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Family of teen who fled chemo wants court out

/ Source: The Associated Press

The parents of a southern Minnesota teenager who once fled the state to avoid chemotherapy went before a judge Monday and asked for the court’s role in the case to end, saying they are following the advice of doctors and making sure their son gets the best medical care.

Daniel Hauser, 13, is undergoing radiation treatments for childhood Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He finished chemotherapy in early September, and his father said there is no sign of cancer.

“In all reality, he’s been in remission for quite some time already,” Anthony Hauser said in a telephone interview Monday. “I hope he stays in remission — that’s No. 1. And hopefully we can live our lives normally again.”

During a hearing in Brown County District Court, Judge John Rodenberg said that as long as no new issues arise, he would close the case after Daniel completes his 12 recommended sessions of radiation — which are expected to end Nov. 6, according to Joseph Rymanowski, an attorney for the parents.

“It’s time to let these people be. They’ve been through enough,” said Rymanowski, who was at Monday’s hearing in New Ulm.

Daniel, of Sleepy Eye, was diagnosed with childhood Hodgkin’s lymphoma in January and stopped chemotherapy after one round because it made him sick. He said it was poison, and his family opted instead for alternative treatments inspired by American Indian traditions. The issue ended up in court as a medical neglect case because doctors said Daniel’s type of cancer is highly curable with chemotherapy.

A judge ordered in May that Daniel see an oncologist and follow the recommended treatment. Daniel and his mother fled Minnesota and became subject of a search that extended into Mexico. They returned after about a week and said they would follow the court’s order.

Daniel resumed chemotherapy and the family also used alternative therapies, such as massage, herbs and other remedies, to complement the medical treatment, according to court documents. His tumor responded well and he finished chemo earlier than expected.

Family postponed radiation treatment

Doctors wanted Daniel to start radiation in the beginning of October, but the family postponed it to seek additional medical opinions. The Hausers had expressed fear that radiation would “melt” Daniel’s thyroid or cause thyroid cancer.

The family spoke with three more doctors, including two pediatric oncologists who agreed radiation was the best course.

“We did initially oppose radiation because of the concerns of the long term effects we sought second opinions to ensure Danny receive the best medical care,” Colleen Hauser wrote in a court affidavit. “We never opposed radiation on moral, ethical or religious grounds.”

She said the family will continue to follow doctors’ recommendations.

“What we will not do, is blindly follow one particular doctor’s advice ... without research and ... second opinions,” Colleen Hauser wrote.

Brown County Attorney James Olson said before Monday’s hearing that he sees no reason to keep the case open once Daniel finishes radiation. Phone messages left with a court-appointed attorney for Daniel and with attorneys for the guardian ad litem were not immediately returned.

Daniel has gained some weight but is skinnier than he was before he started chemo, his father said. His hair is growing back and he seems to be tolerating his daily radiation treatments. One change: Daniel now needs eyeglasses, which his dad attributes to effects of chemo.

“He’s more upbeat. When it’s over he’s going to really feel a lot better,” Anthony Hauser said.

When the radiation is done, Daniel plans to celebrate by going deer hunting.