Chemotherapy Not Necessarily Best Choice and Must not be Mandated by State

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Re: The Parker Jensen issue

As a social worker, and as a mother who has rejected high-risk medical treatments advised by doctors for my children, I take offense at the arrogance of the State of Utah in usurping Daren and Barbara Jensens right to determine their sons treatment.

The parents of Utah should be appalled and should vigorously defend the rights of the Jensen family. The integrity and achievements of Utahs parents are impressive. For example, Utah families have repeatedly made academic bureaucrats scratch their heads, as our children routinely perform above average despite having the lowest per-pupil school spending in the nation. Great parents in this state deserve the kudos for our low crime rate, high education and employment rates, and outstanding public health statistics.

The State of Utah as Parent has a much less impressive track record. Only a few years ago, Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) was successfully sued by national childrens interest groups for turning a blind eye to the plight of children who were clearly, grossly neglected and abused.

Could the pendulum have swung so far the other direction? Is this the same DCFS who now says that parents with a perfect history of honorable parenting cant be trusted to do whats best for their children?

Precisely what is the philosophy of the agencies we pay to protect our families?

We should not neglect to examine the phenomenal arrogance of the oncologist who reported the Jensen family to DCFS for not following his advice to subject 12-year old Parker to extensive, long-term chemotherapy. Within standard practices, medical research and opinions are reversed constantly, and treatments that were standard a decade ago horrify doctors today. One can find as many medical opinions as one can find doctors. A doctor should offer counsel and treatments; he has no right to dictate them.

Oncology is the most primitive and barbaric of the branches of Western Medicine. More and more Americans are becoming fed up with drugs and surgery as the onlyor the primary--approach to health and wellness. Medical schools are finally responding (slowly), and more than 60\% of them now offer, for instance, one class in nutrition. In 2001, according to eminent nutrition author Jean Carper, two-thirds of Americans sought alternative health treatments, many of them foregoing the traditional (relatively young 200-year old) science of drugs and surgery.

How many of us who have optedfor ourselves or our children--not to follow doctors counsel should now, following the Jensen precedent, be tracked down with FBI surveillance, with warrants for our arrest? Many of us who have had cancer, opted against chemo and radiation, and lived to tell about it, have co-signed this editorial.

The idea that chemicals and radiation can cure cancer is, at best, dubious. By the oncology professions own journal-published admissions, chemotherapy and radiation kill as many patients as they save. Chemotherapy should be a choice for cancer patients. But thats all it is: a choice. Its not salvation, and it shouldnt be mandatory.

Unfortunately, drugs and surgery are the only cancer treatments medical doctors prescribe. Theyre the only treatments researched by pharmaceutical conglomerates who sell their remedies to our medical profession. Raw-food diets and natural remedies cant be patented, and they cant be leveraged to make billions of dollars.

Even if everyone agreed that chemotherapy is always the right answer for cancer, the Jensen familys situation is far from clear-cut. Parker doesnt look or feel ill. His parents sought several opinions, and two other doctors declared Parker cancer-free after surgery. Is this a case of gross neglect or abuse? Only that criteria warrants DCFS removing a child from the home.

If in fact Parker has Ewings sarcoma, the cancer type is rare and the cure rate using the recommended chemotherapy regimen is unimpressive (70\% cure, with 50\% relapse). What would the cure rate be if children with Ewings sarcoma did not undergo chemotherapy? Well never know, since the state will track down, punish, arrest, and take the children of families who dont comply, even blocking them from seeking alternative counsel and treatment in other states!

Its a terrible irony that such Orwellian Big Brother behavior would land this family-friendly, conservative state in newspapers all over the world.

As an MSW social worker from the University of Utah, Im embarrassed that DCFS and its agents are kowtowing to a couple of medical doctors at the expense of this family who has had to flee our state, simply because the advice of a medical doctor seems safely mainstream.

DCFS has appropriated to itself the right to permanently terminate parental rights without a trial by a jury of peers. It has not required the state to find the parents guilty of any actual wrongdoing or criminal behavior prior to terminating their parental rights. And the health issue for Parker Jensen does not fall under the category of an imminent threat to the boys health, as he looks and feels healthy and the family has time to research appropriate treatment. (For evidence, see the photo of Parker slam-dunking a basketball last Sunday at

Constitutional issues specialist Joel Skousen outlines the consequence of such medical and state arrogance: Parents in the future will think twice about taking their children to the establishment medical community for advice. Wise parents will seek alternative therapies first.

I have a question for DCFS, Child Protective Services, the Guardian Ad Litems office, and the Attorney Generals office. If you are going to dictate to parents with a perfect record of responsible behavior and good judgment what their medical decisions should be, will you also assume full liability for your decisions? If Parkers kidneys fail from chemotherapy treatment, will you pay for a kidney transplant? Will you pay for his funeral and compensate the family for their grief and suffering if Parker dies from the barbaric practice of bullying the body to the brink of death with chemicals and radiation (all in the hopes that the one diseased organ will survive)? And if all goes relatively well, will you pay for the medical treatments you are requiring?

If so, Ill be paying for all that as a taxpayer. So, if the parents have no rights, do I have any say about this?

Robyn Openshaw-Pay

r o b y n @ o p p u b l i s h i n g . n e t (delete spaces)

Lindon, Utah

(801) 785-2113