Upper Peninsula family heads to court over son's cancer treatments

SKANDIA, Mich. (AP) -- The parents of a 10-year-old Upper Peninsula boy faces a hearing next month on claims of negligence for refusing to continue chemotherapy and radiation treatments after his cancer was removed.

Erin Stieler told WLUC-TV for a recent story that she believed further treatments for her son, Jacob, were unnecessary.

A hearing is scheduled Dec. 5 in Marquette County Probate Court.

"It's the most horrible thing, most horrific thing," Erin Stieler said of the treatments. "He was sick, he was nauseous, he was extremely depressed. He told me numerous times he wished he could fall asleep and never wake up."

Jacob is from Skandia, about 15 miles southeast of Marquette. He was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma but after a number of treatments was found to be cancer-free.

"Now that I'm back, it's mostly to my normal life in a way, so I get all that put behind me," he said. "I very rarely think about it."

The boy's doctors told the family that more treatments were needed. The state Department of Human Services took the case to court.

"The department is unable to comment on specific cases," spokesman Jim Labadie recently told The Associated Press in an email. "The department's involvement in this case was limited to bringing the case for review to the court, which will make the final determination."

Jacob's parents want to discontinue conventional treatments and are pursuing alternative methods for nourishing him.

"I think you need to be proactive and do your research and make an educated decision with your spouse and as a family," Erin Stieler said.

A Detroit mother regained custody of her teenage daughter in September after fighting the state over her refusal to give the girl a powerful anti-psychotic drug.

A jury in August found Maryanne Godboldo guilty of neglect. A juvenile court judge later ruled she could take her daughter home after the girl had been living with Godboldo's sister.

Godboldo had been battling the Department of Human Services after she took her daughter off Risperdal, which often is used to contain aggression and treat autism. The girl was 13 at the time.

Published: Wed, Nov 9, 2011

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