Respectful Insolence

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been blogging regularly about the case of Daniel Hauser, the 13-year-old boy with stage 2B Hodgkin’s lymphoma who, after one course of chemotherapy in January, refused to undergo any more, citing a faux religion run by a woo-meister naturopath and Native American wannabe called “Chief” Cloudpiler. In reality, it probably wasn’t so much belief in this fake religion, which is really no more than an excuse to use laws guaranteeing Native Americans freedom to practice their religions as justification for using peyote and various quackery for disease, but rather fear of chemotherapy brought on by the death of his aunt. Last week, a judge in Minnesota, Judge John Rodenberg, ordered Daniel’s parents to have him seen on Monday by his pediatrician for an X-ray to see if his tumor had regrown and then to get him to a pediatric oncologist to undergo treatment. I characterized it as a good decision but with one risk, namely that Daniel might flee. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened. Daniel’s mother, after getting Daniel X-rayed on Monday, was told that his tumor had regrown to at least as large as it was at the time of diagnosis. Tuesday, she and Daniel failed to show up for their scheduled court appearance.

We now know for sure that they have fled. In fact, it looks very likely that they’re fleeing for Mexico and may already be there:

SLEEPY EYE, MINN. — Daniel Hauser, the 13-year-old Minnesota boy with cancer, and his mother, Colleen, have traveled to California and are possibly on their way to Mexico seeking medical treatment, the Brown County sheriff announced tonight.

At a press conference, Sherif Rich Hoffmann said authorities have received reliable information that the Hausers are traveling together.

Hoffmann said authorities think the pair is somewhere between Los Angeles and the Mexican border, but he said law enforcement have not had contact with them. Hoffman said it’s believed they’re heading to an area just south of San Diego.

It figures. If Hoffman’s information is accurate (it is always possible that Anthony Hauser is lying to misdirect police and give his wife and son more of a chance to evade capture, after all), they’re almost certainly on their way to the quackery mills of Tijuana

Tijuana, where Abraham Cherrix first fled to undergo the quack therapy known as the Hoxsey treatment at the Bio-Medical Center. Tijuana, the place where über-quack (in my opinion, of course) Hulda Clark plies her trade, claiming that “all cancer” is caused by a liver fluke and that she can “cure” it by zapping it with a cheap electrical device that she calls her zapper in a decrepit “clinic,” from which she sends her attack poodle Timothy Bolen to sally forth to do battle with her foes by sending them vacuous legal threats. Tijuana, the place where Coretta Scott King, on her last legs after a long losing battle with ovarian cancer, headed to try woo but ended up dying in one of Tijuana’s quack clinics.

It’s not surprising that Daniel and his mother are on the way to Tijuana. That’s the first place where I (or anyone else familiar with quack cancer “cures”) would have predicted they’d go. It’s a veritable cornucopia of quackery, and it’s highly unlikely that the police would take much interest in looking for a lone American boy and his mother taking advantage of that cornucopia of woo. In fact, it’s probably even worse than it was when Abraham Cherrix fled there nearly three years ago because at least then there wasn’t a war between drug cartels going on in Mexico, with the attendant hundreds of fatalities that have occurred in the last year. If the police weren’t interested in bothering Americans coming to Tijuana for “alternative medicine” or in shutting down the quacks taking advantage of them three years ago, they’re going to be even less so now. Of course, they have to get across the border first, and now that a notice is out the Border Patrol will be on the lookout for them. They are unlikely to be able to cross at the San Diego border checkpoint–or any border checkpoint, for that matter. They’ll have to cross the desert or find a boat, the former of which is fraught with peril and the latter of which is likely to carry a high risk of being caught. What I fear is that they’ll hook up with a coyote, who will try to get them across the dangerous desert crossing.

I had also wondered about Anthony Hauser, Daniel’s father. I didn’t know if he was just clueless, if he disagreed with Daniel’s mother but was to wimpy to challenge her, or if he was complicit in her flight. After reading more news reports I’m leaning towards viewing him as disingenuous at best and complicit at worst.

Daniel Hauser’s father said earlier today he believes his son and his wife have left the country, but won’t say where he thinks they have gone to keep out of reach of authorities.

“I have an opinion where they are, but I can’t say I know,” said Anthony Hauser, adding that he has placed a call to a telephone where he believes he can reach them.

