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ForumsWEPRState Gov. forces person to take chemo for cancer

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231terminator
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231terminator
87 posts
Nomad

idk the names or which state. the person has terminal cancer of sorts and the courts are forcing him to take chemotherapy. i just recently heard this so i don't know much other than that. What do you guys think about this?

  • 24 Replies
nichodemus
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nichodemus
14,920 posts
Grand Duke

I think I found it.

Personally I feel that the government should not step in to armstrong someone into accepting medication...unless the disease he or she is refusing treatment for is contagious. I don't give two hoots how you choose to handle your body, so long as it does not adversely affect others. If you feel that not utilising conventional medication and treatment that has the best chance of prolonging your life is the path you want to tread, that's your choice. It's your body after all, and we do crow on about personal freedom.

E.g if you have say cholera, and refuse treatment, then I think the government has every right for the sake of the rest of the populace to coerce you into getting medically proven treatment lest it spreads.

However the case at hand concerns a minor which vastly complicates matters further, and brings up the ever looming issue of legal maturity. She is old enough to joined the armed forces, yet is held to be unable to make a sound medical judgement by herself. At what age are we deemed suitable to make decisions for ourselves? Personally though, I think she isn't old enough to do so.

The issue is portrayed as that of a sinister state government and omnipotent medical "cooperation" trampling on sacrosanct rights of a girl and her family. But I disagree, it seems more to me an issue of medical ignorance on behalf of the family. Ultimately, I would tend to trust a trained doctor's prescription more than my gut feel or disagreement. Hence, the other caveat I can think of is that the medical authorities should fully explain and clearly their prognosis and diagnosis data, to prevent any misinformation, and that the best decision is made. If they can't force it upon you, they can and should bloody well bombard you with medically proven information instead of any hairbrained ideas one might harbour.

FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
3,173 posts
Duke

The issue is portrayed as that of a sinister state government and omnipotent medical "cooperation" trampling on sacrosanct rights of a girl and her family. But I disagree, it seems more to me an issue of medical ignorance on behalf of the family. Ultimately, I would tend to trust a trained doctor's prescription more than my gut feel or disagreement. Hence, the other caveat I can think of is that the medical authorities should fully explain and clearly their prognosis and diagnosis data, to prevent any misinformation, and that the best decision is made. If they can't force it upon you, they can and should bloody well bombard you with medically proven information instead of any hairbrained ideas one might harbour.

That argument only makes sense if they were refusing treatment in favour of some "alternative medicine" quackery, which is not suggested anywhere in the article, or in the Fox news article it heavily plagiarizes. If you check the related articles, you will find them stating that she previously consented to chemotherapy, but fled after the second round of treatment, so it certainly isn't a question of pure ignorance or "gut feeling", unless that feeling is chemotoxin-induced nausea.
I think it's clear that DCF is overstepping its authority and acting without sufficient grounds. Also, if this article is to be believed, their understanding of persuasion is in serious need of modernization.
Ishtaron
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Ishtaron
359 posts
Blacksmith

Personally I feel that the government should not step in to armstrong someone into accepting medication...unless the disease he or she is refusing treatment for is contagious.

Generally, the only time the government can force treatment on someone is if they're mentally incompetent to make decisions. That means they have to be either very young or suffering from a mental illness. For certain contagious diseases or unknown illnesses the CDC, and globally WHO, are exempt from those standards so that they can quarantine and treat a disease for the public good. Otherwise the government has to prove legal incompetence to force someone into treatment which does make what Connecticut is doing illegal.

However the case at hand concerns a minor which vastly complicates matters further, and brings up the ever looming issue of legal maturity. She is old enough to joined the armed forces, yet is held to be unable to make a sound medical judgement by herself. At what age are we deemed suitable to make decisions for ourselves? Personally though, I think she isn't old enough to do so.

You can't join the armed forces at 17 in the U.S. You can sign up at 17, but the contract isn't legal until you turn 18 and willingly join. Technically speaking, anyone under the age of 18 can sign any contract they want and back out because as minors they're legally not competent enough to be held to a contract.

Under normal circumstances I'd say that someone who is 17 years old isn't old enough to make life and death decisions for themselves. However, there are exceptions to every rule and I don't know anything about the girl in the article. I also don't know anything about her parents, who agreed to let her make this decision. What I do know is that I have personally watched 3 different family members die from cancer and by far the happiest of those 3 was the one who refused treatment. Chemo and radio therapies are both very damaging to the body, the symptoms of being treated are often worse than the symptoms caused by the actual cancer. They also only prolong your life as they aren't a true cure for cancer, merely a stop-gap measure that often doesn't work for more than 5 to 10 years.

