Can parents be forced...

  1. to give their child radiation and chemotherapy? I know of some parents who want to try "alternative medicine" instead of chemo. What if they refuse treatment? Can the doctors get a judgement to give the child the treatment?
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   TazziRN
    The docs can try. They would have to present a good case that conventional treatments would help the child.
  4. by   hypocaffeinemia
    Quote from Kimbalou
    to give their child radiation and chemotherapy? I know of some parents who want to try "alternative medicine" instead of chemo. What if they refuse treatment? Can the doctors get a judgement to give the child the treatment?
    It would have to go to court, but it certainly can happen. If a judge rules that such treatment is in the best interest of the child, the court will appoint a temporary legal guardian (there's a proper term here for this very scenario which I forget), who can make medication decisions for the child despite the parents' wishes.

    Rightfully so, in my opinion. Such scenarios cross over to the realm of child negligence as far as I'm concerned.
  5. by   woody62
    Quote from methylene
    It would have to go to court, but it certainly can happen. If a judge rules that such treatment is in the best interest of the child, the court will appoint a temporary legal guardian (there's a proper term here for this very scenario which I forget), who can make medication decisions for the child despite the parents' wishes.

    Rightfully so, in my opinion. Such scenarios cross over to the realm of child negligence as far as I'm concerned.
    The term you are looking for is a Guardian Ad Litum. Depending on the state, they can be either an attorney or a specially trained individual. Here, in Florida, there are three types, a gneral domesticated one that maintains contact with the child, makes home visits, and if school age, the child's school. It is your job to determine how the child is doing, how he is interacting with his parents, etc. You also attend all court proceedings and testify as to the child's needs and his relationships. Another is a criminal Ad Litum who supervise and monitors any child in the legal system. I've forgotten the third one.

    I was a Guardian Ad Litum for the general domestic court. I went thru four weeks of training. The other two also require a four week training period. Most of those, in the program, are retired. They come from many different occupations, including teachers, military, nurses, engineers, to name a few. You must maintain a professional distance.

    Parents that absolutely can have children put in the system. And they can be forced, by the court, to allow treatment. Thankfully there are few times when parents have to be forced into such a position.

    Woody
  6. by   EricJRN
    There was a recent case in Texas on this subject. Here is a link to part of the story:

    http://www.kristv.com/Global/story.asp?S=4012857
  7. by   caroladybelle
    The latest issue of AJN covers this topic - the September 2007.

    In the case of Starchild A. Cherrix, a 16 year old Lymphoma patient in Virginia. He had issues with the side effects from his first course of chemo, which was unsuccessful at stopping the disease. He and his family wanted to use herbal treatments.

    Intially, courts were ordering him/family to comply with conventional Tx - this was reversed last year. The latest ruling is that they could use the herbal treatment, but must also see a rad onco, and have regular progress reports sent to the court until he becomes an adult.
  8. by   EmmaG
    Interesting.

    This isn't quite the same issue, but your question reminded me of a young lady I recently cared for who was found to have a very aggressive form of lymphoma. She was very passive, and even though (legally) she was an adult (19), her mom called the shots. The girl would hardly ever respond, instead whenever she was addressed, she'd look over to mom for her to answer us. She refused to speak to anyone without mom present. Nothing the nurses or docs could say could convince them to try conventional treatments. It was so frustrating for all involved; I watched her primary oncologist in tears, frantically begging them not to refuse treatment, but to no avail. The poor girl just sat there mute, crying, while the doctors told them she would not survive without treatment--- but in the end, mom convinced her to sign out AMA.
  9. by   Sabby_NC
    Quote from Emmanuel Goldstein
    Interesting.

    This isn't quite the same issue, but your question reminded me of a young lady I recently cared for who was found to have a very aggressive form of lymphoma. She was very passive, and even though (legally) she was an adult (19), her mom called the shots. The girl would hardly ever respond, instead whenever she was addressed, she'd look over to mom for her to answer us. She refused to speak to anyone without mom present. Nothing the nurses or docs could say could convince them to try conventional treatments. It was so frustrating for all involved; I watched her primary oncologist in tears, frantically begging them not to refuse treatment, but to no avail. The poor girl just sat there mute, crying, while the doctors told them she would not survive without treatment--- but in the end, mom convinced her to sign out AMA.
    Oh dear that is so sad and I suppose you did not hear the outcome?
  10. by   hypocaffeinemia
    Quote from caroladybelle
    The latest issue of AJN covers this topic - the September 2007.

    In the case of Starchild A. Cherrix, a 16 year old Lymphoma patient in Virginia. He had issues with the side effects from his first course of chemo, which was unsuccessful at stopping the disease. He and his family wanted to use herbal treatments.

    Intially, courts were ordering him/family to comply with conventional Tx - this was reversed last year. The latest ruling is that they could use the herbal treatment, but must also see a rad onco, and have regular progress reports sent to the court until he becomes an adult.
    After the child is a certain age, it makes sense that the Judge would respect their opinions regarding their own treatment even if they aren't legally able to make such decisions, provided the child is properly educated regarding the risks and benefits.

    I know that in Texas, if you are 14-17 you have the right to make your own medical decisions along with your parents. You can't perform a procedure on a 14-17 where their parents gave consent but they refused. Similarly, if the parents refused consent but they want the procedure, the court would be more likely to side with the patient.
  11. by   EmmaG
    Quote from Sabby_NC
    Oh dear that is so sad and I suppose you did not hear the outcome?
    No. From what I remember, the mother was not from the area. So I assume the girl went back home with her.
  12. by   HM2VikingRN
    Quote from methylene
    It would have to go to court, but it certainly can happen. If a judge rules that such treatment is in the best interest of the child, the court will appoint a temporary legal guardian (there's a proper term here for this very scenario which I forget), who can make medication decisions for the child despite the parents' wishes.

    Rightfully so, in my opinion. Such scenarios cross over to the realm of child negligence as far as I'm concerned.
    guardian ad litem

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