Respectful Insolence

Almost exactly a year ago, I noted the very sad case of Jeremy LaBrie, an 8 year old autistic child with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma whose mother Kristen withheld his medications and failed to take him to appointments with his oncologist. As a result of his failing to undergo his complete course of chemotherapy, his cancer returned with a vengeance. As of one year ago, his odds of survival were estimated to be no more than 10-20%, after having had a good prognosis when initially diagnosed. At the time, I thought it was entirely appropriate for the state to prosecute Kristen LaBrie for medical neglect and even negligent homicide if Jeremy were to die, which at the time seemed very likely.

Unfortunately, the likely came to pass in March. Jeremy died, and now Kristen is being prosecuted for manslaughter:

SALEM, Mass. – A woman accused of withholding cancer treatment from her autistic son has been charged with attempted murder.

Kristen LaBrie is scheduled to appear in Salem Superior Court on Monday on charges of attempted murder, child endangerment and permitting bodily injury to a disabled person.

LaBrie is denying the charges:

In October 2006, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but doctors gave him an 85 percent to 90 percent chance of recovery, MacDougall said. The boy was given large doses of chemotherapy in the hospital and his cancer went into remission.

His mother was given prescriptions for medications he was to be given at home. MacDougall said LaBrie repeatedly failed to pick up prescriptions, but led doctors to believe they were being filled, at one point asking for a liquid version of the medication because her son was having trouble swallowing pills.

“Miss LaBrie never expressed any misgivings about the treatment,” MacDougall said.

In February 2008, after one of Jeremy’s doctors called LaBrie’s pharmacy and learned she had not been filling prescriptions, LaBrie said the pharmacy must have made a mistake, MacDougall said.

It was at that point that doctors discovered that the boy’s cancer had returned as leukemia and was untreatable with chemotherapy, she said.

This case is different than the usual ones that I examine here in that Kristen did not refuse chemotherapy for her son because she wanted to pursue woo. Indeed, there is no evidence that she sought “alternative” therapy or other quackery for her son. There were also factors that made the case complex, including Jeremy’s autism and a divorce. Whatever the reasons that Mrs. LaBrie failed to give Jeremy the followup consolidation and maintenance chemotherapy that he needed, if the allegations are true, this was straight-up medical neglect, pure and simple.

The sad thing is, as I mentioned before, is the likelihood that, if Kristin Ann LeBrie were a religious extremist who refused chemotherapy for her child in favor of prayer or an “alternative medicine” maven who thinks that some vitamin water would be more likely to cure her child than chemotherapy, the law would likely indulge her far more, thanks to laws that exclude religion-inspired neglect from child-neglect laws and that give a parent essentially unlimited rights to choose quackery. On the other hand, I’m heartened by my perception that the law is becoming less tolerant of medical neglect than it once was. I don’t know if that’s my impression because these stories are showing up in the national media more often, but that’s how it seems to me. 13-year-old Danny Hauser, for instance, was not allowed to pursue quackery instead of chemotherapy for his eminently treatable Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Leilani Neumann was convicted of second degree reckless homicide for choosing prayer instead of insulin and intravenous fluids to treat her daughter’s diabetic ketoacidosis. Now Kristin Ann LaBrie is being prosecuted for neglecting her autistic son, leading to his death from leukemia.

Let’s hope this really is a trend. As competent adults, people have the right to refuse care if they want or to choose quackery if they want to, as long as they understand the consequences, for virtually any reason they want to. They do not have the right to endanger their children with such choices.

Comments

  1. #1 catgirl
    July 7, 2009

    It’s so sad that the child had to die. I’m glad to see the mother being prosecuted, but justice isn’t much comfort when a child is dead. I wonder if there’s a better way to prevent these tragedies from happening in the first place.

  2. #2 Catherina
    July 7, 2009

    I don’t want to excuse her behaviour which cost her son his life, but could it be that she was simply overwhelmed? Does someone in this situation get help in organising cancer care/treatment, for example in the form of a cancer nurse?

  3. #3 Jay
    July 7, 2009

    I’m sure that all the kids that get left in hot cars during the summer can rest assured that their parents were just “overwhelmed”. I’m sure the justice system will also take that into account.

  4. #4 ebohlman
    July 7, 2009

    If she was “simply overwhelmed,” why would she pretend to be filling the prescriptions and ask for liquid meds?

