Court orders cancer treatment for 5-year-old, but parents want alternative treatments

A Minnesota court took a five-year-old boy away from his parents after they refused a two-year chemotherapy treatment plan for their son who showed no more signs of Leukemia, Fox9 reported Feb. 7.

The boy, Keaton, was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia in December. He underwent an initial round of chemotherapy and the cancer disappeared. When tests showed there was no more cancer in the boy's body, the parents told physicians at Children’s Minnesota in Minneapolis that they didn't want to put their child through two more years of chemotherapy. Instead, they wanted to try natural remedies and medicines.

The parents were concerned about the effect chemotherapy had on their child. They supported ongoing testing and, if the cancer returned, which physicians suggested was likely, they said they would reassess his treatment plan, according to the report.

The medical team insisted a two-plus year regimen of chemo treatments was necessary to ensure the-hard-to treat cancer didn't return. One doctor is quoted in court papers saying that it was "a fair assessment" to believe, if the boy did not finish the treatment that he would die, according to the report.

The case was reported to the county Health and Human Services and the county had the parents' custody rights suspended for "medical neglect". The boy lives with his grandmother now and is undergoing chemotherapy.

The parents are fighting the decision in court and are scheduled to appear on Feb. 13.

"The limited case law that exists nationwide involves cases where there is active disease in a child. Where in this case, Keaton has not had any signs of active disease since his initial round of chemotherapy," the family’s attorney Christina Zauhar told Fox9. "So this case really has to do with some major American concepts that we hold really dear, including a parent's right to have medical freedom and make medical decisions on behalf of their children."

Children's Minnesota sent the following statement to Fox9:

"Children's Minnesota is committed to the health, safety and privacy of our patients and their families. As such, Children's Minnesota does not comment on specific patients in compliance with federal health care privacy laws. Our organization is committed to putting kids first, and working with their family to develop an effective care plan."

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