In December of 2011, a Michiagan court upheld the right of parents to make decisions about their children’s medical treatment, but the State has appealed the case. Join HSLDA Counsel and Darren Jones and host Mike Farris as they analyze the status of the Stieler Case on today’s Home School Heartbeat.
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Last year, Ken and Erin Stieler were taken to court by the state of Michigan when they disagreed with the doctor about their 8-year old son Jacob’s cancer treatments. Critical issues of medical care, parental rights, and the well-being of the child were at stake. Mike, what’s the current status of this case?
Well Darren, the most important thing is that Jacob Stieler is doing great. He’s now had four clean CAT scans every three months, and there is no sign of reappearance of the cancer in his body. The legal side of it, in July we had oral arguments before the Michigan court of appeals and we’re waiting for a decision as of this moment. We don’t know—sometimes a couple months passes before a decision’s made; sometimes it’s eight months, and the longer it goes, frankly, the better I feel about it, although there’s no guarantees of any kind in a case like this. The ultimate issue is, who decides what treatment a child should have when it’s in a grey zone? It’s not clear that Jacob’s still sick, it’s not clear that these medicines are safe, and it’s not clear that these medicines are effective. And then our contention is, where it’s not clear, where the decision is a discretionary one, parents and not doctors, and not courts, should make that decision.
Mike, thanks for the update. For Home School Heartbeat, I’m Darren Jones.