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.
Makayla was allowed to quit the chemo, but we learned earlier this month that her condition had worsened.
And to make the issue even more on the forefront of people’s minds, it turned out another First Nations girl was in the same position — she would benefit from chemo, but she didn’t want to go through with it for cultural reasons.
This week, Justice Gethin Edward of the Ontario Court of Justice said that the doctors were in the wrong:
[Edward] suggested physicians essentially want to “impose our world view on First Nation culture.” The idea of a cancer treatment being judged on the basis of statistics that quantify patients’ five-year survival rate is “completely foreign” to aboriginal ways, he said.
“Even if we say there is not one child who has been cured of acute lymphoblastic leukemia by traditional methods, is that a reason to invoke child protection?” asked Justice Edward, noting that the girl’s mother believes she is doing what is best for her daughter.
YES! The girl needs protection! As the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. What the mother believes ought to be irrelevant; there’s no evidence that her methods will help her daughter. Meanwhile, the chemo has a very good success rate. This is a child who needs protection from her own family. If she were an adult and chose this route for herself, it’d be a very different story.
If you need a sense of how warped the anti-science community is, look no further than local resident Laurie Hill:
“There’s a fear of [aboriginal remedies] or denial of it. If things can’t be quantified or qualified, to them it’s irrelevant,” said Ms. Hill, as she shopped at Ancestral Voices Healing Centre Thursday. “Who are they [doctors] to say she will make it with their treatments. Just because they have a degree, that makes them more knowledgeable?”
YES! The people who have specialized expertise in medicine are more knowledgeable than you when it comes to medicine.
It’s one thing that Hill is an embarrassment; it’s another that the judge agrees with her.
Maybe this issue would be more clear-cut if these parents were more actively hurting their child. Then, the child’s interests would surely come first. Just because the parents have the best of intentions in this case shouldn’t change the result: the child needs proper medical help, not feel-good cures that do nothing at best and likely make the condition even worse.
(Thanks to Stephen for the link. Large portions of this article were posted earlier)