For The Week Of September 02, 2003
PARENTS VS STATE
When Daren and Barbara Jensen took their twelve-year-old son
Parker to Primary Chidren's Hospital in Salt Lake City to have a
tumor removed from his mouth, they had no idea they their situation
would bring to light how little the state can care about a
child's health or parent's rights.
tumor was removed from under Parker's tongue in April, the doctors
recommended that he undergo chemotherapy to make sure the cancer
did not spread. They said he had a rare form of cancer called
Ewing's sarcoma, which can be very aggressive and deadly if not
treated early. However, after subsequent tests found no evidence of
cancer cells in Parker's body, his parents decided to avoid
the potentially dangerous chemotherapy. Dentists and oral surgeons
have told the Jensens that Parker simply has a clogged salivary
When the hospital pushed the Jensens to begin
chemotherapy, they decided they would first seek a 2nd opinion.
However, they have had repeated trouble getting one.
Primary Children's has been slow to get requested tissue
samples and reports to other hospitals and has made it difficult
for the family to get another opinion.
Because the Jensen's
refused the chemotherapy for their son, the hospital referred them
to the state and on August 8 a judge ordered Parker placed in
state custody so that he could be given the chemotherapy treatment
they alleged he needed. At the time of the court order, the Jensen
family was vacationing out of state at their cabin in Bear Lake,
Idaho. Parker's parents were charged with kidnapping
their son, and Barbara Jensen and Parker went into hiding. The
parents were then unable to take Parker to any hospital for fear
that he would be taken into state custody and forced to accept
"Any parent with concern for a
child would want to know definitely what he has before doing
something as invasive as 49 weeks of chemotherapy," Daren Jensen
told reporters. "We're the family next door. This doesn't happen to
us. We didn't realize that one you walk into a hospital and a child
is involved, parents don't have any rights."
are currently negotiating an end to the stand-off through Utah
Attorney General Paul Shurtleff.
Fugitive Father Defends Keeping Son Out of Utah to Avoid Cancer Treatment - Salt Lake Tribune
Mother and Son backwith Father in Pocatello - Local News
Fugitive Father Defends Medical Standoff
Ewing's is An Especially Virulent Cancer - Salt Lake Tribune
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