Hauser specifically said he does not believe Daniel and Colleen Hauser have fled to Canada

Yeah, right. This is so obviously plausible deniability that it’s a wonder that Judge Rodenberg doesn’t throw his butt in the slammer for contempt of court. Who knows? He may even be lying to cover their trail? Want more evidence? Read between the lines here:

Hoffmann said Anthony Hauser “has been in contact with the investigators and he’s been cooperative in the information he has provided.

“We can’t speculate on the sincerity of the information that Anthony Hauser has provided.”

In other words, it sounds as though Hoffman thinks Anthony Hauser is either lying or not telling him everything he knows. Based on Hauser’s behavior since his wife and son fled, that sounds like a good bet to me. Moreover, it looks very much as though they had help from a member of the Nemenhah named Susan Daya Hamwi and a former teen who also ran from chemotherapy, Billy Best:

The alert said they might also be with a Massachusetts man named Billy Best, who as a teenager in 1994 ran away from home to escape chemotherapy for cancer similar to Daniel’s. Best, who says he was cured by natural remedies, had appeared at a news conference in Minnesota recently to support the Hausers.

Best, in a phone interview, said he was in Boston and hadn’t talked to the Hausers since they fled. He said he last saw the family May 9 when he was in Minnesota for court hearings.

“I just want to help this kid. I just feel like people are ganging up on him and it’s not fair,” Best said. “He’s a nice kid, the family’s nice, and they love him, and they want him to live.”

I have no doubt that Daniel and his family are probably very nice and that Colleen and Anthony Hauser love Daniel very much. In this case, however, the motivations behind their actions are not as important as their actions themselves, which directly endanger Daniel’s life. Their fear of chemotherapy and belief in Chief Cloudpiler’s quackery have led them to do something that could easily lead to his death. Moreover, Billy Best isn’t exactly the best role model to follow. After all, he underwent at least a couple of courses of chemotherapy stretching over a few months. That’s less than optimal therapy, but it could well have cured him. In other words, by the time Billy fled, he had already received, as far as I can tell, a pretty good course of chemotherapy. It may not have been the complete course recommended for Hodgkin’s disease, but it was apparently enough. In other words, Billy Best underwent incomplete conventional therapy, but it was enough to cure him. As with most “alternative cancer cure” testimonials, Best and his supporters credit the Essiac and other “natural” therapies and woo for his good fortune, not the chemotherapy.

Still, complicit or not, Anthony Hauser is at least somewhat more reasonable than his wife:

When X-rays this week showed the tumor had grown back to its original size, “it threw fear” into his wife, Anthony Hauser said. “She didn’t tell me that. I just know her.”

Hauser said he was a “bit disappointed” that his wife didn’t stick with the plan they had talked about. “We were going to present a treatment plan to the court. If they didn’t go with it, we would appeal it,” he said. Anthony Hasuer said he doesn’t oppose chemotherapy but would prefer that it be given less frequently and in conjunction with alternative therapy.

But only somewhat:

I know many people around here who have had cancer, they did the chemo, it would come back,” Hauser said. “They did the chemo again and again and they are all in the grave. Chemo isn’t foolproof.”

No, chemotherapy isn’t foolproof, but in Anthony’s son’s case, it would have been about as close to “foolproof” as it is possible to be against cancer, assuming his wife doesn’t delay effective therapy so long that Daniel’s tumor progresses to the point where it becomes much less curable. On the other hand, even if his lymphoma does grow that much, there would still be a reasonable chance that scientific medicine could save Daniel’s life, a chance that would still be worth taking. The woo that his wife is pursuing for Daniel is, in essence, the same thing as doing nothing. It’s delaying Daniel’s treatment. It is criminal neglect:

If police find the Hausers, Daniel would be put in foster care. No criminal charges have been filed against Colleen Hauser. If she knew Daniel’s tumor had grown before she left with him then she could be charged with criminal neglect.

I fear that if Daniel isn’t found very soon, that he won’t be found for a long time. I also fear that he is not Billy Best. Unlike Best, Daniel only underwent one round of chemotherapy, and his tumor grew right back, most likely because he had undergone inadequate therapy. Even worse, in the two months since his last X-ray, during which he has been using the Nemenhah woo, his tumor has grown. That is a clear indication that the woo isn’t working. (Big surprise.) In oncology, when a tumor keeps growing through therapy, oncologists change therapy. Perhaps that’s what Colleen thinks she is doing, but she is going from one form of quackery to another.

