Does Big Cancer Own Your Children?

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So often, we read stories in the media about the state threatening to remove a child from his or her home because of parental decisions to not put their child through invasive, health-destroying medical treatment – especially cancer treatments – while the parents pursue other alternatives. At times, we read about children who are removed from their home and placed into state custody.

Last year, Kenneth and Erin Steiler from Marquette, Michigan, were petitioned by the state of Michigan (Department of Human Services), and the purpose of the petition was to force the parents to have them resume the chemotherapy for their son Jacob. Jacob was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, and he initially went through chemotherapy treatment. The chemo made Jacob want to die. At a later point in time, PET scans were showing that he was clear of the cancer. Thus the parents made the decision to discontinue the poisonous treatments. The state of Michigan had other plans for Jacob. The state petitioned the court to force the child to receive the toxic treatments. This is from an article in a local, upper Michigan newspaper:

Jacob has been diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, but recent PET scans came back clear. His parents, Erin and Kenneth Stieler, insist that he doesn’t need further chemotherapy for now, but the boy’s primary pediatric oncologist, Dr. Beth Kurt, testified that Jacob still has cancer cells.

“There is a very big potential for relapse,” testified Dr. Kurt. “And if he relapses in another bone, in his lungs, in someplace else, this survival is dismal. It’s abysmal.”

In December 2011, Judge Thomas Solka dismissed the state’s petition and wrote, “Jacob’s parents have not been negligent in making decisions about his (Jacob’s) course of treatment.”

8:02 pm on February 7, 2012