Imagine for a moment that your 9-year-old son is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, suffers through nearly three months of chemotherapy, is scanned, and declared cancer-free.
Then imagine that your state takes you to court to force your cancer-free son to have more chemotherapy and also radiation treatments, at the behest of your son’s doctor.
Sound crazy? Well it’s happening, in the Wolverine State.
Erin Stieler tells the whole story in an exclusive interview with AMERICAN FREE PRESS.
Dave Gahary, a former submariner in the U.S. Navy, is the host of AFP’s ‘Underground Interview’ series.
Parents Battle Feds Over Child’s Health
By Dave Gahary
Imagine for a moment your nine-year-old son is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, suffers through nearly three months of chemotherapy, is scanned, and declared cancer free. Then imagine that your state takes you to court to force your cancer-free son to have even more chemotherapy and also radiation treatments, at the behest of your son’s doctor.
Sound crazy? Well, it’s happening in the Wolverine State. Erin and Ken Stieler from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula found out about their son Jacob’s cancer during an ER visit to uncover the cause of him losing sensation in his legs. A malignant tumor, Ewing sarcoma, was discovered on his spine, and surgery was successful in removing the bulk of it. The small amount left behind was successfully treated with chemotherapy.
Although a positron emission tomography (PET) scan showed that all the cancer surgically removed did not grow back, Jacob’s oncologist insisted he go through another six months of chemotherapy and an additional two months of radiation. His diagnosis was based solely on an insurance company-influenced “standard of care” protocol, which costs $60,000 a month.
Jacob suffered terribly through chemotherapy, which kills rapidly dividing cancer cells, as well as other rapidly dividing cells like those found in bone marrow and hair follicles. His mom said Jacob told her several times that “I wish I could fall asleep and never wake up.”
Immediately following Jacob’s treatment, the Stielers were contacted by an investigator from Michigan’s Department of Human Services (DHS), a 10,000-employee state agency with a $4 billion budget that provides public assistance and child and family welfare services. She asked if he was ready for round two.
Jacob’s mother requested a week to decide, as they had just returned home after three months in a hospital eight hours away. When the investigator called back, Mrs. Stieler informed her they had decided to decline further treatments, as the PET scans had shown Jacob was cancer free. At that point, the DHS representative said she had no choice but to petition the court and force them to comply with the doctors’ and hospital’s recommendation.
On Nov. 11, AMERICAN FREE PRESS conducted a 75-minute interview with Mrs. Stieler, who discussed the case. AFP asked Mrs. Stieler what transpired after being threatened with a court order to comply. She replied: “Child protective services investigated for about a month and a half, along with the assistant prosecutor, and neither of them followed through with it, because they didn’t find any reason [to believe there was any] medical neglect.”
She added: “They were getting ready to close the case, when they discovered unknown forces had influenced DHS to pursue it, against the recommendations of their own agency investigators and the prosecutor.”
The Stielers found a lawyer and decided to be armed with the results of a new PET scan for their hearing.
“We did it a little early to show them that he was still healthy in hopes that they would drop the case,” said Mrs. Stieler. “It was brought up at that time that it really wasn’t about his health. It was more of a parental rights issue and whether we had the choice to make that decision and question the doctor. . . . We want to be proactive and keep doing PET scans,” she said, “and we have two medical doctors that are keeping an eye on him. If something should pop up, we would get him into treatment right away.”
The hearing will be held Dec. 5 in Marquette County Probate Court.