If he isn’t found soon, Daniel could well end up paying the price for her choice.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTARY

  1. The Nemenhah Band and the Daniel Hauser controversy
  2. Daniel Hauser’s Mom Takes Off Running
  3. Daniel Hauser Flees Country to Avoid Chemotherapy: Is Prayer to Blame?

Orac’s commentary

  1. Another child sacrificing himself on the altar of irrational belief
  2. Daniel Hauser and his rejection of chemotherapy: Is religion the driving force or just a convenient excuse?
  3. Judge John Rodenberg gives chemotherapy refusenik Daniel Hauser a chance to live
  4. Mike Adams brings home the crazy over the Daniel Hauser case
  5. The case of chemotherapy refusenik Daniel Hauser: I was afraid of this
  6. Chemotherapy versus death from cancer
  7. Chemotherapy refusenik Daniel Hauser: On the way to Mexico with his mother?
  8. An astoundingly inaccurate headline about the Daniel Hauser case
  9. Good news for Daniel Hauser!
  10. Daniel Hauser, fundraising, and “health freedom”

Comments

  1. #1 Pareidolius
    May 21, 2009

    That kid’s in great hands. Here is an example of the total medical awesomeness that is typical of the Native American™ Nenemah “healers”, check out this incredibly authentic Namenhah lodge in Florida . . .

    http://www.barefeetlodge.org/

    I can smell the sweet grasses of the endless prarie just looking at these pictures. Oh, and don’t forget to check out this pseudoshaman’s OTHER business . . .

    http://www.cassadaga.biz/

  2. #2 wheatdogg
    May 21, 2009

    The AP interviewed Best by phone. He was at his home in Boston, and said he had no idea where the Hausers were. Meanwhile, calls to Hamwi’s cell phone and office phone are going unanswered. Her Twitter updates are set to private, if that means anything. Her office (a sailboat!) is docked in Venice, Calif., I think, so I would hope law enforcement officials are watching both the boat and whatever other properties she rents/owns in LA.

    If you believe Clodpiler — sorry, Cloudpiler — and his crony, Mooney, who commented on my blog, the official Nemenhah line is that Colleen and Daniel should go home. In that case, Hamwi is a rogue Nemenhah member. News reports suggest she encouraged the Hausers to go on the lam.

    Colleen seems expert in finding and taking bad advice.

  3. #3 luna1580
    May 21, 2009

    orac,

    thank you so much for noting not only the nemenhah “native” religious ties in this case, but also the very relevant fact that mrs. colleen hauser’s sister died after a course of chemo that she “tolerated” horribly.

    (for all readers: the “nemenhah” are a created “native” group founded by a white mormon naturopath seeking to use laws that protect genuine american indian free expression of religion from federal restriction, in order to prevent his woo of “native herbal cures” leading to him being tried successfully, yet again, for fraud when his “native cures” don’t work.)

    it seems apparent that some emotional hang-over from witnessing her sister’s death, combined with watching daniel get “sick” (as in vomiting, etc. he was already “sick” with lymphoma…) during his first chemo course made her illogical where daniel’s care is concerned.

    you don’t think they are wanting to go to mike adams Ecuadorian woo valley do you?

    i think it’s much more likely they are heading for hulda clark’s mexican woo fest, or a place we don’t yet know of.

    http://www.drclark.net/

  4. #4 luna1580
    May 21, 2009

    wheatdogg:

    “Clodpiler — sorry, Cloudpiler –”

    i know your slip was almost “crap-plier” his real native name….

  5. #5 luna1580
    May 21, 2009

    wheatdogg, none of what follows is directed at you, it is about (and to) the nemenhah (and other) woosters:

    because we all know that you can “ply” the gullible and desperate into taking your crap “medical” advice as “god’s own truth” and as “an ancient healing way” of sensible advice for modern desperate cancer patients, would you care to show any empirical evidence that what you say is true?

    it is a fact that countless modern medicines come from plant sources (i say this as a botanist). and so it stands to reason that there really are “herbs” out there which contain chemicals we humans can still use to heal ourselves from some maladies, i absolutely believe this to be true.

    but what i don’t believe is that some modern, western, religiously-couched version of a pseudo-native faith selling “herbal cures” in a multi-level-marketing scheme really has these cures to offer the world…if they did -and cared about life as a virtue- they would share these findings with science and let them be tested and reviewed.

    since they don’t, i can only conclude that these particular “cures” fail to work as promised….

