The Canadian Press
HAMILTON — An 11-year-old boy is being kept in a Hamilton hospital to undergo chemotherapy he says he doesn’t want.
The boy has acute lymphoblastic leukemia and two of the country’s
top child cancer specialists have said he will die without treatment.
This isn’t the boy’s first time in chemotherapy. He was diagnosed with cancer when he was seven.
“He couldn’t even get out of bed,” his stepmother said of the previous treatments.
He had one year of remission and on Jan. 27 he celebrated his cancer-free year. But by Feb. 8, it was back.
“He was in tears,” his stepmother said. “He was angry. He was
yelling at the doctors, ‘You lied to me.”’ That day he punched his arm
through his bedroom window and needed stitches.
He did one round of chemo in February and then said no more and his family backed his decision.
“There is only one person – The Creator – who decides who lives or
dies,” his father said. “It’s not you or me or McMaster Hospital or the
CAS [Children’s Aid Society] – it’s The Creator.”
A judge has ruled the boy cannot make an informed decision – he is
not capable of thoroughly understanding what it means to refuse chemo.
His father and stepmother are not doing what is in the child’s best interest, the judge ruled.
He has been kept company in hospital by Children’s Aid Society workers.
His family had been banned from the hospital after he was seized
during an appointment there on Thursday when his father went into a
rage, swearing, yelling and threatening CAS staff.
The father was removed in handcuffs.
Late Friday afternoon he had completed his second day of court-ordered chemotherapy.
His family was allowed to see him – under tight supervision – at 6 p.m. Friday.
“The agency got a referral from doctors stating this child needed
treatment,” said CAS executive director Dominic Verticchio. “If he
didn’t have treatment he’d have up to six months to live. With
treatment, he has up to a 50 per cent chance of going into remission.”
Mr. Verticchio adds doctors have said there is a five per cent chance the treatment itself could kill the boy.
The boy is to be released from hospital after his treatment ends Tuesday.
It is unclear if he will go home or into foster care.
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