like are all forms of quackery. Saying that DO’s practice alongside MD’s doesn’t legitimize them. That’s special pleading. There is no scientific basis for osteopathy nor will there ever be. As this unfortunate kid’s deluded parents make abundantly clear, it’s a belief. Can’t argue with that now, can you? Personally, I would try and sue these parents for wantonly trying to inflict grievous bodily harm or even death.

  • I’ve also got to jump in an defend oseopathic doctors. Sounds like this particular DO is a woo believer but there are also plenty of MDs who are as well. DOs have all the medical training and are licensed the same as MDs and the DOs I’ve been too (including my current doc) have given me the same level of care as an MD would.

  • While I fully appreciate the potential benefits of vitamins, herbs and the like I know darn well they’re not a substitute for legitimate medical care. The people who deny reality and pretend “alternative medicine” will cure everything and “Big Pharma” is evil are as bad as those who insist prayer is the answer to all.

  • Ron in Houston

    I made this point on the “conversation stoppers” post. There is simply no “winning” with these folks. You and I both know that it’s the chemo that helped this kid, but they’re going to claim it was “prayer” or “alternative medicine” or whatever.

    Sometimes you just need to smile, nod your head (while thinking “what a dumbass”) and hope that the rest of society will advance despite it’s lowest common denominators.

  • Maurice

    Do not defend osteopathy. It’s quackery. And before you start defending it, ask yourself whether there is really any firm, scientific basis for it and any firm evidence. Ask yourself whether you want to believe (like this unfortunate kid’s parents) or whether you want to be a sceptic examiner of truth. Please, do not go into defense mode but for once go and seek out the evidence and visit a couple of sceptic websites.

  • Michael Kingsford Gray

    These bogus parents are alarmingly insane.

  • Hey You

    There’s an article on Osteopathy on SkepticWiki: … I don’t know much about the difference between a DO and an MD, but if some DOs practice medicine just like MDs, what advantage is there for those DOs to become a DO instead of just going ahead and getting a MD?

  • Snuggly Buffalo

    My understanding is that osteopathy in the U.S. has abandoned it’s pseudo-scientific roots and embraced scientific medicine (barring crazy individuals, which you can find in any discipline), using manipulations strictly in the treatment of musculoskeletal problems. I’ve heard many skeptics recommend them as an alternative to Chiropractic.

    I’ve also read that osteopathy outside of the U.S. is still a huge load of bunk.

  • If they’ve abandoned the pseudoscientific roots and refuse to make the same claims as classic osteopaths… perhaps they should change their name?

    Otherwise, it’s like a “reformed” homeopath arguing that you shouldn’t paint homeopathy with a bad brush because some homeopaths get nearly the same kind of medical training and licensing as MDs.

    When alchemy stopped being pseudoscience, it became chemistry. Why can’t you change the name of your practice as well?

  • Handbot

    True, Osteopathic Medicine has its roots in quackery – the main tenant that if you structurally maximize the body’s systems then the body would heal itself. It slowly started involving medicine until the 60’s or 70’s when they became able to practice unrestricted medicine. Nowadays osteopathic schools are medical schools (which have all the courses as MD schools) with extra classes in osteopathic manipulation.

    I originally went to osteopathic school because I thought it was like being a super-doctor: all the medicine practicing rights plus the effectively treat musculoskeletal pain (one of the top five reasons people see their doctor). And in many ways it is. What annoyed me then and now is that there is a 10% of the group who hold onto their osteopathic identity like cult members frequently talking about “AT Still said this before we even understood what it meant…”. And yes, I’d say a larger percent of DOs as opposed to MDs practice Contemporary-Alternative-Medicine (CAM).

    What drives me crazy, though, is that even though I am a completely evidence-based physician, I am lumped in with that 10% lunatic fringe of DOs. I’m proud of how I did in my medical school and how I am doing in my MD residency, but if I could change those last two letters of my last name without having to attend another four years of an MD medical school (cover ALL the same things I learned at the DO school minus the extra OMM classes) I WOULD.

  • Mathew Wilder

    There are lots of DOs at the hospital I work at. Several are actually internal medicine hospitalists. I’ve never seen or heard of them doing any of the woo stuff. They treat the same as the MDs. One of them also has a pharmacy PhD. In my experience, no difference, although that might not be the case everywhere.