  5. #5 Catherina
    July 7, 2009

    Jay,

    your comparison does not make sense – obviously the mother in this case let the treatment slip over months and no one picked up on it. There should be a control system in place.

  6. #6 chris
    July 7, 2009

    It is entirely possible that she was mentally incompetent to care for her child. Severe depression, for instance can make a person paranoid and do ridiculously illogical things. Or, perhaps she couldn’t afford the prescription meds and wasn’t competent to navigate the red tape to get assistance with paying for them. I wouldn’t go overboard condemning the woman until there is an explanation for her inaction. Now, if it turns out that she was using the money saved to buy Manolo Blahniks, then by all means hang her.

  7. #7 Lynsey
    July 7, 2009

    As someone with a long list of health complaints aggravated by parental/medical neglect growing up I’d like to say that ‘overwhelmed’ is a common factor in fraud of many kinds. Just as ‘shock’ is a common factor in determining the gravity of moral outrage. Neither determine a solution for the problem without adequate investigation and deliberate concern for the nature of it.

    Not really sure how many ‘competant’ adults I know but someone has to be responsible…

  8. #8 rrt
    July 7, 2009

    I agree about the seriousness of neglect and the need to go after it, Orac, so of course I’m totally with you there. But I wonder if this case is comprable. If the divorce and autism are factors, and if there was no woo, then considering her efforts to pretend she was giving him the meds, this could be even worse. Or at least, I see intending to encourage/hasten the child’s death as worse than letting a child die for the sake of beliefs.

  9. #9 Fannin
    July 7, 2009

    Well, speaking of indulgence, parents who kill disabled children get treated much, much better than parents who kill nondisabled children.

    I remember some years back the father of an autistic child told me that autism should be considered a terminal illness because it is just so hard for parents to have autistic children that they ought to be allowed to murder them if they like. In particular, parents who murder their autistic children should not ever be punished, because having to have an autistic child in the first place is “punishment enough.” And while nobody else has ever put it as baldly as Terminal Illness Guy, I’ve heard similar sentiments from other people — those with disabled family members and those who are just imagining what it would be like — and a whole lot of repetition of the “having a disabled child is punishment enough” line.

    I’m surprised and heartened that they’re bothering to charge LaBrie.

    I fully expect plenty of people to come out of the woodwork and start suggesting that because Jeremy was autistic, this is something that oughtn’t to be pursued. His poor, poor mother … burdened with a child like that … how she must have suffered … this is entirely understandable ….

    Yeah.

  10. #10 MartinDH
    July 7, 2009

    #2 & #5:

    Follow up care? Cancer nurse? Control system? Good grief, this is America where for-profit “health care” reigns supreme. Can’t have any of those nasty socialist social services gouging the profits of the insurance industries.


    Martin

  11. #11 Bronze Dog
    July 7, 2009

    Regarding “overwhelmed”: I had an anxiety attack one semester where I should have been working on a paper, but I was just blitzed trying to think of what to do, how to do it, and that I should probably wait “just another couple of hours to calm down” and get off to a good start and do it right. Glad I got my anxiety medication, now.

    Given the situation involves a child with cancer, I could conceive of a parent too nervous to give medication for fear of doing something wrong and still going through some of the motions to keep a facade of normality. But since she’s denying the charges, I currently doubt the hypothesis. This doesn’t seem to be the normal weirdness involving a case of cancer-related neglect from what I’ve read so far, though.

    I wholeheartedly agree with her being charged, though I’d keep a window open in case there’s some psychological problem involved.

  12. #12 Yagotta B. Kidding
    July 7, 2009

    This can’t be “manslaughter” since the supposed victim was a “soulless shell.” In fact, we know that autism is worse than death, so this case represents a net improvement in the world.

  13. #13 Barry Leiba
    July 7, 2009

    You say “manslaughter”, and the article says “attempted murder”. You know that manslaughter and murder are different crimes, right? Nothing in the MSNBC articles mentions manslaughter.

    I find it odd that she’s charged with “attempted” anything, since it appears to have succeeded. Hm.

  14. #14 Barry Leiba
    July 7, 2009

    You say “manslaughter”, and the article says “attempted murder”. You know that manslaughter and murder are different crimes, right? Nothing in the MSNBC articles mentions manslaughter.

    I find it odd that she’s charged with “attempted” anything, since it appears to have succeeded. Hm.

