Daniel Hauser doesn’t think he’s sick, and he thinks chemotherapy will kill him. The 13-year-old with Hodgkin’s lymphoma told a judge he got so ill he couldn’t walk the one time he got the treatment.
“I’d fight it if I had to take it again,” Daniel said, according to a transcript of his court testimony. “I’d punch them and I’d kick them.”
The boy’s parents opted for “alternative medicines,” citing their religious beliefs, even though doctors said he would almost certainly die without chemotherapy. Brown County District Judge John Rodenberg ruled Friday the boy from Sleepy Eye needs to be re-evaluated to see whether he would still benefit from chemotherapy treatments — or whether his cancer has advanced to a point where it is already too late.
Rodenberg found Daniel, who likes to do field work on the family farm, play baseball with his siblings and go sledding, has been “medically neglected” by his parents, Colleen and Anthony Hauser.
The judge wrote that Daniel has only a “rudimentary understanding at best of the risks and benefits of chemotherapy. ... he does not believe he is ill currently. The fact is that he is very ill currently.”
The judge allowed Daniel to stay with his parents, noting they love him and acted in good faith. But he gave them until Tuesday to get an updated chest X-ray and select an oncologist.
If the tumor has not grown and if Daniel’s prognosis remains optimistic, then chemotherapy and possible radiation appear to be in Daniel’s best interest, Rodenberg wrote. The judge said he would not order chemotherapy if doctors find the cancer is too advanced.
If chemotherapy is ordered and the family refuses, the judge said, Daniel will be placed in temporary custody. It was unclear how the medicine would be administered if the boy fights it.
Calvin Johnson, an attorney for Daniel’s parents, said the family is considering an appeal. For now, he said, Daniel is following the order and will have X-rays Monday.
Daniel was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in January. It was recommended that he have six rounds of chemotherapy but he stopped after one round in February.
Doctors have said Daniel’s cancer had a 90 percent chance of being cured with chemotherapy and radiation. Without those treatments, doctors said his chances of survival are 5 percent. Child protection workers accused Daniel’s parents of medical neglect, and went to court seeking custody.
Court testimony indicated Daniel’s tumor shrank after the first round of chemo, but has since grown. His mother, Colleen Hauser, testified last week: “My son is not in any medical danger at this point.”
She has been treating his cancer with herbal supplements, vitamins, ionized water, and other natural alternatives she learned about on the Internet — despite testimony from five doctors who agreed Daniel needed chemotherapy. Daniel told the judge during closed testimony that he has also been eating “green food” such as broccoli and beans, as well as eggs and fruit.