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K-House eNews
For The Week Of September 02, 2003


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.

After the 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 gland.

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 chemotherapy treatments.

"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."

The Jensens are currently negotiating an end to the stand-off through Utah Attorney General Paul Shurtleff.

Related Links:
  •   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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