  6. #6 Liz D
    May 21, 2009

    Do Colleen and Daniel Hauser have passports?

    Lack of passports would limit their options.

  7. #7 Danimal
    May 21, 2009

    “Do Colleen and Daniel Hauser have passports?”

    You do not need a passport to go to Mexico. You do need one to reenter the USA.

  8. #8 Gil
    May 21, 2009

    Perhaps another myth to be dispel is that cancer began in the 20th century. There’s a common view that people in the ‘olden days’ didn’t get cancer or that it was extremely rare. One problem is that most people suffered and died from infectious disease and didn’t get a big enough chance to develop cancer. Not to mention how many people in old times would know how to diagnose cancer if they saw it? ‘Nature’ folks are trying to run away with the myth that cancer derives from our modern ‘chemical’ lifestyle.

  9. #9 Dan Shapiro
    May 21, 2009

    I had stage 2B Hodgkin’s Disease and relapsed twice — did a lot of chemotherapy, radiation, and even a bone marrow transplant. I understand the bone gnawing fatigue Daniel must feel and the desire to avoid those challenging treatments.

    On the other hand, I was last treated in March of 1991 and have been disease free since. It is likely not “too late” for Daniel, there are a number of effective options… (for what little it might be worth, my story is in a book titled, “mom’s marijuana).

    While our first response might be to scorn them, I’d suggest stepping back a moment — it’s terrifying to watch your children cope with cancer and the aggressive treatments, not knowing if they will work. Also, it is very possible that his aunt was told that her treatments would likely work and then didn’t. Just like with Daniel. So there are many scenarios that lead us to understand how desperate they must feel.

    That said, it’s not too late. Come back. I’m living proof that treatment for relapsed Hodgkin’s Disease can be effective.

  10. #10 ennui
    May 21, 2009

    there is a ticking time bomb (cancer). the life of an american is at stake. one man knows its location, but normal interrogation has not produced any actionable information. there’s a bucket of water over in the corner. you know what you have to do…

    but seriously i hope that they are found, and soon.

  11. #11 SLC
    May 21, 2009

    Somewhat OT but is Dr. Orac planning to comment on the situation with the wife of golfer Phil Mickelson who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. This would seem to be right up his alley.

  12. #12 Ahistoricality
    May 21, 2009

    Orac, It’s not as hard to get into Mexico as you think. I have a friend who was trying to drive from Arizona to New Mexico, made a wrong turn, and ended up about fifteen miles south of the border before realizing it. Getting back was a bit of a challenge — and these were the days before the passport requirement — but eventually the border agents decided that the red-headed 20-year old with the Maryland driver’s license and Arizona rental car probably wasn’t an illegal Irish immigrant.

    So there are some unguarded routes. At least there used to be.

  13. #13 Luna_the_cat
    May 21, 2009

    I don’t see this ending well for Daniel; I wish I could, but I just don’t see it going that way. His mother may love him, but she is sentencing him to a horrible death. The added tragedy is that no-one convinced of how “evil” chemo is, is even likely to learn from this — too emotionally entrenched.

  14. #14 goatgirl
    May 21, 2009

    I think this article is very enlightening in terms of where this family is coming from:

    http://www.startribune.com/local/45554457.html?elr=KArksLckD8EQDUoaEyqyP4O:DW3ckUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aU1yDEmP:QMDCinchO7DU

    Distrust, especially of the medical system. Isolation. Stress. Fear. It’s all there. Regardless of how it turns out, I don’t think anyone in this family is going to be able to escape the pain.

    I was incredibly pissed off on Tuesday and having a hard time finding any sympathy for the parents. But I’ve rethought it and have gone back to my original position. I think there are some other things going on with this family that maybe weren’t recognized. Things escalated, and this is the result.

    I hope this doesn’t end badly, but I have a feeling it will.

