snoqueen wrote:Given that we will all die, I believe it is a fundamental human right to make choices that make a person's death for a particular reason more likely. This includes silly stuff like smoking, alcohol, and overeating, but it also includes serious stuff like declining medical treatment for oneself and one's loved ones. People don't make these choices lightly, even dippy people.
This is not child abuse, it is a family with perfectly serious personal beliefs that are way out of the mainstream. Let's not confuse REAL child abuse (the Irish story) with the issue of this poor weird family who prefer to lose their son instead of putting him through a hideous procedure that in a hundred years will shock readers the same way arsenic cures and bloodletting horrify us today.
I obviously don't agree (see previous comment). There are many ways to abuse somebody, both direct (beating, sexual abuse) and less direct (withholding food, withholding medical treatment, solitary confinement, etc.)
This obviously doesn't mean reporting somebody to social services just because they let their children eat junk food. Goddog's reductio ad absurdam to the contrary, I'm generally inclined to look the other way when parents do things that I don't necessarily approve of. The only
time I think the community needs to step in is when there is a high likelihood that a child will suffer predictable and dire negative consequences (e.g., injury, death, or extreme mental trauma) unless something is done immediately.
Contra snoqueen, to me the fact that people "don't make these choices lightly" is irrelevant. I'm not primarily concerned about the subjective thought process of the parent, I'm concerned about the objective survival (or not) of the child. I suppose on some level you could argue that parents who agonize long and hard over a situation and then come to the wrong decision are "better" people than those who blindly follow the doctor's advice without a second (or even first) thought. But that admirable seriousness of mind doesn't really compensate for the preventable death of a young person.
I also disagree strongly with snoqueen's final statement in the excerpt above. What is "hideous" or "shocking" about premodern medical care is not that it was gory or relied on the use of toxic metals; it's that it was gory and ineffective
. A hundred years from now, our great-grandchildren may have much better ways to treat cancer, but if so, it will be specifically because of
the success of evidence-based medicine. Sure, there's a lot that we still don't know, and sure, much of modern medicine will look primitive in the future. But that's no reason to throw out the things we do
know! And from all accounts, the form of cancer that young Mr Hauser is suffering from is very likely to be curable with our present-day medical care.