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Boy Ambushed by Doctors/CAS
May 9, 2008 permalink
Here is another story of a boy getting medical treatment against the will of his family, and the boy himself. The family was invited to McMaster Children's Hospital in Hamilton Ontario for routine tests, but instead was ambushed by CAS. The boy is now in their custody. Since there is no name in the story, we will be unable to post a follow-up saying whether the boy survives.
Parents battling hospital, CAS over child's cancer treatment
Say boy is being treated against his & their will
Scot Urquhart, CHCH News, Published: Thursday, May 08, 2008
A young Hamilton boy is undergoing treatment for cancer. But the question is, should he be? His parents don't want him to go through chemotherapy again and they say neither does he. But the Children's Aid Society has obtained a court order allowing a hospital to forcibly treat the eleven year old. As Scot Urquhart tells us this case is raising tough questions about who has the right to decide the fate of a child.
It's become a classic legal and moral debate: who really knows what's best for a child?
These parents have an 11 year old child suffering from a rare and aggressive form of leukemia.
Due to legal constraints, we cannot identify them.
Their child has already undergone some treatment for the disease, and didn't do well. The parents say he suffered, and they put a halt to further chemotherapy. They discussed the issue as a family.
The child knew his condition was grave, and at the best -- would face more chemotherapy, aggressive radiation, and a bone marrow transplant, all with a significant risk of death.
If the child survived the treatment, the best prognosis was a 40 to 50 percent chance of recovery.
The family decided not to continue treatment.
But doctors, and the CAS had other ideas.
When the family arrived at McMaster Children's Hospital Thursday morning for what they were told was a routine set of tests, the child was seized for forced treatment.
Their reaction: "Oh, no you're not."
They wanted due process, wanted to stand behind the wishes of their child, wanted to see a court order.
"If you're going to do treatment, then please advise us, and we'll back up, and wait for you to apprehend him so that we can still stand behind our child's wishes" - Child's father
Instead, a heated argument ensued. And all through it the child was "screaming, 'I don't want this, I don't want this, I don't want this, why won't you ever listen to me? Please somebody listen to me.'"
The father went to call his lawyer:
"in the midst of calling my lawyer security was called on me, and they tried to force me to hang up from calling for my lawyer"
He claims he was roughed up, and handcuffed by security officers. Police were called, but refused to press charges, and ordered his release.
He appeared with his wife on Live at 5:30 here on CHCH News. And Children's Aid Director Domenic Verticchio was asked under what legal circumstances the CAS could seize a child:
Mark Hebscher: "Dominic you mentioned off the top that if a parent is unable or unavailable, or refuses in this case."
Verticchio: "unwilling, that's it..."
But unless the child is in iminent peril, the legislation and the courts have directed that a warrant be obtained and produced prior to seizure.
Father: "and we don't have those documents yet."
Hospital PR director Jeff Vallentin dismissed the family's story as hearsay, although he would neither confirm nor deny the details. Then he cited the Privacy Act, and the jurisdiction of the CAS, saying he was legally bound not to talk about this case. Although he would not say at what time the court order went into effect, or what transpired beforehand.
Father: "and when your body goes, it goes, right, it doesn't matter how strong your faith is, or how strong your will to survive, you're going to go right, (sob) and as a father I'm trying everything I can."
Source: CHCH (TV) Hamilton
Addendum: CHCH TV did a half-hour program on this case on Friday May 9, 2008. Guests were John Dunn, Foster Care Council of Canada, lawyer Gordon Morton, Michele Lafantaisie, a mother from Dundas, and NDP house leader Peter Kormos. You can try viewing the program through an http stream. It is highly problem-prone, we spent over an hour getting it to work. Thanks to John Dunn, we have an audio-only copy of the program (mp3) hosted locally.
Addendum: Commentary by blogger Memee.