What a terribly, terribly sad story.
An 11-year-old boy whose parents won court approval to treat their son’s leukemia with an unconventional method has died after five years of fighting the cancer.
Noah Maxin died Thursday at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, said Rinda Schelat of Reed Funeral Home in Canton.
Noah’s parents, Greg and Theresa Maxin, won the right in 2002 to abandon chemotherapy treatment for their then-7-year-old son. County child welfare officials had accused the couple of neglect after the Maxins told Akron Children’s Hospital they were pulling Noah out of chemotherapy three months into a 3 1/2-year treatment plan.
The extreme libertarian viewpoint that would allow parents the right to do just about anything they choose with their kids, up to and including conduct that most people would regard as child abuse, has tended to give the concept of parental rights a bad name among liberals. But clearly, the right, in general, to raise one’s children according one’s own values and judgment is both an inherent and an indispensable part of any meaningful concept of freedom.
Parents do, quite properly, have broad discretion in deciding what’s best for their children: But, obviously, the interests of the children themselves must also be given very strong consideration, and the law so provides. Personally, I tend to error on the side of putting the interests of the child over the rights of the parent in cases like this, but I can understand that this is a terribly difficult judgment to make, especially where, as here, the parents are clearly trying to act in the child’s best interests, even if unwisely so.
According to the article, Noah was only off chemotherapy for four months, before his parents put him back on after the cancer returned: hopefully the doctors can assure them that such a short time gap was unlikely to have played a decisive role.
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