Hasty Ruminations

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Saturday, June 11, 2005

Texas Girl With Cancer Taken From Parents

Katie Posted by Hello

Child welfare officials seized a 12-year-old cancer patient from her parents near Corpus Christi, TX, claiming that the parents refused radiation treatment for her that doctors prescribed. The state removed not only Katie Wernecke but also her three brothers from their parents.

During a court hearing Wednesday, Michele and Edward Wernecke asked that doctors be barred from giving radiation therapy to their daughter Katie until a hearing next week to determine whether she will stay in state custody.

They say their daughter's cancer is in remission and they object to her getting the radiation treatment after undergoing a round of chemotherapy. Katie has Hodgkin's disease, a type of cancer involving the lymph nodes.

(On a personal note, my aunt died with Hodgkin’s, but from over-radiation, not from the cancer.)

The family maintains a blog entitled Pray for Katie on which her parents claim she is being used in a research project: "Why are the doctors doing this? Katie appears to be part of a study where they allocate kids randomly to one treatment, say standard chemo plus radiation, and chemo only in the other treatment. Parents are not informed of this. They are doing research on our kids. Collecting research money from the drug companies, I guess."

Juvenile court Judge Carl Lewis said he would rule on the request Friday.

I thought that we had decided all of this in the Terry Schiavo case. Guess not.

Here we go again.


  • At 10:27 AM, Blogger brendalove@gmail.com said…

    I know there's people out there that have been cured of cancer by undergoing radiation. I just don't happen to know any of them.

    I have a very poor attitude toward radiation treatment.

  • At 3:04 PM, Blogger Greg Finnegan said…

    Me, too. I don't think they do it with malice, but it's too indefinite. It killed my aunt, and how many others, I can't even guess.

    I wish they'd leave the parents alone in cases like this.


  • At 10:58 AM, Blogger Mellie Helen said…

    This is frightening. News items like this cause me to wonder when it will happen that the gov't comes down on me for giving my kids brand X vitamin when they feel it should be brand Y, or some other mundane parental decision. It may sound silly now, but this kind of stuff paves the way for more power and interference by "knowing gov't experts" in the name of "child protection" than we can possibly anticipate.

  • At 3:15 AM, Blogger Greg Finnegan said…

    Mellie, you are precisely right!

    When we lived in New Jersey, and the last of the kids went off to college, I briefly considered discussing with my wife whether we should volunteer as a foster family. We had a great track record with our four; active in church and community affairs; two decent incomes. But then (a) no one was home during the day, and (b) DYFS (Department of Youth and Family Services), the Big Brother agency, had a terrible reputation of prosecuting foster parents for abuse when a foster kid "objected" to such controls as curfews, checking homework, and screening friends. No thanks.

    Things are getting worse for parents, and I don't see the pendulum swinging back yet. The government always provides "least common denominator" answers; why do we trust them with prescribing family behavior?

  • At 4:18 PM, Blogger Gerbera Daisy said…

    Little by little, bit by bit, our rights are being taken away from us. I am glad my daughters are grown. I would think long and hard if I were a young person of childbearing age before I had children.


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