By the time I discovered the words “First, do no harm” were not actually in the Hippocratic oath, I was stunned but not surprised. A year’s battle with FDA approved second-death-sentence treatment and a no-tolerance policy for alternative treatments produced a sad summation – Freedom of health care – I don’t think so!
Drama becomes tragedy when it waltzes through your own front door and grapples with your heart. The night our grandson was diagnosed with cancer the enemy became personal – and plural.
The enemy was plural not just because David had two kinds of cancer (Ewing’s Sarcoma and Osteosarcoma) but also because despite statistics showing 90% of cancer patient families use alternative treatment, it is not recognized or authorized by medical authorities.
The enemy was personal and plural because although some agencies confirmed our research that cancer in children was basically unheard of before fluoride, and that David’s type of cancer was traced to fluoride they sadly noted that because “only” 400-600 children receive this “incurable” diagnosis annually, it was not enough to consider removing fluoride from local sources. That made me angry! How personal do those 400-600 children and their families take that lack of concern? How many have to die to make truthful reporting and action worth considering?
It became obvious that David’s parents were doing something beyond the hospital protocol as he was faring far better than other children with similar diagnosis and treatment. Where the norm was losing 50% of body-weight, Dave lost only a few pounds. Staff members were amazed (and suspicious apparently) when many expected side-effects were non-existent or soon dissipated as his mom found natural products to reduce the reactions, and to build up Dave’s immunity. I guess that made them angry because suddenly those I now began to look on as “the enemy” made an intimate personal attack when questions were answered honestly regarding if the family was considering or using natural treatment.
Threatened by doctors that they would contact Child Protection if the family refused to follow their protocol and nothing else, our research broadened. Could they take Dave away from us? Two alarming news articles exposed this frightening precedent. The father of 6-year-old Thomas Navarro was promised by the FDA if chemotherapy was accepted, permission for alternative treatment would be granted. But after chemo, permission was denied. “How,” he wondered, “can a federal agency with no constitutional basis for police authority freely interfere with our right to make informed choices about medical care for our child?” But they could – and did – until little Thomas was too weak to receive help and died. Then parents of Parker Jensen were charged with first-degree felony kidnapping for refusing chemotherapy for their son and fleeing the state for alternative treatment. Later testing showed Parker never had cancer and charges were finally dropped after much stress and unnecessary expense the Parkers could have better spent on the care of their child.
Would our David be the next case? As the family researched and compared natural treatments with the hospital protocol there was dismay for good reason: Insurance covered only FDA treatments approved as “safe and effective.” Those FDA approved chemotherapies and medications offered expected side effects that included hearing loss, kidney, liver, and heart damage (possibly necessitating a heart transplant as it did for a young woman recently receiving the same chemotherapy), and high potential of secondary cancer. When asked if patients ever die from the treatment, rather than the illness, the sad answer given was, “Oh, yes, all the time.” [This statement was not made by doctors but other medical staff – several doctors I personally asked this question simply shrugged their shoulders and said, “Chemo IS poison.”] Hospital staff confirmed that if the family chose treatment that was not FDA approved, not only would they bear the personal expense, but were “promised” that the Child Protection Agency would be called. It is no wonder that the majority of the 90% of the families using alternative care do not inform the doctor!
It happened. The Child Protection Agency did call and request a visit with our daughter. They expressed surprise that she was eager to talk to them. Apparently the norm – understandably, after media exposure of cases such as those above – was to run before the court system removed their child from the family’s care. Representatives of the agency did visit – and left commenting they would do the same if it were their child, and wondering why documentation from the Journal of the American Medical Association and the New England Medical Journal was not considered in cancer protocol. Dextrose-based IVs, for example, were contrary to medical research showing that higher blood glucose levels were associated with an increase in cancer incidence and cancer deaths. It was obvious to them that cancer feeds on sugar because sugar is used for PET scans to attract and aid in the identification of cancer cells.
Immunity building was also not a part of the protocol, and without it David could not have maintained his strength and appetite. Following David’s surgery a pediatric radiologist at another location confirmed what doctors had not – that protocol follow-up x-rays definitely would cause secondary cancer after 10-15 years. Patently aware that as Romans 1:18 says, “men are capable of suppressing the truth,” it was clear that consciences needed educating; but revenge was neither our calling nor our desire.
I tried to focus on helping other parents who had questions about research, and to share the faith we felt was crucial to what had become a fight – a very personal and a public fight. Their families were expressing frustration similar to mine, wondering why would doctors not want to first treat patients with methods that would strengthen the body – things that offered health-building side effects – things that would, as the saying goes, ‘first, do no harm’? I’ve come to the conclusion that many doctors would like to do exactly that, but their hands are tied by the hospital control, dependency on corporate donations that expect their products to used or suggestively presented as doctor’s choice and by the large income from the medications. This was revealed when a staff member carried the chemo in like it was nitroglycerin and when jokingly asked why such extreme caution – would it explode – the response was no, but the contents of this one little vial cost $30,000.
About this time a television expose revealed how a pharmaceutical company was breaking down a $20 for a month’s supply pill available to farmers to treat animal cancer. When packaged in human prescription portions, the company was selling the same product for $1500 a month. The reporter’s revelations had me aghast at choices being made by the people we’d elected to represent our interests and protect us from this type of evil. It further appalled me that representatives of companies such as this were fast becoming our physician’s replacement for information on drugs and side effects, and that they were protected as FDA approved protocol, while the government appeared to be ‘going after’ anyone who produced health benefits through natural means. This was affecting our grandchild, and his family, and it would affect all generations to come. Was there anything I could do?
This was not a time for decisions based on a gut feeling of what feels right. A higher power was needed for direction. Proverbs 14:12 instructs that “there is a way that seems right to man, but in the end it leads to death.” Doctors may possess much knowledge and authority in their areas of expertise, but it does not follow that they are infallible. So we prayed for wisdom and became educated. Technology bought time and gave us contact with resources across the country. Research – both mainstream and alternative was scrutinized. Isn’t that a core of America’s greatness – each individual having the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?” Yes, David survived his cancers and is doing well, but only because his parents refused to accept that they should turn their child’s care over to those who would only consider one side of the treatment possibilities. Our David got his life back due to the care he received at Envita.
Every member of a family is affected by cancer, and if this grandmother’s story has inspired you even a little to investigate the claims of naturopathic medicine on behalf of your loved ones, then I am grateful. If I can encourage you to do what you can within your circle of influence, I will be ecstatic!
Helping yourself and your family create a healthy “internal environment” in their bodies is the beginning – whether currently healthy or struggling with a health issue. Eating right, cooking right, and encouraging those you care for to do the same CAN make a huge difference. The circle of your influence, however, goes far beyond the walls of home, relation, and friendship.
Bills to give parents the right to select health care options outside mainstream medicine, as long as they can prove the choices are informed, have been approved by the senate but stalled in the House of Representatives time and again. Those freedom-keeping measures included preventing the Division of Child and Family Services from beginning a medical neglect case against parents because they refused the care of a physician, and bills that proposed natural treatments and cost for special medical or dietary foods and supplements should be treated as medical expenses.
We are not alone – several states are demanding the right to choose not to have their water fluoridated. But other bills contrary to freedom of health include such safe-sounding measures as changing all ‘natural products’ to prescriptions without demanding additional training by those who would be dispensing all non-pharmaceuticals (or choosing not to). How scary would that be to not be able to buy vitamins without prescription! I am not ashamed to beg our lawmakers to reconsider these bills in light of the escalating number of cancer cases among America’s youth.
I think you should care too, because your child could be next.