  15. #15 Stella
    July 7, 2009

    I don’t know about anyone else, but once or twice I have had nightmares in which I willingly allow my disabled child to die. I chalk it up to some latent instinct that might have been useful in times before civilization, when unhealthy offspring were costly. Killing or abandoning weak offspring is certainly common in the animal world. When I read about incidents like this, I start to wonder whether, in some people, those instincts aren’t as latent…

  16. #16 daedalus2u
    July 7, 2009

    Neglect is not the right term if she didn’t pick up the prescriptions but said she was.

  17. #17 Art
    July 7, 2009

    Sounds to me like the woman is, consciously or unconsciously, practicing a form of benign neglect to free her from a problematic and defective child.

    I take it that abortion, if she had known of his issues, would have been unacceptable. That infanticide would be intolerable. But if God, in his infinite wisdom, was to inflict a a fatal disease and call back her child that that would be different. That accepting ‘God’s will’ would be something of a virtue. That if the ‘blind to God’s will’ surrounding society, and downright evil government, were to prosecute her she will accept this burden a badge of honor for her faith.

    It all makes sense if you just translate the events and terms into their language. I don’t agree but it makes some sort of sense.

  18. #18 Janet Camp
    July 7, 2009

    These are the worst comments I have ever read on this blog. Shame on all of you for making such broad assumptions on so little evidence–some reasoned thinkers you turn out to be! The post gives virtually no information about the woman, not even her age or anything about her circumstances. I am not defending her, because I have no more info than any of you, but the flippant nature of many of these comments reminds me of blogs I’ve left behind long ago because of the simpleminded, knee-jerk responses of the readers.

    I do hope that Orac will provide more details and, frankly, since this case doesn’t seem to involve negligence through use of CAM, I’m not sure why it’s relevant. There could be all sorts of things going on here from ignorance, to being “overwhelmed”, to mental illness, to criminal intent, but apparently not woo.

  19. #19 Orac
    July 7, 2009

    Please click on the links in the post before you make make comments that border on being concern trolling. There are plenty of details in my previous post on the subject and in the two news stories about this.

  20. #20 Catherina
    July 7, 2009

    What Chris (#6 without the call for capital punishment) and Janet (#18) say.

  21. #21 Catherina
    July 7, 2009

    Orac,

    what detail in particular do you want us to look at? I see nothing that contradicts Chris, Janet or me. There is very little info apart from “messy divorce, single mom, stops giving child medicine”. Aparently there was some level of control – good. Should have been faster, in this case.

  22. #22 Stella
    July 7, 2009

    That concern trolling comment was directed at me, Orac, wasn’t it? If so, I’m batting 0 for 2 – I commented elsewhere that I thought Palin’s current state of mind had something to do with her disabled baby, and got the reply, “That’s very generous of you.” Bwah?! Humina?! And here I was thinking i was overly judgmental.

    Maybe I should use more obscene epithets directed at each person under discussion. She’s a fucking horrible neanderthal bitch who deserves the harshest sentence available, okay? Better? Or maybe I should crawl back to the catty parenting blogs where dumb mommies like me can talk about the only thing we have a right to an opinion on. (That is, each other.)

    Concern trolling… gah… I agree with you on nearly every point you’ve ever made in the year I’ve been following you, including this one; I hardly think I’m a troll.

    Forgive me if it wasn’t me you were referring to. I’m just really sick of people on the internet flaming me if I express emotion and scolding me if I withhold it.

  23. #23 Orac
    July 7, 2009

    what detail in particular do you want us to look at?

    My point exactly. What particular detail would you want to know that would impact the case other than what is in the reports?

  24. #24 Orac
    July 7, 2009

    That concern trolling comment was directed at me, Orac, wasn’t it

    No, it wasn’t.

  25. #25 Stella
    July 7, 2009

    Okay. Sorry. I guess I’m just mad at the internet in general today. Honestly, I didn’t read the whole article – I didn’t have the stomach for it.

  26. #26 Catherina
    July 7, 2009

    Orac – a motiv? More about the woman and the circumstances she lived under, are there indications that she was competent to deliver medical treatment to her son? As said, I don’t want to excuse her, but we know nothing about her except that she had gone through a messy divorce and stopped her son’s medication. This may become a story after the trial and with more info. Until then I am with Janet and Chris (sans hanging).