  15. #15 Jonathan
    May 21, 2009

    Alternative treatments may work for cancer if you have a slow growing tumor and have the time…6months or more… to get cured. Conventional treatments failed Mrs King. She never even got inside the clinic in Mexico for treatments. It wasnt the Mexican clinic that killed her. She waited too long to seek alternatives. US authorities used this as an excuss to shut down one of the finest conventional and alternative medicine hospitals in Mexico. It never reopened. If Daniel’s Hodgkin’s Lymphoma ,stage IIB, is the aggressive fast growing kind he may need chemo or radiation immediately to save his life. A fast growing medistational mass can grow so fast that in 30 days it can fill the chest cavity and can choke off the bronchial tubes and arteries to the heart, and pressing the lungs. I feel the doctors involved have not provided complete information and explained all of the side effects of the treatments and what to expect. They usually don’t. You fear what you don’t know. Perhaps given all the information Daniel and his parents would have made a different choice. And that choice should always be the parents. No one, judge or court, should force anyone to take chemo or radiation. The stress of taking a child away from his parents and the fear of the cancer and chemo is enough to kill any kid and no kid should ever have to endure that at the hand of the state. They took Katie away from her parents with no hearing for the parents before taking her. Daniel’s parents had a hearing and were allowed to keep Daniel in their custody if they went through the chemo. Chemo and radiation are both very harmful and have long term negative effects on your life. This choice is not the same as a blood transfusion or emergency surgery that could save a child’s life. Many that achieve “cures” with chemo and radiation are using alternative cancer treatments along with it. They just don’t tell their doctor. Those that tell their doctor are told to stop using it and if they do stop the alternative they end up dyng. There is an oncologist in Italy curing breast cancer and other cancers with sodium bicarbonate, here we are cutting breasts off and using chemo. I took the scientific paper to MD Anderson and gave it to two professors. Not a word out of MD that they could now cure breast cancer with a $10 bottle of sodium bicarbonate. I saw a young beautiful child of 10 years at MD treated for cancer come down with a fungal disease a few days before she was to be released and MD let her die when the fungal disease could have been destroyed with a sodium bicarbonate solution. It was resistant to all their antibotics. Latest research shows Vitamin C has now been proven to shrink tumors in animals by over 50% when used at high doses equivalent to 200 grams for a human. http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=91603 Its effectiveness could be increased greatly if supplemented with bioflavonoids. Chemo and radiation did not cure Katie’s cancer. MD Anderson’s experimental treatments on Katie took her chances of survival down to 20-25% before giving her back to her parents. Yes, they experiment with our kids because kids and parents can’t refuse the treatments. The doctor just has to call Child Protective Services. Where was that 90-95% survival rate? Yet, both Katie and Abraham are both alive and well.

  16. #16 wheatdogg
    May 21, 2009

    Luna –

    No offense taken. I know you’re not dumping on me. I have a close relation who is an alt-med, faith-healing believer, and her abiding belief in woo over modern medicine has turned me into an enemy of alt-med and faith healers. We had arguments about vaccinating my kids as infants, even. Colleen Hauser is cut from the same cloth.

    In such situations, someone in a family has to step up and wrest control from the woo believer, lest terrible things happen. Colleen’s husband was apparently not up the task of being fervently anti-woo. Now he’s at home alone with 70 head of dairy cows and 7 homeschooled kids, a fugitive wife and a dying son.

    I am still not sure whether I should be angry at Colleen and Nemenhah, or sad for the tragedy that has unfolded these last two weeks.

  17. #17 Luna_the_cat
    May 21, 2009

    Jonathan, all that bs has been debunked, multiple times, on this blog, by people who actually know first hand what they are talking about — including the wishful thinking about vitamin C, the Myth That Will Not Die. Do you have any hard evidence other than your “wish to believe”? Then present the evidence. And by evidence: documentation. Case studies. Peer-reviewed papers. Cripes, even plausible mechanisms. Something which independent, objective observers can confirm exists. ~Not credulous stories about evil doctors who like to see their patients die and nameless people and miraculous cures with substances EVERYONE knows about, but are suppressed by some supposed world-wide conspiracy.

    Crap, grow some critical thinking skills, will you? There are actual reasons why people don’t take this regurgitated idiocy seriously.

  18. #18 Lindsay
    May 21, 2009
  19. #19 wheatdogg
    May 21, 2009

    jonathan -
    I saw a young beautiful child of 10 years at MD treated for cancer come down with a fungal disease a few days before she was to be released and MD let her die when the fungal disease could have been destroyed with a sodium bicarbonate solution. It was resistant to all their antibotics.

