Court rules on girl’s cancer treatment

Court rules on girl’s cancer treatment

A Canadian judge has ruled in favour of a Mohawk family who demanded that their 11-year-old cancer-stricken daughter be removed from hospital and be treated instead with traditional native remedies.

According to this report, doctors said her kind of leukemia has a 90 percent cure rate with modern treatment, but is an almost certain death sentence without it.

But Ontario Judge Edward ruled traditional health care is an integral part of the family’s Mohawk culture and therefore protected by the Constitution.

Edward said that evidence showed the girl’s mother from the Six Nations reserve is:

Deeply committed to her longhouse beliefs and her belief that traditional medicines work.

The judge did not address the fact that the girl’s parents also took her to a private Florida clinic run by a non-native businessman whose only licence is reportedly for providing massages – but who claims he can treat cancer.

As well as receiving unspecified aboriginal remedies, the girl travelled to the Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida for other alternative treatments.

According to a CBC report, the institute provided cold laser therapy, vitamin C injections and a strict raw food diet as part of a service that cost $18,000.

McMaster Children’s Hospital offered a muted response to the decision, without indicating whether it planned to appeal. It said in a statement:

We have always supported this family’s decision to use traditional aboriginal healing practices in conjunction with conventional medical treatment. We remain committed to support this child’s treatment with compassion and respect.

Juliet Guichon, a University of Calgary bio-ethicist, was more blunt, saying the case seems no different than those where the courts have that ruled a religious belief – like that of Jehovah’s Witnesses –  is no justification for denying a child needed treatment.

The real issue is not whether the mother has a treaty right to practise traditional medicine but whether the child has a right to life and to medical decision-making that can help her live. How does ‘traditional aboriginal medicine’ mean taking a child by motored vehicle to a white man in Florida, who has no apparent medical qualifications and recommends eating raw vegetables to cure leukemia?

According to this report, a recent study found that Aboriginal children who contract cancer are much more likely to die than non-native young people. Just under two thirds of native children survived for at least five years after a cancer diagnosis, compared to almost 80 percent of others.

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, began chemotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia in late August but was pulled out after 10 days. She and her parents saying the hospital was putting “poison” in her body.

The decision was welcomed by Ava Hill, elected chief of Six Nations band:

This is monumental for our people right across the country, and we’re going to get the news out right away. We were the first people here, we looked after ourselves, we had our traditional medicines. We looked after your ancestors when they arrived here, and what medicines do you think we used?

The hospital turned to Brant Child and Family Services after the girl quit chemo, but the agency refused to intervene, noting she has loving parents and arguing it was a matter of health-care consent, not child protection. The hospital then took the agency to court, leading to several days of hearings.

29 responses to “Court rules on girl’s cancer treatment”

  1. L.Long says:

    They should put the parents names on a list and if they EVER come to a real hospital they should be REFUSED. Hypocrisy is not allowed!!!

  2. John C says:

    A sickening lack of common sense on the part of both the parents and the judge.Traditional medicine offers the traditional results, in this case, death.

  3. barriejohn says:

    You wonder just how stupid people can be, don’t you? Juliet Guichon is right: what about the rights of the child?

  4. Marky Mark says:

    well this child will never grow up to push her tribal beliefs onto another child…weeding out the herd, soon none will be left.

  5. Paul Cook says:

    They were right on one thing chemotherapy is a poison. It works in many cases of cancer, not in all, but due to it’s potency it has a profound effect on the body.

  6. tonye says:

    Brant Child and Family Services noted ‘she has loving parents.’

    No, a loving parent would do what is best for the child, not cling to witchcraft.

  7. barriejohn says:

    I’ve just read on Barry’s facebook page that he has suffered a suspected stroke. I’ve assured him that we’re all praying for him, which will doubtless cause a relapse, but I’m sure we all wish him the very best. Meantime, perhaps I could recommend a very effective homoeopathic…

  8. Barry Duke says:

    A brief bulletin for those of you who have read BarrieJohn’s post. Yes, I did suffer an episode a week or so ago that briefly left me paralysed along the right side of my body. Because I recovered all sensation after about 10 minutes, I foolishly decided to pass it off and not seek medical treatment.

    Last Saturday, after my speech, co-ordination and eyesight suddenly went completely awry without a drop of Soberano having passed my lips, I called a friend and asked him to take me to A&E. The prognosis was that I had probably suffered something that had all the hallmarks of a stroke, but that tests were needed to see precisely what had caused these malfunctions.

    No homoeopathic remedies were prescribed, but oddly I was ordered to immediately start taking 100mg of Adiro once a day. That’s the Spanish equivalent of plain aspirin.

    I anticipate being summoned to the hospital for these tests sometime during the week. Contingency plans are in place for site updates should I be taken out of action for a while.

  9. Broga says:

    @Barry Duke: Sorry to hear about the suspected stroke Barry. One good sign is that you have not lost your sense of humour. Four years ago my brother-in-law, then aged 70, had a stroke which affected his sight, balance and limb control.

    It does seem to have been a minor stroke, if there is such a thing, but his recovery has been quite dramatic. His sight is back, he is using his computer and he now rides his bike again.

    I know everyone here will wish you well. You have been such a stalwart for so many years I have come to take you for granted. I won’t be praying for you.

  10. Bob says:

    Barry, I’m sorry to read of your illness. I believe the Lord has given you a warning – you need to get right with Him before it is too late.