  27. #27 rrt
    July 7, 2009

    Catherina, I understand your desire to be cautious. I agree. My initial comment was cautious, as have been the comments of several others here. But we do know more than the divorce and the cessation of medication. We know–or I suppose, technically we know that the DA states–that she also misled her doctors to believe he was getting his medication when he was not. “MacDougall said LaBrie repeatedly failed to pick up prescriptions, but led doctors to believe they were being filled, at one point asking for a liquid version of the medication because her son was having trouble swallowing pills.” She allegedly lied in a fairly sophisticated way to hide the lack of medication from his doctors. She allegedly knew they’d object to what she was doing and intended to keep doing it. How am I supposed to interpret that?

    Moreover, even if we throw lots of mitigating factors at this situation, it still ends up being neglect. Tough circumstances don’t excuse this sort of neglect, and we should prosecute it accordingly. Unless the woman is genuinely insane; as far as I can imagine, that’s her only out. I’m not out to hang anyone, but I can’t see how this isn’t almost certainly criminal neglect on her part at the very least.

  28. #28 LovleAnjel
    July 7, 2009

    Stella @15

    I think you bring up a good point. People like to talk about how we are biologically hard-wired for sex/overeating/whatever, why not behaviors that maximize post-zygotic reproductive fitness on some level? It’s well documented that even something as seemingly insignificant as low birth weight can cause mammals to starve their offspring (with mice, if male offspring will not be big enough to adequately compete for mates, the mother will often push it away and prevent nursing).

    That, however does not excuse anyone’s behavior. I don’t care how frazzled or sick someone is, murdering a child is despicable. There is a difference between dreaming or imagining something and actually doing that thing.

  29. #29 Kathryn
    July 8, 2009

    This is fairly OT but good news. I just watched this week’s NOVA Science NOW, which had a very nice segment on the genetics of autism.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/0402/04.html

    I haven’t fact-checked to see if they changed anything to make a better story, but I was pleased that they showed autistic kids in a positive light and emphasized that the genetic info may help find ways to encourage the brain to get back on its normal development path. I was also happy they explained the science in terms laypeople should be able to understand.

    They had a pretty blond mother who wouldn’t take “there is not hope for your kid” for a answer… only she read scientific literature and tracked down a geneticist at the Society for Neuroscience meeting! Then she went around the country for two years collecting DNA samples from families with autism.

    One piece of storytelling I particularly liked was that they showed family movies of the son with autism, tracking how he was OK but stopped responding. The doctors told her he was severely autistic and probably retarded as well. At the end of the segment, they showed him spelling out words and “saying” that he had been listening all those years he hadn’t talked. He had progressed a lot, and seemed very happy (if obviously “different”).

    There were also scenes of adorable kids in some kind of therapy/play, smiling and interacting with the therapists.

    Take that, AoA drama queens whining about your “soulless shells”!

  30. #30 Catherina
    July 8, 2009

    Just for the sake of argument: the rescheduling of appointments and deception about the medication does not indicate “sanity” or “fitness”. Anorexics (for example) can go into elaborate deceptions to make it appear that they are eating, yet they are not healthy.

    I cannot decide what has happened in this case. Suffice it to say that my strangely socialistic idea of support, in the shape of a trained cancer nurse or the like, could pick up on cases like these independent of whether the mother is a ruthless murderer or just plain overwhelmed.

  31. #31 A.J
    July 8, 2009

    This pretty off-topic, but…

    “I chalk it up to some latent instinct that might have been useful in times before civilization, when unhealthy offspring were costly.”

    Just from reading the comments, and this one in particular, I get the feeling that people beleive that parents should look after their children, no matter how disabled they are. That to do otherwise would be barbaric and wrong. I find I don’t quite agree with the sentiment.

    Basically, I beleive that when an individual is terminally ill and suffering, whether from disease or extreme old age, that they should have the right to chose to die and be helped with carrying out that decision.

    More relevantly, I think that when a child is so disabled that they will never gain independence nor become a productive member of society, the parents should have the choice whether they care for the child or not.

    Just to make it clear, I am not saying that parents should be able to kill their autistic children or condone the actions of the women in question. Austistic children will still go on to lead full and productive lives, and that would be murder.

    However, when a individual will need care for every waking moment of the rest of their lives, what purpose does their continual existance serve, except as a great burden? As it is the parents who are being forced to care for such an individual, who will in no way contribute to society, should not they be able to choose?

    Again, this goes beyond getting ride of an annoyance. A difficult child, disabled or otherwise, is but part of life. One who might as well be catatonic is another thing altogether.