All of that said, since the specific cancer mentioned in the article was Hodgkins Lymphoma, I do think she should be forced to recieve treatment. Until stage IV Hodgkins Lymphoma has survival rates as high as 90% over 5 years, well into the 80s for 10 years. The fact that she's a young girl further improves her odds of survival. Unless there's something we're not being told that drastically reduces her chance of surviving, I don't see a good reason why she shouldn't get treatment. A year or two of misery counterbalanced by an extra 10 years or more she won't live without treatment is a relatively small price to pay. I can understand why she would refuse treatment. I can also understand why the government would take control and force her to be treated. In the end, this case will depend on a lot of personal details that the public is never going to have access to. I also don't see this as the groundbreaking case the lawyer wants to make it out as. There's too many mitigating factors for this case to have any real impact on personal rights.

FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
3,173 posts
Duke

A year or two of misery counterbalanced by an extra 10 years or more she won't live without treatment is a relatively small price to pay.

The effects of chemotherapy are not confined to the therapy period. Fibrosis and peripheral neuropathy are completely irreversible and can be quite debilitating. What you are suggesting is that some people you've never met are justified in subjecting you to several rounds of torture from which you will never fully recover, provided that the outcome is probably going to turn out better for you, in their opinion, than it would otherwise be.
thepyro222
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thepyro222
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Peasant

I remember this article. I read it somewhere.
The Government shouldn't be able to step in and make life and death decisions for people unless they are found to be not in their right mind. Even then, it should be the Doctor's decision. Not the government's.
On the other token, the person is an idiot for refusing treatment.

FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
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Duke

On the other token, the person is an idiot for refusing treatment.

If we were discussing vaccine refusers, such remarks would be justified. With cancer treatment, it is not.

Choosing an early grave over severe anguish and a slightly less early grave ≠> Being an idiot.

Ishtaron
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Ishtaron
359 posts
Blacksmith

The effects of chemotherapy are not confined to the therapy period. Fibrosis and peripheral neuropathy are completely irreversible and can be quite debilitating.

The effects can be bad but they aren't always. Chemotherapy doesn't always cause permanent problems, and the fact that she's a teenager would drastically reduce the odds of long term problems caused by chemo.

What you are suggesting is that some people you've never met are justified in subjecting you to several rounds of torture from which you will never fully recover, provided that the outcome is probably going to turn out better for you, in their opinion, than it would otherwise be.

That's just a ridiculous statement. If you read my whole post you can clearly see that I'm well versed in chemotherapy. It's bad but it's certainly not torture. As I said above, there is no guarantee that the chemotherapy will have permanent affects. And it isn't an opinion that she would likely live longer with treatment than without, it's medical fact. If you want to talk quality of life you can try but suicide and euthanasia are both already illegal in the U.S. so it's a moot point for this discussion. Furthermore, let's look at a few more scenarios where complete strangers are allowed to dictate how we live our lives based on what they think will provide a better future for us. Politicians have this authority all the time. The education system of every first world country. Companies that pump massive amounts of pollution into the air, even enough to significantly affect the quality of local air.

Choosing an early grave over severe anguish and a slightly less early grave ≠> Being an idiot.

This statement assumes that she will be in constant pain the rest of her life and that there is absolutely no point in her living anymore. I know a 7 year old that would disagree with that statement. Her cancer went into remission about 3 years ago and she's not in any pain (I know way too many people who have, or died from, cancer).

You seem to be firmly entrenched in the belief that it's her right to choose. If so, then you're wrong. Cassandra is a minor, and in the U.S. legal system minors have very few rights. If she is refusing treatment and choosing to die then she's also stuck in the gray area around various laws concerning suicide and healthcare. There's also a lot about this that isn't in the news and never will be. Too many details will never reach the public for anyone to actually make an informed decision on this situation.

FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
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Duke

And it isn't an opinion that she would likely live longer with treatment than without, it's medical fact.

The opinion is that a longer life would be better (to the point of taking legal action to ensure it) regardless of the quality of that life.

Furthermore, let's look at a few more scenarios where complete strangers are allowed to dictate how we live our lives based on what they think will provide a better future for us.

No. Let's not divert the topic with obvious straw men.

This statement assumes that she will be in constant pain the rest of her life and that there is absolutely no point in her living anymore.