    Antibiotics do not attack fungal infections, son. They attack bacteria. You need anti-fungals to treat fungal infections. If the infection is systemic, the anti-fungals are intravenous. A topical solution of sodium bicarb is not going to cure anything. Otherwise, manufacturers of foot fungus products would have gone broke years ago.

    Were you a witness to this tragedy, or are you merely repeating (mis)information from the Internet?

  20. #20 hellocthulu
    May 21, 2009

    Jonathan
    Seriously, are you aware of just how much bullshit you are spewing?
    “Curing cancer with sodium bicaronate”: Orac’s covered that fool, who says that “All cancers are white, thus all cancers are caused by a fungus”. Yeah, after trying to push that shit for a while, he got his liscence yanked.

    Take your “Doctors are evil” rants, and shove ‘em.

  21. #21 Corry
    May 21, 2009

    @15 Jonathan- Could you please cite the paper where bicarbonate cures breast cancer? What you fail to understand is that cancer is not one disease. Cancer is a very heterogeneous group of diseases with a common result- the disregulation of the cellular lifecycle. Even if one specific type of cancer could be hypothetically cured with bicarbonate, there are many, many remaining types of cancer that would not respond to such treatment.

    Furthermore, you fail to understand how informed consent works. “Yes, they experiment with our kids because kids and parents can’t refuse the treatments.” If a doctor is coercing a family to enter a clinical trial, that is inappropriate and should be reported to their institution. But to claim that doctors are ghoulishly experimenting on children is inaccurate. Doctors are trying to discover ways to save lives. Should we throw out scientific discovery? Should we treat people with “the King’s touch” and burning witches? You seem to think so.

    I encourage you to read the following post on this blog, along with the many comments from people who have experienced long term cure from chemotherapy and radiation. http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/05/chemotherapy_versus_death_from_cancer.php

  22. #22 rrt
    May 21, 2009

    I share your mix of anger and sympathy, goatgirl. But I don’t really think this has gone unrecognized. Oh, sure, by some bloggers and most of the media. But I suspect the court heard about this and understood it was a factor (haven’t read the transcripts though…)

    But I also don’t think it matters. Even knowing the emotional agony of the family, the bad past experiences, other confounding factors…at the end of the day, what could the court have done differently? At the end you still are left with trying to explain the medical situation and requiring treatment if they refuse. And I have to think at least some players in this tried to explain it nicely. I can’t buy that every single person trying to HELP them was hostile…I figure rather a lot of them weren’t. I don’t mean to imply you thought otherwise, just trying to cover suggested approaches.

    Yet another thought that makes me sick: If Daniel dies, they’ll probably blame the court. They’ll claim his woo treatments were interrupted or he couldn’t get the right ones in Mexico or the stress caused a negative energy resonance with the herbal chi flux… So it’ll only get worse. The parents and woo community will still be in denial, the case will still “prove” the woo works and chemo doesn’t, we and the State will still be the Enemy, only now the parents will also be hurting like hell for their son’s death. And a much as they’ll blame us for it, probably burning with buried doubt about their choices. I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.

  23. #23 Orac
    May 21, 2009

    You do not need a passport to go to Mexico. You do need one to reenter the USA.

    Not yet. At least, I thought that the passport requirement for reentering the U.S. from Mexico or Canada isn’t going into effect until June 1.

  24. #24 Prup (aka Jim Benton)
    May 21, 2009

    Re Jonathan:
    The man is an ignoramus, of course, but he came up with a defense of quackery that was new to me, and if it is new, deserves to be given his name. I’d never heard anyone else argue that ‘the people who were cured of cancer were REALLY using alternative treatment protocols without telling their doctors, and it was that that cured them. The ones who died were the ones who told their doctor and stopped taking the alternative treatments.’

    It’s brilliant. Total nonsense, yes, but I do find ‘faith-based thinking’ (which this is, whether it is a religiously-based faith or not) fascinating.

    Let’s all step in the beam of the reactor and wake up in Jonathan’s world. (Fans of the early PKDick novel, EYE IN THE SKY — and why hasn’t THAT been picked up for a movie — will recognize the reference. For the rest of you, the context makes my meaning clear.)

    The great fun in walking around in worlds like this is that the cracks show up very soon. The doctors in Jonathanworld are incredibly evil and greedy, but they are also pretty damn dumb, self-defeatingly so. After all, you can’t bill a dead guy. (You can’t even always collect from an estate, if there isn’t any.) You might be able to collect a lot for the ‘dying period’ — though most of that would go to a hospital and not to the practitioner.

