Several months ago, I posted about Makayla Sault (below), an 11-year-old with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The disease is treatable with two years of tough chemotherapy and has a nearly 90% survival rate… but Makayla no longer wanted to continue the chemo and her Ojibwe/First Nations parents were more than happy to oblige, seeking out useless faith-based treatments instead.
The Children’s Aid Society (CAS) of Brant met with Makayla’s family at the time to make a final decision on her treatment. I was hopeful they wouldn’t let her parents effectively put her life in jeopardy… but that’s exactly what they did:
[Director of Brant Native Services of CAS Sally] Rivers further spoke on behalf of CAS Native Services, saying the organization “acknowledges and respects [indigenous] medicine.” Rivers said that the Native Services Branch is aware that the Sault family are treating Makayla through Onongwatri:yo: and that they, as an organization “acknowledge and honour Makayla’s choice.”
At this point, CAS closing the file means that Makayla will not be put back in chemotherapy against her will. A legal representative addressed the crowd saying that CAS is the authority under Ontario Law to take this case forward or close it…
While Makayla is still thankfully alive, her condition — surprise, surprise — has worsened. She’s not alone, either. It turns out there’s another First Nations girl who would benefit from chemo, but she also refused it for cultural reasons. Testifying at a hearing about the newer girl, oncologist Vicky Breakey pointed out that Makayla recently suffered a relapse:
Makayla Sault’s leukemia has come back, according to testimony by McMaster Children’s Hospital’s Vicky Breakey. Although Breakey didn’t name the patient, it’s clear she was referring to Makayla. The 11-year-old girl from the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation left chemotherapy treatment at the McMaster hospital in May to pursue traditional indigenous medicine.
Breakey said that in this new case, the girl would have had a 90 to 95 per cent chance of survival if she had continued with chemotherapy. The pediatric oncologist also cautioned that those odds diminish the longer she is without treatment and said if she doesn’t return to chemotherapy, she will die.
It’s unbelievable to me that these parents are essentially allowed to kill their children because of their religious beliefs and there’s nothing the doctors or government can do about it. It shouldn’t take the death of a child to get the point across that indigenous magic doesn’t hold a candle to evidence-based medicine.
(Thanks to Geff for the link. Portions of this article were posted earlier)