Well, no, it doesn't. It asserts that there is a tradeoff (which I think you will find very difficult to deny) between minimizing pain and extending life span. It does not assume anything.

I know a 7 year old that would disagree with that statement.

And I can point out at least two dozen who disagree with the statement that water is blue.

You seem to be firmly entrenched in the belief that it's her right to choose. If so, then you're wrong. Cassandra is a minor, and in the U.S. legal system minors have very few rights.

Many of them also tend to have parents, many of whom have the requisite rights and are legally responsible for said minors. The minor in question happens to have such a parent. This parent happens to concur with her decision. Ergo, the right to choose is being infringed nonetheless.
Ishtaron
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Ishtaron
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Blacksmith

The opinion is that a longer life would be better (to the point of taking legal action to ensure it) regardless of the quality of that life.

The government doesn't care about quality of life. I already pointed that out. It's a moot point for this argument.

No. Let's not divert the topic with obvious straw men.

It's not really a strawman. That was the whole point of your appeal to emotions fallacy, you wanted to emphasize how unpleasant it is to have strangers controlling your life against your will. All I did was out that we do allow those situations frequently, so it's not really an argument against the government in this case.

Well, no, it doesn't. It asserts that there is a tradeoff (which I think you will find very difficult to deny) between minimizing pain and extending life span. It does not assume anything.

Your post asserted that her options were an early grave and severe anguish followed by a slightly less early grave. You minimized the value of the extra years she would gain and directly associated all of them with extreme pain. Even if you want to argue the matter of the tradeoff, there's no telling how long she'll live if she gets treated. It could be an extra 10 years or it might be an extra 50. You'd be arguing a known quantity against an unknown quantity and assuming that the known quantity is automatically better by virtue of being known.

And I can point out at least two dozen who disagree with the statement that water is blue.

Wow, and you had the nerve to call my statement a strawman. Way to completely disregard the rest of that argument to focus on discrediting a cancer survivor based solely on her age.

Many of them also tend to have parents, many of whom have the requisite rights and are legally responsible for said minors. The minor in question happens to have such a parent. This parent happens to concur with her decision. Ergo, the right to choose is being infringed nonetheless.

If your sole argument was about the mother's right to raise her own daughter then you'd have a point. In fact, I have two statements from my original post I'll quote below to prove that. But so far all of your posts have been in defense of Cassandra's "rights" to make her own decisions. That is a factually wrong position because those "rights" don't exist. There are even situations where those rights don't exist for intelligent adults who, by every legal definition, are fully competent to make their own decisions.

Otherwise the government has to prove legal incompetence to force someone into treatment which does make what Connecticut is doing illegal.

I can understand why she would refuse treatment. I can also understand why the government would take control and force her to be treated. In the end, this case will depend on a lot of personal details that the public is never going to have access to. I also don't see this as the groundbreaking case the lawyer wants to make it out as. There's too many mitigating factors for this case to have any real impact on personal rights.

I've seen nothing that indicates the courts consider Cassandra's mom to be incapable of properly raising her. If they have, then it's one of the many details the public will probably never learn of.

nichodemus
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nichodemus
14,920 posts
Grand Duke

I don't think it makes my point completely senseless even if the parents weren't seeking an alternative medicine path. To be fair, Cassandra did admit that she had mistaken beliefs that chemo was as bad as she thought it would be after her cancer went into remission. Further, the family kept stating that chemo was akin to death sentence, I think that by itself shows some slight misinterpretations of what chemo does.

It does seem harsh to strongarm the girl by keeping her in a locked room under guard away from her parents as pointed out.

thepyro222
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thepyro222
2,151 posts
Peasant

anyone choosing death over life while there is still hope is a foolish decision. The chances of something debilitating someone going through chemo while not on therapy are so low that it's irrelevant. Death is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I question if the person is suicidal or not.

