Court in Canada Allows Parents to Stop Chemotherapy in Favour of “Traditional Medicine”

Traditional MedicineI had thought about writing about the following case earlier but I was so annoyed that I was completely unmotivated to do so. Happily, Jerry Coyne wrote about it at WEIT but I’ll add my thoughts here as well. I am of course talking about the case of a First Nations child whose parents decided to take her off the chemotherapy treatment she was receiving for leukaemia, at McMaster Children’s Hospital, in favour of traditional medicine. The chemotherapy treatment gave her a 90-95% survival rate.

The hospital appealed to the courts to compel the Brant Children’s Aid Society to force her to resume her chemotherapy treatment, however Judge Gethin Edward ruled otherwise:

I cannot find that J.J. is a child in need of protection when her substitute decision-maker has chosen to exercise her constitutionally protected right to pursue their traditional medicine over the Applicant’s stated course of treatment of chemotherapy.

So, the child will most likely die. What I find ironic, however, is that the child is taking treatment from a charlatan in Florida who is administering vitamin drinks and raw food diets as his cancer cure.

In a video obtained by CBC News, Clement says his institute teaches people to “heal themselves” from cancer by eating raw, organic vegetables and having a positive attitude.

So, how is this traditional medicine? In other words, if the court, wrongly, believes that the child should have a constitutionally protected right to pursue traditional medicine, why is she pursuing some quack’s fake cure in Florida? How is that traditional?

Lastly, how is this court case consistent with how Canada has dealt with similar challenges in the past? In 2009, a Jehovah Witness girl’s case was dismissed when she claimed her rights were violated when she was forced to receive a life-saving blood transfusion. Indeed, the

Supreme Court ruled that such medical interventions are constitutionally sound, striking a balance between the choice of the child and the state’s protection of the child.

So is it different for First Nations children? It appears so. This is a despicable miscarriage of justice that has damned this child to die a slow, agonizing death. Shame on you Judge Edward.

One Thing Leads to Another – So To Speak

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has recently posted an article describing how their prophet, Joseph Smith and subsequent church leadership chose to alternately include and exclude “plural marriage” in their practices.  While their practices are not exactly news, the article is something new and, apparently is providing concern and doubt … Continue reading

God and the Winnipeg Police Force

This past Saturday evening (Nov 8), the Humanists, Atheists and Agnostics of Manitoba (HAAM) invited Police Chief Devon Clunis to speak with them. Chief Clunis gave a talk called, Creating a Culture of Safety and followed up with a Q&A session. It’s great that Clunis engaged HAAM and kudos to him … Continue reading

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