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Hatchet Job on Devon
January 23, 2009 permalink
The Hamilton Spectator interviewed Dominic Verticchio of Hamilton Children's Aid to get the latest on Devon. The family is gagged, so they cannot answer Mr Verticchio's claims. The family is in a situation calling for prayer, but they are not, as the article suggests, religious zealots who would neglect medical care. They are in touch with state-of-the-art medical specialists and in the absence of CAS compulsion, would be applying other treatments that could give Devon better prospects than chemo. Mr Verticchio says: "I've not heard of any significant detrimental side-effects." That is because he has not listened to the family, who report Devon is near death.
Family renews battle to stop child's chemo
Believe God will heal him
Susan Clairmont, The Hamilton Spectator, (Jan 22, 2009)
The boy would probably be dead by now if it wasn't for the chemotherapy a judge ordered him to have.
Still -- even as their son lives and breathes -- his parents wish he had never had the treatment they hold fast to the belief that this is not what their son wanted. That his desire was to refuse all modern medicine. That his belief was that the Creator would heal his cancer.
And they supported their son's decision.
Even though he was 11 when he made it. Even though he has fetal alcohol syndrome and mental health issues. Even though he functions at the level of an eight-year-old. Even though a psychiatric assessment concluded the boy was incapable of making his own decision on the matter.
And even though two of the country's leading pediatric oncologists said he would die within six months without chemo.
That was last May. Doctors at McMaster Children's Hospital called the Children's Aid Society and the case went to court. And at the end of a very public and very disturbing tug of war over a very ill child, a family court judge gave the CAS the sole right to make medical decisions for the boy. And so he had chemo.
On Monday, the boy, his parents and the CAS will be back in court for the first time since the judge made his initial ruling. The boy has finished his in-hospital chemo treatments although chemo drugs are still being administered to him at home. He is now expected to live.
His parents plan to ask the court to let them control their son's medical care again.
Even though they admit they would take him off all his meds.
"We want the doctors to leave him alone," says his stepmother.
None of the family members can be identified because they are involved with the CAS.
The boy -- who is now 12 -- and his father and stepmother all believe chemotherapy is more dangerous than the acute lymphoblastic leukemia he was diagnosed with nearly five years ago. They say it makes him far sicker than the cancer. It was the side-effects of an earlier round of chemo that led the boy to say he did not want any more and that he would beat the illness with the help of the Creator and natural remedies such as tumeric, oregano and green tea.
The family says they are of native background, although CAS documents declare the boy "non-native."
The boy, according to his step-mom, is having trouble walking, has a lung infection, impaired speech, blurred vision and a failing memory. She insists it is all because of the treatment he has received.
"He has a lot of medical problems he never had before," she says. According to her, the boy "just wants them to stop. He thinks he's going to die because they won't stop giving him chemo."
The boy's mother died of cancer. After chemo. And a baby she gave birth to during her treatments lived just four days.
The court order handed down last spring included a clause that prohibits the boy from having any contact with the media. So there is no way to hear from the boy in his own words.
CAS executive director Dominic Verticchio says the family has complied completely with the court orders. He also says that -- despite constant updates from the boy's doctors at Toronto's Sick Kids Hospital where he is now cared for -- he is unaware of the ailments the stepmom says he now suffers from.
"The treatment has been successful," Verticchio says. "I've not heard of any significant detrimental side-effects."
As far as the doctors, the CAS and the court is concerned, chemotherapy saved this boy's life.
To the child's father, chemo is poison that is killing his son.
"I still feel exactly the same."
Susan Clairmont's commentary appears regularly in The Spectator. firstname.lastname@example.org 905-526-3539
Source: Hamilton Spectator
Addendum: Mary Janiga reminds us of the rally for Devon on Monday, and gives more on his medical condition. From other sources we have heard that he was prescribed Risperdal to treat fetal alcohol syndrome, and his cancer, if any, may be one of its side effects. Even his doctors disagree with his current chemo treatment, only CAS and the courts are forcing it on the boy.
reminder of January 26th protest
On January 26, 2009 at 10am a group of concerned citizens, families and supporters will be in front of the Hamilton Family Court House at 55 Main Street West Hamilton, ON to support a child and his family that has been undergoing forced chemotherapy for the past 9 months at the hands of the Children's Aid Society of Hamilton.
Through reliable sources we have been told that:
- There was a misdiagnosis of care and cancer therapies.
- Doctors have stated that if there wasn't a court order there would be no treatment.
- There have been debilitating after effects on the body of this child after chemotherapy treatments such as decreased memory, speech impairments, lung and liver damage, glaucoma, and foot and leg immobility. These are just a few of the many ailments that this child is suffering on a daily basis.
- The child has been on several pharmaceutical cocktail drugs related to chemotherapy treatments.
This child has been denied his right to Native traditional healing and spiritual teachings while in the hospital.
This child has been writing songs and stories and because of a publication ban cannot publish his thoughts and pain.
We support this family and families everywhere!!
Make your voices heard, come out and support this cause!!
Source: Mary Janiga blog for January 24, 2009