  11. barriejohn says:


    How did THAT one slip through the net? I was going to say that he’ll be calling this “a sign from God”!

  12. tonye says:


    Get well soon.


  13. Stephen Mynett says:

    Hope all goes well Barry.

    No surprise to see another glib comment from a religionist, they swarm around illness like pushers target junkies.

  14. Angela_K says:

    Bob: A typical christian exploiting someone’s misfortune – cheap.

    Best wishes Barry. Look after yourself.

  15. Broga says:

    @Bob: How do you know your God (fictional in my opinion) has given a warning? You can’t resist the chance of pushing your superstition even when someone has a health problem.

    Has God given a warning to my devoutly religious acquaintance who has had a massive heart attack? Until it happened she was in church twice every Sunday, did the flowers and led bible discussions in her home. She is now in hospital and likely to stay there for some time. I take no pleasure in that and, in fact, my wife (as atheist as I am) called to see her last week with some books.

    God, were he to exist, would have given us a brain. What must he think of you by your refusing to use it and believing a bible loaded with contradictions, cruelties and impossibilities. Perhaps he might decide you should be punished for throwing the gift of intelligence and an ability to reason in his face.

    I have never commented on your effusions before but this time you hit such a low blow that I cannot resist. If you have any confidence in your God you should pray for forgiveness . I have religious relatives and some have been very ill. I am an atheist but I would never sink to the moral depths of attempting to use their condition to my advantage. Something, it seems, you as a Christian have no difficulty in doing.

  16. AgentCormac says:

    Like everyone else here (well, bar the obvious exception), I am shocked and deeply sorry to hear your news, Barry. I wish you a fast and full recovery, which I’m sure will be facilitated by the best medical treatment that science can provide.Hang on in there, Mr Duke!

  17. dennis says:

    Mr. Duke
    get well soon. I am glad you will have the best medical treatment. what a sorry state of affairs for the Mohawk girl. I have had relatives JW put their children through “hell” then chicken out and run to the hospital for life saving procedures for their own lives.

  18. David Anderson says:

    Barry Duke; Viya con Magno. Espero que te pongas bien cuanto antes

    Bob; ¡Pinche idiota!

  19. Paul Cook says:


    I wish you all the best.
    I can send you some of that Lourdes water if you like. I could stretch to $60 a litre – I am certain it works and will heal you immediately.
    Or you can have tap if you prefer, I suspect it’s probably the same.

    As you will be aware humour is the best medicine – and aspirin.

  20. chrsbol says:

    Speedy recovery Barry.
    If you do use homeopathy and it doesn’t work, try watering it down.

  21. Barry Duke says:

    Thanks for all your good wishes. Cheered me up no end. And as for Bobby-boy’s “warning from the Lord” comment … I can only echo BarrieJohn’s “Hahahahah!”

    I do concede this was a warning … not from some infernal fictional force, but from my own body telling me that, at 67, I cannot realistically expect to continue living a life of unrestrained hedonism that began when I lost, or rather gladly disposed of my virginity 54 years ago.

    I may temporarily have to dismount the bucking bronco that’s been my life since I was an unruly teen, but, believe me, I have every intention of saddling up again soon.

    Or die trying.

  22. monkeygirl says:

    Get well soon Barry,
    I believe the Spanish healthcare system is excellent, best wishes to you.

    Bob – if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all. Pillock.

  23. Stephen Turner says:

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery to Barry Duke.

    @Bob: how can you tell it wasn’t a sign from Zeus, Allah or Quetzalcoatl? (To be fair I oouldn’t really see any objection to your comment by the way.)

  24. andym says:

    It was a message from the Lord. He told me it was a warning because you weren’t drinking nearly enough.
    Hope full functioning returns soon.
    This won’t cheer you , or anyone, up.Another triumph for cultural relativism.

  25. Vanity Unfair says:

    I suggest you follow medical advice; it makes the doctors feel a lot better.

    There was a time when you could buy aspirins in jars of 1,000 at 300mg and they were the standard family treatment for everything. Now they are such powerful and dangerous drugs (I know about the internal bleeding) that they come as quarter tabs and the most you can get is the equivalent of 25. The last time I bought some I had an inquisition, “Do you have an allergy? Have you taken aspirin before?”I gently (I hope) pointed out that nobody with so many white hairs could have avoided aspirin along the way but, apparently, they have to ask.

  26. barriejohn says:

    Stephen Turner: If you doubt that Bob Hutton is nothing but a cynical opportunist then you need to look at the following!

  27. 1859 says:

    Barry – sorry to hear about you throwing a wobbly. No near-death experiences to share? Did you see any chunky angles with six packs and wearing very tight trousers? God with a comb-over perhaps?

    I’m on statins myseslf – highly recommended.
    Get well soon – we need ya!

  28. Cali Ron says:

    Barry-Sorry to here your bodies acting up on you. I’d say take an aspirin and call me in the morning, but that’s already been done. Take care of yourself and get well. I’m also not preying for you. Keep up the good work.

  29. Stephen Mynett says:

    Barry, before Bob and his ilk suggest it, have you considered that by ignoring your warning from, Zeus, Odin, Apollo, etc, etc that you are responsible for the state of the weather in the USA:

    Hope you are still going on OK. I cannot do Aspirin so just had a large dram of Bowmore to toast your recovery