Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Culture Clash

"This chemo that I am on is killing my body and I cannot take it anymore. I have asked my mom and dad to take me off the treatment, because I don't want to go this way any more."
"Jesus came into my room, and he told me not to be afraid, so if I live or if I die I am not afraid."
Brantford, Ontario -- 11-year-old girl

"All in all, it's a very tragic situation. We have to decide as an agency how we wish to handle this."
"Hopefully, we can come up with something collaborative that can take the best interests of this child into consideration but also the perspective of the First Nation."
Andy Koster, executive director, Children's Aid Society of Brant County

"For the hospital to pump her full of pharmaceuticals and then degrade her spiritual experience is the exact opposite way of [her] culture. The hospital didn't seem to have protocol in place for Indigenous children whose families choose traditional medicine instead of pharmaceuticals."
"The ... family told me that [the hospital's lead oncologist] repeatedly used derogatory language ... regarding traditional medicines, calling them '100% ineffective' and 'anyone who says traditional medicine works should be thrown in jail'."
Nahnda Garlow, Two Row Times correspondent

"Her faith has been a constant source of strength throughout this great struggle. She told of her spiritual encounter with Jesus when he entered her hospital room and how everything began to turn around from that point on."
Child's father, evangelical pastor

"Health-care professionals have a legal obligation to notify the Children's Aid Society when any child requires medical treatment to cure, prevent or alleviate physical harm or suffering, and the child's parent is unable, does not or refuses to consent to the treatment."
Statement, McMaster Children's Hospital

The decision has been made by this little girl's family to remove her from all recognized and best-practise medical intervention in an attempt to treat her unique form of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a common form of childhood cancer. The condition has a survivability rate as high as 80% for children receiving properly recognized medical treatment.

The little girl had undergone the initial 11 weeks of chemotherapy at McMaster Children's Hospital in Hamilton. The child was distressed by the severe side effects familiar to most people who undergo such therapy; nausea, loss of appetite, weight loss. When the parents acceded to their daughter's wish, a tense standoff ensued between themselves and the hospital oncologists.

She is the daughter of a local pastor held in high esteem within his community. A crowd of several hundred attendees at a Sarnia, Ontario Evangelical gathering heard the little girl's testimony of having seen Jesus, which took place on May 5. Her epiphany most certainly impressed her father who fully supports his child's wish to be taken off chemotherapy treatment for her cancer.

The woman intervening on behalf of the family with the news media writes for a newspaper, freely distributed weekly to Ontario First Nations reservations. The Children's Aid Society, called into the situation by the hospital, plans to meet with members of the New Credit First Nation which represents the girl and her family, an Ojibwe group. The family plans to substitute chemotherapy with traditional therapy called Ongwehowe Onongwatri:yo:.

Details respecting that therapy have not been divulged, since it is considered to be "protected knowledge", according to Ms. Garlow: "herbs and other physical medicines but includes spiritual things such as faith, and love, and rest included in the treatments."

In their statement on First Nations medicine the Canadian Cancer Society states: "Although First Nations traditional healing practices have been valued by their people for as long as oral tradition has been alive, there is virtually no research on the effectiveness of these methods."

As a supplement to the story, the American Cancer Society unequivocally dismisses claims that "Native American healing can cure cancer or any other disease", while praising its "physical, emotional and spiritual beliefs".

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

()() Follow @rheytah Tweet