    No, in Jonathanworld — which has little relationship to the one we live in — doctors wouldn’t stop the alternative treatments that ‘work’ to give the ‘killing medicine.’ Somebody would have been clever enough to realize that they could ‘slip the treatments’ in with the medicine, thus keeping the patient alive longer so you could keep billing them for the ‘ineffective’ evidence-based medicine.

    (Hmmm, something tells me this approach might lead to a series.)

  25. #25 medstudent
    May 21, 2009

    I know this is google-able… but without treatment, how fast does a Hogdkin’s lymphoma move from presentation until death?

  26. #26 medstudent
    May 21, 2009

    … Hodgkin’s (that’s embarassing)

  27. #27 Luna_the_cat
    May 21, 2009

    wheatdogg, I take it you mean luna1580 and not me?

  28. #28 rrt
    May 21, 2009

    If Jonathan’s Italian doctor is Simoncini, wheatdogg, then that “fungal disease” could have been anything, including cancer. The man’s guilty of gross medical malpractice, Jonathan…I’d go so far as to call it manslaughter. As for Katie Wernecke, she is indeed alive and, seemingly, well. And we have some cause to suspect another round of science-based medicine taken sometime in the past few years may be why.

  29. #29 goatgirl
    May 21, 2009

    I’m sorry, rrt, I can see I wasn’t being very clear.

    My comment had to do with whether the family’s social and emotional situation could have been recognized sooner, before the situation got so adversarial.

    Granted, people do not go around with signs pasted on their foreheads – “Handle with care”; “I don’t trust you”; “I’m not health-literate” and the like – nor can the medical team be expected to be mind readers.

    It’s just that I have more or less been in Daniel’s shoes, and one of the things I learned was that the medical team can get so focused on dealing with the immediate situation that the patient’s and family’s emotional and psychosocial needs might not be addressed, or at least might not be addressed early enough in the process. I don’t know if that was the case here; I’m simply speculating on the basis of personal experience and on what I’ve heard other patients and families say. It is a truth that doesn’t always get acknowledged.

    I think this perception was confirmed a couple of years ago when the IoM issued a report on the need for cancer care providers to do better at treating the whole patient. Without sounding bitter, there were a lot of times when I felt I was being treated like a can of dog food on the assembly line, but I guess that’s neither here nor there.

    It does seem as though many, many people tried their best with the Hausers. Maybe 99 percent of the time, the message would eventually have gotten through. Maybe this is one of those times when everyone’s best efforts still can’t influence the outcome.

  30. #30 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 21, 2009

    So I wonder if the people defending Mrs. Hauser because she has the right to do with her child as she sees fit would also defend this mother.

    GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. — Deputies are looking for a mother and son after the state planned to take the 555-pound 14-year-old boy into protective custody, according to Greenville County deputies.

    Alexander Draper is considered to be at a critical stage of health risk. When officers went to take the boy from the home, they found that he and his mother, Jerri Gray, had left the home on Goodwin Bridge Road in Travelers Rest.

    According to the Department of Social Services, Gray was supposed to appear in family court with the boy on Tuesday, but they did not show up.

    At the hearing, Alexander was ordered into the custody of the state due to medical neglect and Gray’s failure to appear in court. Investigators said that the mother and son’s whereabouts are unknown to family members.

  31. #31 IcePanther
    May 21, 2009

    You may be interested to know that this case, which I followed from the beginning on your blog, has made it to international news, since it was broadcast on national TV in France, where I live.

    The 2-minute feature described the case, and joined the wide-accepted stance that the child had few chances to survive (“five tears to live”, to quote it) without undergoing conventional therapy.

  32. #32 JennyJo
    May 21, 2009

    “I took the scientific paper to MD Anderson and gave it to two professors.”

    Yes Jonathan, where is this “scientific” paper?

  33. #33 Irene Delse
    May 21, 2009

    Jonathan #15: “Alternative treatments may work for cancer if you have a slow growing tumor and have the time… 6months or more… to get cured.”

    Translation: though “alternative” treatment does nothing to help reduce the tumor, you can’t tell if the cancer goes into remission on its own. Quacks always take credit for nature.

  34. #34 D. C. Sessions
    May 21, 2009

    Orac, I am truly impressed. Whatever it was that sent up the BatShit Signal over your blog, you definitely got some serious Arkham material to respond.

