Saturday, July 22, 2006


I found this story more than a little interesting. The boards were even more interesting. This is an expanded version of something I posted there.

Several thoughts I'd like to share


In many states this young man would be able to marry. Perhaps not a good idea, but it would be legal. He's considered mature enough to choose a life partner, but not a medical treatment plan? If he was a little older and could prove he was a high school graduate he could volunteer for the armed services and risk his life in Iraq or Afghanistan. Interesting he could risk his life in defense of his country but not with non traditional medical treatments. Other posters pointed out that in many jurisdictions a DA will bust a gut to get a 16 year old tried as an adult if the crime is serious enough. So a person this age is competent to form intent to commit a crime but not to choose a medical treatment plan that doesn’t fit the mainstream.


At least one poster equated using an herbal treatment with witchcraft. Others basically stated that if it doesn’t come out of a lab it’s not medicine.  It's less than two hundred years since we discovered the link between bacteria and viruses and disease. And less than one hundred years since we discovered antibiotics. A word which means anti life by the way. When you take them you hope you knock out the disease before they knock you out. Lord knows I'd hate to do without them and they've been a real Godsend on the battlefield. At least a severe wound to an arm or leg isn’t automatically treated by amputation anymore. But they do have side effects that can be dangerous for the patient. At the very least you may end up with heartburn and a screwed up digestive tract. At worst you can end up with resistant strain of something potentially fatal due to over use.


The same with chemo and radiation. You hope you clear out the cancer before the treatment kills the patient. And as my mom noted, once someone gets cancer, you may clear the original form of the disease but it often comes back over time. My dad survived one round of colon cancer. It reoccurred ten years later and I still think the surgery killed him, not the cancer. He just never got over it. He spent a thoroughly miserable last year. My main memory from that last Christmas season is that he just looked so tired.


But many herbs including garlic have natural anti bacterial and anti viral properties, help boost the immune system, help strengthen the heart, fight cholesterol, and generally support the body. Foxglove is the original source of digitalis. Lavender has natural calming properties. Valerian or passion flower will make you drowsy and you won’t end up in your car wondering how you got so far from home. Hawthorn and mugwort also help the cardio system. Cholesterol fighting statins can also be found in red rice yeast. And it carries the same warnings about side effects as the prescription drugs do. So, it's not too big a stretch to believe that the alternative treatment might work. And the patients' hope and belief in what he's doing is a big part of achieving a good outcome. Stress over what he may be forced to do isn't going to do his immune system any favors.


And frankly, I can’t imagine any medical team trying to force treatment on an unwilling patient. What are they going to do? Put him in restraints? Pump him full of tranquilizers so he can’t resist? I guess I have a feeble imagination, because I know forced treatment of minor patients happens several times a year.


But, what has really caught my attention is the anger directed towards this young man and his family. I'll just say that perhaps some soul searching wouldn't be out of order. Ask yourselves why the decision this family is making is triggering so much anger.


I’m not sure where anyone got the idea the parents were hippies. Yeah, they named the kid Starchild, but the second name is Abraham which is about as traditional as you can get. And yes, they home school their kids. So do thousands of other families. In Oregon you can’t keep home schooling your kids if they don’t pass the state progress tests.


Some of the posters called the kid some interesting names. Including one special one. Since there's been nothing in the stories about the parent's marital status, I'm going to assume they are married. In that case he's definitely not a bastard. A word I happen to loathe when it's directed at anyone.


Anyway, it sounds like this young man has thought it through and made a decision he’s willing to stand behind. Forcing treatment on an unwilling patient is in a very gray area. Personally, I hope it’s a road that neither I or a member of my family ever has to walk.





krobbie67 said...

I haven't been following this story so I can't really say what I think. I think your argument is compelling and very well thought out. As I read this what kept popping into my mind is the erosion of rights that such a judgement spells out. Whose children are they, the parents when they have them, or the system? I understand intervening in cases of abuse but where do we draw the line as a society.

toonguykc said...

I have so many mixed feelings about this....and I go back and forth on whether I would refuse treatment for the cancer I will most probably get (or already have) because of my family history and my mega-heavy smoking habit.  At the moment I would get treatment because my demise would cause so much grief for my parents who are both ill.  Once they are gone -- I would probably just go into the light with a plan I've had for years.  I'm kinda curious to see what's next anyway.


tenyearnap said...

The kid has guts--I would have buckled under the pressure by now. Of course, I have called myself cowardly ever since I submitted to the Pee-in-a-Jar procedure just to get a job. I'm still ashamed of myself.

I hope this boy lives a long, beautiful life.

lisaram1955 said...

Our society has become so bass ackward that we have not got the slightest idea what is sacred, what is important, and what decisions can and should be made by each individual human being for his/her self.  The ever-growing political power of the Christian right has brought us to this.  Truly frightening.  Lisa  :-]