Saturday, July 22, 2006

The art of doing jumping jacks on thin ice.

Last August I suddenly fell ill, and within hours I had to be taken to the emergency room where pneumonia was diagnosed. I was given a prescription for both antibiotics and an extremely heavy pain killer. I quickly discovered that the pain killer made me sicker then what I actually was before; previously I only had a pain in my side, the drug gave me nausea, fever and several other problems I won’t mention. I immediately stopped taking it, and I quickly recovered. I will never, ever, take that medication again.

I learned that day that not everything the doctor tells you is beneficial. While the antibiotics did wonders, the pain medicine was awful. It’s not their fault, they did the best they could with the excellent training that the American health system gives. I still trust doctors, but I now feel more confident to speak up when I question their treatment, or to terminate it when I find it doing more harm then good.

Unfortunately, one Virginia family no longer has that option. Story Here

You can read the story for yourself, but here are the highlights. A 16 year old in Virginia is undergoing cancer treatment. His parents and himself were not satisfied with the results of the treatment he had received for a year, so they collectively decided to seek alternative treatments in Mexico. A court ruled that the parents were negligent of their child’s health, and ordered him to report for mandatory treatment at a designated hospital, while awarding partial custody of him to the county.

Words can hardly express my anger at this, but I will try.

While I feel that the choice to go to Mexico for herbal treatment to be a poor judgment, I feel it was their right to do so. Parents have a legal, moral, and spiritual duty to protect their children to the best of their knowledge and ability. Further, an individual has a right to decide what goes on with their body (I’m not meaning this as a right to choose abortion). If they weighed it out, and they all felt that it was the best option available to them, what right does a judge have to say otherwise? They are not denying him treatment against his will, nor are they ignoring the problem, they are seeking the best solution they know how.

Further, if they are legally required to seek state approved methods of treatment, are they no longer able to choose what hospital they wish to be at? Further, who is financially responsible? It is a private hospital, so are they required to pay for service that they do not want, at a private business that they did not choose? If the county now holds partial custody, does the state pay for it (if that were the case, this could easily be interpreted as a loop hole for unlegislated socialized children’s medicine)?

Would the state then have the right to seize a child if it disapproves of the doctor the parents are using? Does it have the right to seize a child if the parents want to use organic baby food that isn’t enriched with extra vitamins that a panel of doctors and social workers feel all babies should have extra of? What if the doctors prescribed treatment that went against the parent’s ethical (but not necessarily religious) views? What if the doctors are wrong? If he dies as a result of state ordered medical treatment, who is responsible?

I hope that the judge took these concerns into account (by which I mean the principles behind the examples), but I wonder if he realizes the dangerous precedent he has set. He may have saved the kids life, he may have killed him, time will only tell. But parents (and potential parents) everywhere should take note of this. One day their choices may be questioned, their rights as parents suspended, and their child potentially endangered. For one family in Virginia, that day is now. We must ask oursleves, how far should the government be allowed to determine proper parenting? How little is too little, how much too much?


Blake Roberts said...

On a much lighter note, here is a little something I’ve been thinking about lately. I would feel bad having this as a main page post, so I will add it as a comment. It is why I feel the election of Pedro Sanchez was a not in the best interest of Preston High School.

1. Pedro lacks the political experience necessary to successfully run a student body. By the time he gets up to speed on the system, the students will have lost months of time that a more prepared candidate could have been serving them. (Check online for the t-shirt)

2. Pedro falls into the category of the “not popular” people. His opponent, Summer Wheatly, did not. This would allow her to operate more consistently with higher approval rates, which would then enable her to focus on issues, not on a reelection bid.

3. As a recent immigrant to the country, he does not have the history with his constituents to properly work on their behalf. With only a few weeks time to actually meet them, he does not understand their needs, nor the school that he is to now lead. His opponent however is fully aware of both school and student problems and strengths.

4. Pedro ran a campaign based upon fear and intimidation. Using his “family” to patrol the school grounds, interfering with the local social dynamic, and extorting votes out of hapless students in exchange for “protection” raises the question if the real strength behind him is not the students, but Tammany Hall.

5. Pedro was not elected based upon issues, knowledge, or strength of character. He was elected because he had a friend who would appeal to the student’s sense of humor. In three months, when the activities are failing, school spirit is at an all time low, and people are fleeing the Pedro camp like rats from a sinking ship, I doubt many students will care about Napoleon’s little dance ditty. Effective leadership does not come from who runs the most entertaining campaign.

I just hope that future students will seek a better candidate.

Blake Roberts said...

A another side note, I was thinking today and came up with a great little political saying:

Welfare sound be a safety net, not a hammock.

I then googled it, found out that it had already been said, and realized that I had probably just heard it before, but in remembering it thought that it was a original Blakeism. Darn, I thought I had something there.

Mataiwaizu said...

Yes, some points might be true. BUT...

Pedro was himself, He followed his heart. ( which we all know, Heart = SPIRIT )
Plus, He has Napoleon as a good support.

And I'm sure all the students knew when the saw Napoleon dance with the "vote for Pedro" shirt That that's what Pedro is all about, having courage to be yourself and having a pure heart.

The weak things of the earth will be made strong. man...

While Pedro had a strong spiritual message, summer was all about the pop machine's. She was in with the cold hearted corporate stuck ups. Who cares more about matiral status and popularity then the issues.
She would work for her self seeking issues and friends, Not for the people's benefit.

which, Pedro with his open mind due to being new would be able to listen to and truly SERVE the people.

Pedro was inspired to run, maybe even with help from his holy sontos. The guy was so humble he had to obey the promoting.

Pedro's humble attitude will help him learn quicker and sympathize with the little man. Which he is out to protect.

Do you wanna hurt the little man?


Anonymous said...

i thought this post was about government determined and forced medical treatment. where the heck did pedro come from?