    In the end, it comes down to cold, hard logic. A cost-benefit analysis. The cost is enourmous. The benefit non-existant. Thus, should not the ones who will be paying, not only financially but with a great portion of their own lives, be able to choose?

  32. #32 gwen
    July 8, 2009

    She had other options, she could have turned over custody of her son to her husband, or given up her parental rights and turned him over to the state. What she did was sentence him to death. Autism is a spectrum disorder. Not all autistic children are disabled to the extent that they can never be independent and not all very difficult children are autistic–some are ‘normal’. This mother took specific steps to medically neglect her child, and lied to cover it up. Yes, I have a severely handicapped brother who I have elected to care for, for the rest of my/his life. I have other choices of what I can do with him, but killing him should never be an option. If he became ill with (for example) a cancer, would I take extraordinary steps to save his life..probably not, but I would take all of the ordinary steps, and that would include chemotherapy as ordered….Please note, I am not attempting to make an argument from my situation and paste it on to everyone elses situation.

  33. #33 Tracy W
    July 8, 2009

    Martin, Catherina, I grew up in a country with government-funded medicine – NZ – and my parents didn’t get any equivalent of a cancer nurse when we were sick, nor have I heard of anyone with cancer getting a cancer nurse to check up on whether they were taking their treatment. It was assumed that if the doctor prescribed medicines Mum & Dad would do the job of administering them, which they did. About the only active monitoring I know of is for TB, out of fear of causing drug-resistance.

    Healthcare systems have a lot of pressure on them. An ongoing pressure in the NZ system is that there is far more political pressure for treatments like funding more hip operations than there is for treating glue ear amongst the children of low-income families, because middle-class older people are far more likely to vote and place other forms of political pressure on politicians than poor parents with 4 children under ten who are holding down two jobs each.

  34. #34 Catherina
    July 8, 2009

    Tracy – I am just suggesting what could have saved the boy and obviously, as Gwen points out, there would have been loads of things the mother could have done for relief. However, since we do not know anything about the woman apart from the messy divorce (also potentially an abusive relationship) we really cannot say much (or make up anything we like about what may have motivated her).

    Not that I do not think that it wasn’t her responsibility as a parent to find help with every bit of energy that she had (and used to reschedule appointments and deceipt about the medication)…

    I wonder what is going to turn up during the trial.

  35. #35 Jen
    July 8, 2009

    Both parents had also been investigated for abuse and neglect of Jeremy in the past (http://news.bostonherald.com/news/regional/general/view/2008_07_04_Mom__ex_racked_up_DSS_complaints/srvc=home) …it doesn’t sound much like a case of being overwhelmed by cancer.

  36. #36 Catherina
    July 8, 2009

    Thanks Jen, so neglect/manslaughter could well be the appropriate charge. Makes me wonder though, why the mother was put in sole charge of the child’s at home treatment with 8 previous neglect complaints against her. Her first missed appointment should have raised red flags and interventions much quicker. Again not trying to take any blame from her, just looking at how a similar case could be detected in time, given that neglectful parents are a reality.

  37. #37 DebinOz
    July 8, 2009

    I really don’t know how I stand on this, or specifically this case, with regards to the culpability of the mother.

    Because my child was born with anophthalmia, in a major US city, he and I have been involved in early intervention programs for blind babies and infants. I am an epidemiologist, and could not help but grade the level of parental responsibility for the blindness of their children.

    As a bleeding heart liberal, the only families that I was really pissed at were the the families of babies who were born with congenital glaucoma, and the parents were too fucked up to provide or administer the drops to prevent blindness in their babies.

    Sounds a bit like this mother. No woo, no ax to grind, no religious objections, just too on Planet X to get it together to provide life-saving treatment.

  38. #38 rrt
    July 8, 2009

    Again, Catherina, that is NOT all we know about this case. If it were, I might agree completely. But we also know about the (alleged) extensive deceit, and the apparent lack of the other usual motives (religion, woo, etc.)

    I asked how I should interpret that, and you seem
    to suggest an analogy to anorexia. I’m not sure that’s a good analogy given that anorexiais about the self, but I gather your point is that maybe she simply couldn’t help herself despite knowing it was “wrong” or at least socially unacceptable. But I did already say that if she was basically insane (which I’d lump that under), that may be an out for her. But I think it’s a tough one to claim. If she had even a brief moment of lucidity over the long course of her (maybe) non-sane neglect, she should have reported what she had done for the sake of her son.