  • Yisroel Feldman

    I am totally sick at the countless outright lies being expressed in this case; however, I cannot blame most people for making these expressions.

    The modern medical establishment shrewdly used its prestige and power so that IT will be viewed as THE only legitimate health care. It did this by heavily defaming the natural healing professions, saying they were old fashioned unscientific superstitions and thus called them “quacks ” and “voodoo doctors.”

    So everyone was taught to believe that modern medical treatments are “real” medicine, while any natural things are worthless garbage.


    Almost all of the modern pharmaceutical drugs are artificial poisonous substances which do not belong inside a human body. When ingested, they may push down certain illness mechanisms, but they also push the rest of the body into unnatural states and thus cause the development of other injuries. The modern medical world openly admits this, and says that these are “side effects” of the medications.

    The modern conventional chemotherapy drugs are severely toxic items. How much they effectively stop the cancerous growths is often questionable. What is not questionable about them are their extremely terrible well known side effects: horrific pain, unstoppable vomiting, total loss of hair, massive weight gain or severe weight loss, damage to heart and lungs (in some rare cases), destruction of red blood cells, destruction of memory, destruction of reproductive ability, and destruction of immunity with possible death. I repeat, chemo, with its destruction of the immune system, can actually, yes, CAUSE DEATH to happen from even a small infection!

    Furthermore, besides this long list of immediate chemotherapy reactions, there is a long term effect that it itself causes more cancer! That’s right! Whatever benefit there is in a chemo pushing down one form of cancer, that chemo now gives the patient a much higher risk of getting other more serious forms of cancer!

    So on the contrary! Mrs. Coleen Hauser was trying to save her son’s life; I repeat, Mrs. Hauser was trying to, yes, SAVE her son’s life — from, Lord Forbid, either outright death, or being turned into a deformed invalid!

    By sharp contrast, the techniques of the natural healing fields are not injurious to the body; instead, they are geared to support and help the body reset and reactivate its proper functioning, and the “medicines” used are mostly natural materials that the body needs as “food” to fuel these functions. Many scientific studies have thus verified the numerous benefits to many areas of health of various natural remedies. For examples of specific nutrients in cancer treatment, see:

    At the same time, the natural professions do not completely reject the work of modern medicine. On the contrary, they greatly appreciate and admire modern medicine’s discoveries and accomplishments and openly declare that there are numerous situations where modern surgery and drugs — including chemotherapy and radiation — are what is needed.

    What they do say though is that there are numerous conditions that can be effectively taken care of with appropriate natural techniques with minimal side effects. Therefore, in those cases, they strongly condemn the standard world for unnecessarily subjecting patients to harmful drugs or dangerous operations. Furthermore, even where standard work is needed, natural work can still help in two ways: 1. It can cause some improvement so that less medication or less invasive surgery is needed. 2. It can help repair the side effect damage from the harsh drug or surgery.

    Therefore, the natural professions call what they do “Complementary Medicine” or “Integrated Medicine.” One of the top holistic doctors told me: “We try to take the best of both worlds.”

    And this is what Mrs. Hauser wanted! She openly said that she was not against chemotherapy; because of its severe problems though, she understandably wanted it only as a last resort. She further wanted that any chemo work should be complemented with natural work to lessen the terrible pain her son would have.

    She thus wanted to go to one of the many holistic cancer centers in Mexico where they specialize in these techniques of combining needed chemo/radiation therapy with appropriate natural therapies. Now, exactly what formulation of treatment they would have given Daniel, we will never know! For Mrs. Hauser and her son were not allowed to do any of this!

    WHY?? YES, WHY???

    Now, of course, the media and numerous internet pages are loudly trumpeting that when the Hausers were out doing the “voodoo” stuff, the tumor got worse.

    Again, this is a fiendish twisting of the facts.




    The standard people (along with their forced chemo thingy) have NOW allowed Daniel to have some complementary things. That is certainly very nice! And that he is thus, in some ways, doing a little better, is, again, certainly very nice! Of course, we will have to see how it all turns out.

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