By Sandra McNeill

GRAND RAPIDS (WWJ) – Should a parent be able to decide whether or not to give chemotherapy to their child? That’s the issue at stake in a case before Michigan Court of Appeals.

WWJ Newsradio 950’s Sandra McNeil reports 10-year-old Jacob Stieler of Grand Rapids underwent chemo for Ewing Sarcoma and his scan is now showing no sign of the disease. But doctors say without further treatment, the cancer will most certainly come back and kill him.

The family’s attorney Michael Farris says doctors don’t know that because the treatment has not been FDA approved for children.

“There’s some evidence that the drugs work, but the side effects are very devastating,” Farris said. “They cause secondary cancers, they preclude sexual development, they cause heart conditions, especially in children … So, it’s a balancing of risks.”

According to Farris, Jacob became so ill with the chemo, he mother worried he had lost the will to live. “He was saying things like, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore. I just want to go to heaven and be with Jesus.'”

Farris believe it’s a fundamental right for people to decide their own treatment.

“Doctors shouldn’t be able to control any of this,” Farris said. “We should be able to make independent judgments.”

Ewing sarcoma is a cancerous tumor that grows in bones or soft tissue near bones and usually affects adolescents.


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