    Again, I think you think my mind’s made up and I’m out for blood. No. But this what I think is most likely (deliberate neglect or insanity), and I can’t imagine another scenario, though I certainly could be surprised. I just think that’s unlikely in this case.

  39. #39 rrt
    July 8, 2009

    Y’know, catherina, reading your latest comments also makes me wonder about the dad. Wouldn’t, or shouldn’t, HE also be part of the social checking mechanism you suggest (which I agree, something even as simple as some computer cross-checking might have caught this). If we assume he knew she had questionable parenting habits (yay, more assumptions!) then how can he responsibly wash his hands of the kid, as he appears to have done?

    Icky case. I do hope this turns out to be something more like insanity…

  40. #40 Azkyroth
    July 8, 2009

    I do hope that Orac will provide more details and, frankly, since this case doesn’t seem to involve negligence through use of CAM, I’m not sure why it’s relevant. There could be all sorts of things going on here from ignorance, to being “overwhelmed”, to mental illness, to criminal intent, but apparently not woo.

    Ignorance is a premeditated crime. A person who is “overwhelmed” by the demands of caring for an ill child with special needs has no excuse for failing to seek help and guidance – which is available – even ignoring the fact that she made elaborate efforts to deceive others into believing she was caring for the child properly.

    Your *concern* is noted.

  41. #41 Catherina
    July 8, 2009

    @ 39 rrt

    yeah that – he kept away because of the “nasty new boyfriend” – sheesh.

  42. #42 Rogue Medic
    July 8, 2009

    Catherina,

    All of the mitigating factors you mention may be brought up at trial. If the charge is manslaughter, I’m pretty sure that means that there is no need to demonstrate any motive.

    Look at the bright side. She killed her kid, but she does get her day in court. She can even get the state to appoint someone to make excuses for her, to create plausible deniability, to generate sympathy, et cetera.

    As a single parent, my child is now an adult, I know that it is not easy to raise a child. I cannot imagine what cancer would be like on top of being a single parent. You do what you can. You tend to avoid asking for help. When it comes to a choice between pride and the well being of your child, pride loses. I have had to swallow my pride and ask for help on several occasions.

    @31 AJ,

    Adoption. Or just go drop him off at a shelter. Or drop him off at a hospital. Somebody will take responsibility for his care. Kids are overwhelming, but they are worth it.

    @stella,

    I hope your day improved and that you are having a better day today. I have never noticed anything trollish about your comments. With the name stella and the Tennessee Williams association, I would probably remember.

  43. #43 Anonymouse
    July 8, 2009

    I hate to be a cad, but what religion was the mother,and did it play a part? Because if it is part of a ‘minority religion’ I feel I cannpot insult it, if religion was the cause. [/labourite]

    seriously, I’d like to know this.

  44. #44 yoyo
    July 8, 2009

    In Aus we have just had a trial of parents who starved their severely autistic child to death. The father basically got a lighter sentence because he said that he left all the care to the mother which involved her tying the child to the bed and mostly ignoring it for months. I think both parents are as culpable, it also turned out that these parents too had a history of abuse notification and of doing their best to avoid scrutiny from social services and doctors. They had no religious reasons just straight out neglect. I dont feel too sorry for the woman in the Orac story, she always had the option of putting her child in state care. I know that’s a crappy option but it’s better than killing the child. However I think the father should bear some culpability too.

  45. #45 Azkyroth
    July 9, 2009

    As ignorance is inherently a premeditated act, it should be considered an aggravating, not a mitigating factor. Ditto for cancer; blowing the kid off when he needed his parents the most is especially inexcusable.

    And yeah, the father ought to be charged, at the very least, with willful blindness.

  46. #46 Prudence
    July 11, 2009

    Kind of OT, but I see from the differing mugshot pic and the court photo that Ms LaBrie found time to get her hair did. Her son has died from a highly curable cancer because she just didn’t get her kid treatment, *and* lied to make it appear that she did, but she still managed to bleach her hair and get a spanky new hair cut.

    Both parents are beyond the pale, but the mother especially should go to jail.

