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June 13, 2008 permalink
The boy we formerly identified by the dehumanizing term "Chemo Boy" will from here on be called by his first name, Devin. He has been moved to Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, where his treatment has been changed, allowing him a chance to recover from the chemo.
June 12, 2008
I have some news for you all about the 11 year old chemotherapy boy that we helped with the protests at the hospital and at the Family court house at Mothers Day and the days proceeding Mother's Day.
I was talking to a member of the family this morning, and through the gracious help of the Children's Aid Society (a bit of sarcasm in my voice) they have moved the child to Sick Kids hospital in Toronto, ON.
Although McMaster Children's Hospital was the venue for Hamilton CAS to hold this child captive to force chemotherapy on him, Sick Kids will give him the attention and help and medical treatment that he deserves.
After 3 treatments of chemotherapy at McMaster Children's Hospital and now contracting a blood infection, Sick Kids Hospital is there to save the day to bring this child back to being a child, and not another statistic of cancer.
He is in high spirits and his family is thankful that we are on the outside fighting for "D" and to bring our voices together and to get people to understand that families have become the victims of the Children's Aid Societies of this community, province and country.
We will continue to fight for families and our children.
Posted by maryjaniga at 7:50 PM
Source: Mary Janiga blog entry for June 12, 2008
Addendum: Here is the Hamilton Spectator on Devin.
Tug-of-war over a sick child
Susan Clairmont, The Hamilton Spectator
(Jun 14, 2008)
The boy forced to have cancer treatment against his will at McMaster's Children's Hospital is now at Sick Kids in Toronto.
The transfer ends the volatile relationship between the sick child, his family and the Hamilton hospital. Doctors at Mac took the first steps toward forcing the 11-year-old into treatment after he refused chemo and his parents supported his decision. When a judge ordered the boy to have chemo, hospital security had the boy's furious father removed in handcuffs from the pediatric oncology unit after he flew into a rage. A no-trespassing order was then imposed against the irate dad for two days while his son lay alone in a hospital room.
McMaster was acting in what it believed to be the best interests of the boy. But the child's family resents every bit of it.
"(He) was just getting sicker and sicker at Mac," says the stepmother.
The boy -- who has fetal alcohol syndrome and mental health issues -- told his family that he wanted no more chemotherapy. In the past, it has made him weak and ill and sore and he did not want to suffer through it again. He believes he can beat his cancer without the help of modern medicine, even though the chiefs of pediatric oncology at Mac and Sick Kids gave the youth six months to live without treatment. With chemo, he has a 50 per cent chance of going into remission.
The boy's father and stepmother have said their aboriginal beliefs tell them to place all their trust in The Creator, not doctors. They wanted instead to treat the ill child with green tea, oregano and turmeric. They have sent blood samples to a lab in Germany hoping to have, as a sort of compromise, a chemo treatment designed specifically for the boy.
A judge ruled otherwise. Since his last court appearance in May, the child -- and his family -- have been carefully following the orders of the judge and the doctors. Though they still disagree with the ruling, they don't want to risk being separated from each other for not complying.
"There's probably not a judge in the world that's going to go against Western medicine," the stepmom says. "We are abiding by the court order because we have to."
Although he's able to eat, the boy has lost weight. His lung hurts him, his blood platelets are low and he is "dispirited by the whole experience at McMaster."
A couple of weeks ago, after several rounds of his court-ordered chemo, the boy developed a blood infection, according to his stepmother. At that point, she and the father began demanding he be moved out of McMaster. Discussions took place between the hospitals, the family, the CAS and the Office of the Children's Lawyer.
"We have no issue in terms of where they elect to have the treatment," says CAS executive director Dominic Verticchio. "The family has been very co-operative."
In the end, everyone who has a say in the medical care of this boy -- and that's a lot of people these days -- agreed that moving him to Toronto was the best thing for all involved.
On Thursday, he was discharged from McMaster, where he has been treated on and off since being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia four years ago. A family friend drove the boy and his father to Sick Kids. The dad is staying in his son's room, sleeping on a pullout couch. The stepmother and the boy's sister remain in Hamilton for now, but plan to go to Toronto and stay at Ronald McDonald House soon.
The family is scheduled for an appearance in family court on Monday to review the order and the compliance, but it is now expected the case will simply be remanded until the fall.
Susan Clairmont's commentary appears regularly in The Spectator. firstname.lastname@example.org 905-526-3539
Source: Hamilton Spectator