HahiHa
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HahiHa
8,212 posts
Regent

I have read a little bit on Hodgkin's lymphoma. It seems treatment is highly efficient for this type of cancer.
.
"For instance, new protocols for Hodgkin’s lymphoma increased the complete remission rate from near zero to 80%, with 60% of patients with advanced Hodgkin’s disease who attained a complete remission never relapsing. Follow-up is now well-beyond 40 years. By 1970, Hodgkin’s disease went from a death sentence to being viewed as largely curable with drugs, the first adult malignancy cured by chemotherapy. "
Source
.
But also:
"The high cure rates and long survival of many patients with Hodgkin's lymphoma has led to a high concern with late adverse effects of treatment, including cardiovascular disease and second malignancies such as acute leukemias, lymphomas, and solid tumors within the radiation therapy field. Most patients with early-stage disease are now treated with abbreviated chemotherapy and involved-field radiation therapy rather than with radiation therapy alone. Clinical research strategies are exploring reduction of the duration of chemotherapy and dose and volume of radiation therapy in an attempt to reduce late morbidity and mortality of treatment while maintaining high cure rates. Hospitals are also treating those who respond quickly to chemotherapy with no radiation."
Source
.
Taking this into account, the mother's action appears highly irresponsible, and the daughter being minor makes it even more clear for me. Of course there would be no question if she was a few years younger, but even with 17 she can be considered minor. Admittedly, the actions taken by the authorities as portrayed in Fish's link appear brutal and questionable, but considering that an early treatment is crucial for high remission chances, I kind of understand it. The fact that the girl ran away during treatment might already have lessened her chances a bit, for all I know.

231terminator
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231terminator
87 posts
Nomad

@HahiHa well in light of that info i believe she should get the treatment but not be forced. as much as it is recommended and sound, people have the right to refuse treatment no matter how irrational it may be. her mother is merely supporting her daughters decision and not thinking of medical facts, but rather what her daughter would want. Im unsure about them forcing her however, seems both reasonable yet ridiculous at the same time.

both sides have there reasons and both sides are right and wrong. To be flat honest i can't actually pick a side for this one, they are at a practical equilibrium as far as rights and wrongs

FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
3,173 posts
Duke

The government doesn't care about quality of life. I already pointed that out. It's a moot point for this argument.

Quality of life is an important part the issue. Disregarding it on the grounds that lifespan is the only thing of any significance is exactly why it's an issue.

That was the whole point of your appeal to emotions fallacy, you wanted to emphasize how unpleasant it is to have strangers controlling your life against your will.

I do not appeal to emotions. If you were at all emotionally moved by my statement, that's a fault of yours, not mine.

All I did was out that we do allow those situations frequently, so it's not really an argument against the government in this case.

They are straw men because they have nothing to do with my argument. If you think I have no objection to one or more of them, you are using them in an appeal to hypocrisy, as my condolence of a similar but unrelated scenario has no bearing upon this. Otherwise, you are committing a fallacy of relative privations, as my objection to a similar but unrelated scenario is not grounds for dismissing my objection to this one.

Even if you want to argue the matter of the tradeoff, there's no telling how long she'll live if she gets treated. It could be an extra 10 years or it might be an extra 50. You'd be arguing a known quantity against an unknown quantity and assuming that the known quantity is automatically better by virtue of being known.

No. I am arguing that the quantity of life, whether known or otherwise, does not inherently outweigh the quality of that life. At no point have I asserted that one is better than the other. Only you and thepyro222 are doing that.

Wow, and you had the nerve to call my statement a strawman. Way to completely disregard the rest of that argument to focus on discrediting a cancer survivor based solely on her age.

My statement was an analogy of your straw man. The opinion of one cancer survivor and the shared beliefs of a group of several 7-year-olds are equally relevant to the validity of someone else's decision about their own life.

But so far all of your posts have been in defense of Cassandra's "rights" to make her own decisions.

No, actually, they haven't. I stated that the DCF is overstepping its authority and acting without sufficient grounds, and that choosing an early grave over severe anguish and a slightly less early grave does not imply being an idiot. As I only referred to rights in the paragraph you just quoted, I may have to conclude that you actually agree with me on this matter, but are confusing me with someone else.
HahiHa
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HahiHa
8,212 posts
Regent

HahiHa well in light of that info i believe she should get the treatment but not be forced. as much as it is recommended and sound, people have the right to refuse treatment no matter how irrational it may be. her mother is merely supporting her daughters decision and not thinking of medical facts, but rather what her daughter would want. Im unsure about them forcing her however, seems both reasonable yet ridiculous at the same time.

I would agree if she wasn't minor, but that's the very issue at hand. You don't know to what extent the mother is (unconsciously) influencing her daughter. What is more, the article gives absolutely no clue to what their reasoning is; as long as there hasn't been an investigation, you don't know how much the doctors told her, but they should and probably did tell her the relevant information. And if the mother knows how high the cure rates are and still supports her daughter, she is making a huge mistake; and as a mother of a minor she is responsible for her, which legitimates the interference. I fear the girl would have died just because the mother wanted to prove her point about the authorities forcing a treatment.
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