  47. #47 Joe
    October 16, 2009

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    Ok please read with an open mind, remember there are 2 sides to every story. TV Want’s to get the story which was set up by the father and the News Papers are going to make you look like an animal so you buy the paper. That is the Life of Political Media Relations. It’s a competition on who get’s the story, if it’s front page news? Kristen has not been able to speak a word and shouldn’t per her Attorney.
    I will lay out one scenerio out of many, but the one that makes sense to me. No I don’t think a Boy should pass on.
    So here I go: Please open mind.
    Single mom, maybe not working? Sick child who can’t communicate or go to the bathroom on his own frowm what I read. So Kristen would have to figure out when her son want’s to eat, drink, change his diapers, take his medications which from what I read made him deathly ill.
    So far I think as a single mother she has her hands full, bath time, doctors appointments etc. I think you get the generalized picture. She never played the poor me that we read about, her father was never in his life until the end. He claims that it was because of conflict, I am sorry but she is a peanut and he is one big boy. You call social services and ask for a monitor who can either transfer the child from Kristens house to his dads or vice versa. So back to the medicine, it was poison for this young boy and I guarentee in the beginning Kristen did everything ontime, on point to make sure her child got what he needed to stay with her. So we are going to use a 2 week example, Jeremy goes to MGH and gets medicine there that makes him sick and is sent home with Kristen. She get’s home and he can’t talk to her to say mom I need this or that, so she gets home at 2pm and his next medicine is due at 3pm. She settles in changes him and administers whatever medication, I am sure shortly after that medication Jeremy either was sleept, cranky, sick, diarea, you name it. Remember he has a form of cancer, I have had 2 family members as adults who passed away from the disease and know the medications either work or don’t. PERIOD”
    The crappy thing is during the time you are waiting to see if it works or not you have to emotionally endure the illness, diarea, crankiness etc. of you child. Do you think that is pleasent to a mother to feel helpless because her child can’t speek to her? I think it’s heartbreaking to be honest in all directions. Still remember I am impartial but there are 2 sides. Here is my point and I would reall want you to think about this as if it was you as an adult.
    Ok it you Tom your 45 and you take this medicine and can’t communicate, you mess your pant’s and when you take medicine you feel sick. Not fun.
    Maybe Kristen stressed out and forgot to get his perscription on her way home from MGH, which she lived there for months at a time. So that is a possibility Right?
    The next day she say I have to get the medicine but I have to wait one more day for my chech? Hypothedically
    So 2 days without medicine her son seems happier? He seems to be more into eating, he seems to sit still and still can’t communicate or go to the bathroom on his own but Kristen is saying man my boy seems happier. If that is the case then I could see some excitement and the possibility shes on the coach watching Elmo with Jeremy and things seem to good to be true. So the check comes in and Kristen goes and gets maybe the last prescription for Jeremy that day.
    Maybe when she get’s home she says after a bath I will give him this medicine which is supposed to help but after consumeing it he gets very ill from it or he can’t sleep etc. So let’s say she says I have to do it for my boy and gives him the medicine! Bang he is sick as a dog, she is stressed out, shes alone and could be afraid to call the doctor because they will admit him again and put him on all the IV’s and be sick until his levels come up and he goes home and it’s up to mom to keep the levels at bay. Follow me Guys?
    So she is totally confused, depressed, scared but all she want’s is her Jeremy the way he was when he was off the medicine. Maybee he’s more affectionate when he’s off of it, we all know that he should be on the medication but if you have seen the bad and ugly of chemo and radiation for a 63 year old man tell me that what he is taking is poison and he want’s no more. As a son I have to say you tried dad and I am proud of you. So what I am saying is maybe Kristen distanced herself from everyone and loved her son while he was acting normal for the first time in there life. IF that was me I don’t know what I would do but it could fall under what I had just wrote. This is my own opinion only, I am familiar with death and understand diseases. I also understand the bond between a mother and her son. My opinion is that Kristen figured out that not giving her son the cancer medicine (Playing Doctor) Mothers intuition” Without calling the doctors (Which is not the smartest thing but it is understandable and there responsability to do what is MEDICALLY right for the child. Regardless of the after affects, diarea, throw up, sleep etc. I think Kristen got caught up in the so called normal life of an autistic son with cancer who was happier without his medication.
    Of coarse things get worse over time and by all means I do not believe she thought that far ahead because she had so many Mommy and Son moments that were never there. So I believe she loved her child uncoditionally and felt that she would take things in her own hands because she was rewarded with a child not sick and happy.
    I wonder if CVS can be held accountable when it comes to a juvenile who is that sick? I am not trying to blame anyone, but I think daddy should of been involved. Daddy has family who Jeremy didn’t really know until the end when everything blew up. So I hope you look at this independently and from a mothers perspective. If I was sick with cancer and had to take medicine that made me sick 5 days a week, I would try to meet the doctors half way and if that don’t work then I would enjoy what time I have left.
    In my heart I feel something like this could of happened.
    I read about a simular story within the last 3 years and it gave me this insite. Again nobody is completely inocent but Compassion, Love, Moments that you never had with your son, those are things that could of put me in Kristens situation.
    Thank you and remember there are 2-3-4 sides.
    Best Wishes to you all