  35. #35 Kimbo Jones
    May 21, 2009

    Great, now he gets to fight off swine flu with a magic bean whilst he fights his cancer with a magic potion.

  36. #36 Jedemy
    May 21, 2009

    I don’t want those fools and their woo in my country, stupidity might be contagious.
    They should be grateful they have a healthcare system that can help them, many people in my country would like that oportunity, and yet, they run away from it. It’s really sad.

  37. #37 Anton Mates
    May 21, 2009

    On another note, here’s a brief article mentioning Katie Wernecke. According to the guy who dosed her up with Vitamin C, she’s now perfectly fine.

    http://www.kansascw.com/Global/story.asp?S=10405255

  38. #38 pathgirl
    May 21, 2009

    I declare it the Jonathan Hypothesis of cancer/woo…

  39. #39 Orac
    May 21, 2009

    Key quote:

    Dr. Ron Hunninghake treated Katie. He says the center’s intravenous Vitamin C therapy coupled with chemo saved her life.

    In other words, he combined woo with chemotherapy. (See my multiple posts on vitamin C showing that it probably does nothing for cancer and if even if it does it does very little. The chemotherapy saved her.

  40. #40 pathgirl
    May 21, 2009

    I declare it the Jonathan Hypothesis of cancer/woo…

  41. #41 pathgirl
    May 21, 2009

    I declare it the Jonathan Hypothesis of cancer/woo…

  42. #42 wheatdogg
    May 21, 2009

    Sorry, luna_the_cat, I meant luna1580.

    Meanwhile, the dad is now pleading for his wife’s and son’s return. He read from a prepared statement, so he may have acted at the behest of the local sheriff and/or his own attorney.

  43. #43 luna1580
    May 21, 2009

    i thought the chronology of the comments made that obvious, but i’m new here. sorry if it caused confusion ms. luna_the_cat ;)

  44. #44 Marcus Ranum
    May 22, 2009

    Orac writes:
    They are unlikely to be able to cross at the San Diego border checkpoint

    I can tell you haven’t been through there lately. There’s scrutiny in-bound but out-bound you just walk through a people-funnel and into Mexico. Osama Bin Laden could probably walk through it unmolested accompanied by a mariachi band and cheerleaders and nobody’d look twice.

  45. #45 sophia8
    May 22, 2009

    @Jedemy: You mean you Mexicans don’t go and get all your cancers cured at those wonderful Tijiuana clinics?

  46. #46 iszlq
    May 22, 2009

    I have a question for doctors/scientists:

    How is the survival rate between NO TREATMENT and CHEMO determined? I’m assuming that most people opt for conventional treatment – meaning chemo, so that a control group would be essentially non-existent.

    I’m assuming there were or are animal studies which include a control group. Can you or maybe one of your readers direct me to some? Are there studies which directly compare these treatments – at least in animals? Thanks.

  47. #47 rrt
    May 22, 2009

    Interesting question, iszlq. My guess would be that the no-treatment numbers would be historical…pre-chemo and radiation, back in the days when these diagnoses were quite accurately recognized and feared as death sentences.

  48. #48 Roy Schwartz
    May 23, 2009

    You can read more about Hodgkin’s and why treating Daniel is so important here:
    http://bit.ly/PtgV3

  49. #49 Anna
    May 23, 2009

    “Quack. quack. quack. quack.” That word is used so loosely? Dude, are you part duck?
    Its funny that both sides say it about the other side. Sometimes I feel like somebody’s watching me? But then again… so many countless ducks out there – that all I can see is a pond with a nice view – a whole duck village… Truth doesn’t change – no matter what anyone believes… yeah… get away from this pond as fast as you can…. because they’ll drown you with the white noise… of I must be right.

  50. #50 Orac
    May 23, 2009

    Oh, in this case the words “quack” and “quackery” are used very deliberately because they accurately describe what happens in those clinics in Tijuana.

  51. #51 Hedi Hegyi
    May 24, 2009

    So if he was given inadequate therapy as you say, what is the guarantee that this time he will be given the right one?

  52. #52 Orac
    May 24, 2009

    He was given inadequate therapy because he refused further therapy after only one round of chemotherapy. In other words, the reason his therapy was inadequate is because he and his mother made it so by refusing any more after the first course.