Abraham and his father, Jay, appeared with Ann Curry on the NBC Today show. (Photo: Steve Helber, AP)
Read extended excerpts from the transcript of Abraham Cherrix’s appearance with Ann Curry on NBC’s Today Show. The full transcript is available at TherapeuticsDaily.com after free registration.
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ANN CURRY: Abraham, I guess the first question now that you know that the growth is still there–in fact, it’s a bit bigger–how are you feeling this morning?
Mr. A. CHERRIX: I’m feeling very good. I’m feeling extremely good, as a matter of fact.
CURRY: It’s a bit–you’re feeling extremely good in part because of these herbal supplements that you’re taking that we talked about in the piece. You know, the American Cancer Society says there is no evidence–no evidence, Abraham, that this treatment works. So why do you have faith?
Mr. A. CHERRIX: Excuse me?
CURRY: The American Cancer Society says there is no evidence that this treatment that you’re taking works. So why do you have faith in it?
Mr. A. CHERRIX: Well, the American Cancer Society says that there’s no evidence, but there is plenty of evidence if they would take the time to actually look through it. I’ve done extensive research, and I’ve read the testimonies of people who have been cured by alternative medicine, and I’ve seen it firsthand. I’ve met with these people.—————————————————-
CURRY: You know, Jay, I know this is a heartbreaking time for you, because what you have is a 16-year-old son with a strong will and with a terrible cancer. He’s not old enough to vote. He’s not old enough in this country, under the law, to take an–to take a drink in a bar. And yet you are allowing him to make this decision–you and your wife–over the possibility of living or dying, facing this cancer. Why are you allowing him to do this?
Mr. J. CHERRIX: Well, when you’re a parent you have to start treating children a little bit different when they get to be 12 years old. They start having minds of their own. Abraham suffered through three months of chemo. It was his body. He endured that. And it was his decision to take this medicine. I didn’t come to this rapidly. But when we went to the clinic and we met people that had been cured by this, we realized that this was Abraham’s best hope for survival.—————————————————-
CURRY: You know, there–this kind of cancer has a high rate of–high survival rate with treatment. Eighty-five percent of patients are alive five years later, according to the American Cancer Society. Jay, I’m going to ask you a tough question.
Mr. J. CHERRIX: Sure.
CURRY: If Abraham, with these herbal treatments, does not survive this cancer, how will you live with yourself?
Mr. J. CHERRIX: Abraham has a serious illness that I worry about every single day since the day that he contacted it. It’s something that entirely is a life-defining moment when you have your child in this–as sick as he is. They’ve only give–when you’re faced with a child only being given a 25 percent survival rate by taking chemicals, and this boy doesn’t want to do that and you’ve met folks that actually have survived by taking this treatment, you got to put your hope and you got to put your best foot forward. This is the chance that he has to get better, and it’s my responsibility as his father to make sure that he gets the treatment that’s going to save his life. And we believe this is what it is.—————————————————-
Mr. TAYLOR, lawyer: This case has far-reaching ramifications across this country for any parent who has a sick child in this nation who wants to make the decision for the child’s best welfare and his health care. And this is what we’re fighting for, is the parents’ right to make this decision vs. the state stepping in and supplanting the parents’ authority and actually trying to take a role that is superior to parents, which we think flies in the face of US Supreme Court decisions.—————————————————-
CURRY: If the judge rules against Abraham’s decision, if he says that Abraham cannot make this decision and he tries to force Abraham to go through chemotherapy, I guess, Abraham, the question is: Are you willing to go to jail for this, or, I guess, also, are your parents willing to go for–to jail for this? Abraham, you first.
Mr. A. CHERRIX: Yes, I’m willing–I am to do that because I obeyed the law by what they say. At least I try to as best as I can. If they want to put me in a juvenile detention, there’s really nothing I can do about it, and I will–I will have faith that my parents will get me out. And if they take my parents away, then I will do everything in my power to help them.
Read the rest of the transcript by clicking here (requires free registration).
For full coverage of the Abraham Cherrix story, click here.
This case has got to be incredibly difficult for any judge to decide. On one hand, parents should be allowed to decide treatment for their children, etc. At the same time — what do you do when a parent is truly being neglectful: when certain religious groups won’t give their children blood transfusions, or when parents refuse all medical treatment? What is the line between “parental decision” and true harm — perhaps even death?
With it being proven that the cancer has spread under the mexican cancer treatment, I would tend to agree with the judge that the parents should be charged for neglect. I find it difficult to read Abraham say something like “they wanted to bring me to the brink of death, and then bring me back.” when he seems to be bringing himself to the brink of death — and through its doors.
Whether or not the court should be involved, I am praying for Abraham’s recovery. May God be glorified through whatever outcome occurs.
In a free society we give the parents the deference. NO mistake has been made. Hindsight is 20/20. A medical decision is one of th liberties we give to a parent, that’s why doctors have parents sign a permission form in order to administer treatment.
The assumption in this case is that the chemo is a “sure thing” or at least much less of a risk and the Hoxsey’s is the risk. Chemo carries it’s own risks that this family has now decided are not worth taking. That’s a right that they have and should be allowed to make.
Remember that the Cherrix case is local. The court is a county juvenile court, and the opinion is solely that of one judge and the county social services personnel who testified before him.
Other than influence on other courts, social workers, and the public at large, this case will affect only the parties involved (unless an appeal is made and accepted).
I don’t see much chance of the U.S. Supreme Court getting involved … for that to happen, the case would have to be appealed through the entire state court system, including Virginia’s Supreme Court. As for a federal question, there isn’t much here. And what there is has been decided before.
1. The order forbidding Abraham from leaving Virginia and traveling to Mexico would be an interesting application of the right to travel (substantive due process). However, it might be a moot question by now. I think some child custody decrees following divorce invoke jurisdiction-skipping laws. This is almost the situation we have here if the court has ordered Mr. and Mrs. Cherrix to share custody with the Department of Social Services.
2. The custody-sharing arrangement is the reason the DSS can take Abraham and make medical decisions. It simply sounds outrageous. See summaries of parental rights cases at HSLDA.
Again, it would be a substantive due process case.
Does it have something to do with him going to Mexico? It sounds like the government is just being proud and cocky because another country may have a better alternative. So they really don’t care about his health they just care about their universal reputation.
The fact that the government has gone so far as to demand that this young man go through chemo again is very disturbing.
That his parents are being accused of neglect when it was the son’s decision, and that he is not free to seek an alternative to chemo is also disturbing. And also that even though it is not neglect to pursue a different treatment it is being portrayed as so. Has the government so far taken away our freedom, that we are not allowed to decide for ourselves anymore?
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