  48. #48 sarah king
    May 30, 2010

    This case is, if one is smart enough to look thru all the smoke & mirrors, is most deffinatelt not as black & white as the prosecutor, the father, & the media would like to portray it. The criminal justice system is, & hasn’t been for a long time, about a defendant being innocent until proven guilty- BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT. This story is , without a doubt, tragic. Ms. Labrie was the sole caretaker of her son. She was the parent that gave up everything so she could remain by her son 24/7. Where was his father during all that? The only answer that can be given is that he most deffinately not with his son. So before everyone jumps on the bandwagon that Kristen was the worst mom in history, they should take a magnifying glass and examine that Mr. Fraser. Then, & only then, will the truth be told, and maybe just once, justice will be served!

  49. #49 sarah king
    May 30, 2010

    This case is, if one is smart enough to look thru all the smoke & mirrors, is most deffinatelt not as black & white as the prosecutor, the father, & the media would like to portray it. The criminal justice system is, & hasn’t been for a long time, about a defendant being innocent until proven guilty- BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT. This story is , without a doubt, tragic. Ms. Labrie was the sole caretaker of her son. She was the parent that gave up everything so she could remain by her son 24/7. Where was his father during all that? The only answer that can be given is that he most deffinately not with his son. So before everyone jumps on the bandwagon that Kristen was the worst mom in history, they should take a magnifying glass and examine that Mr. Fraser. Then, & only then, will the truth be told, and maybe just once, justice will be served!

  50. #50 Chance Gearheart
    May 30, 2010

    “This case is, if one is smart enough to look thru all the smoke & mirrors, is most deffinatelt not as black & white as the prosecutor, the father, & the media would like to portray it. The criminal justice system is, & hasn’t been for a long time, about a defendant being innocent until proven guilty- BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT. This story is , without a doubt, tragic. Ms. Labrie was the sole caretaker of her son. She was the parent that gave up everything so she could remain by her son 24/7. Where was his father during all that? The only answer that can be given is that he most deffinately not with his son. So before everyone jumps on the bandwagon that Kristen was the worst mom in history, they should take a magnifying glass and examine that Mr. Fraser. Then, & only then, will the truth be told, and maybe just once, justice will be served! ”

    What does that have to do with anything: This parent withheld medical therapy from her child that would have, within all likelyhood, saved his life, and allowed him to die. Dad has nothing to do with this.

  51. #51 Kerri
    September 8, 2010

    Joe (#47) You could not be more spot on with your theory. I am a long time friend of Kristen’s and can say from first hand knowledge that Kristen did everything “right” for years. She adored Jeremy with everything she had. She was let go from her job for having to take care of Jeremy. She spent MONTHS at a time in the hospital. All the while daddy dearest was no where to be found. Jeremy was a beautiful and loving child. But you are correct in your statements of what his limitations were. He could not use a restroom. He could not speak, at all. He could not eat on his own. And then he gets diagnosed with cancer. In no way do I condone what Kristen did. But I also can not pass any judgment on her as maybe if she had an ounce of support from the father, maybe, just maybe she would not have been pushed to the mental limits that she was. To crawl out of the woodwork after YEARS of being non-existent & claim to be any part of that boys life is sick. And if he was still alive, he should be sitting in that court as a defendant right along with Kristen.

  52. #52 Jay
    April 5, 2011

    The child died whilst in the care of his father, who completely denied him ALL drugs until his death.

    The cancer killed this child, while in the exclusive care of his father. The mother attempted to help him, in an earlier stage of the illness, while his father refused. The father died in a motorcycle accident, prior to the persecution of his “ex”. Wonder the outcome if he was still around to be prosecuted?

  53. #53 Alexis Anderson
    February 12, 2012

    This young boy didn’t deserve this neglect. No child does. And it is so hard to tell someone, when you love your parents, yet at the same time, you hate them. Rest in peace.♥

  54. #54 Narad
    February 12, 2012

    Wow, so you lifted not just the entire post for three Tumblr sites, but all the comments too?

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