Chemotherapy refusenik Daniel Hauser: On the way to Mexico with his mother?

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been blogging regularly about the case of Daniel Hauser, the 13-year-old boy with stage 2B Hodgkin’s lymphoma who, after one course of chemotherapy in January, refused to undergo any more, citing a faux religion run by a woo-meister naturopath and Native American wannabe called “Chief” Cloudpiler. In reality, it probably wasn’t so much belief in this fake religion, which is really no more than an excuse to use laws guaranteeing Native Americans freedom to practice their religions as justification for using peyote and various quackery for disease, but rather fear of chemotherapy brought on by the death of his aunt. Last week, a judge in Minnesota, Judge John Rodenberg, ordered Daniel’s parents to have him seen on Monday by his pediatrician for an X-ray to see if his tumor had regrown and then to get him to a pediatric oncologist to undergo treatment. I characterized it as a good decision but with one risk, namely that Daniel might flee. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened. Daniel’s mother, after getting Daniel X-rayed on Monday, was told that his tumor had regrown to at least as large as it was at the time of diagnosis. Tuesday, she and Daniel failed to show up for their scheduled court appearance.

We now know for sure that they have fled. In fact, it looks very likely that they’re fleeing for Mexico and may already be there:

SLEEPY EYE, MINN. — Daniel Hauser, the 13-year-old Minnesota boy with cancer, and his mother, Colleen, have traveled to California and are possibly on their way to Mexico seeking medical treatment, the Brown County sheriff announced tonight.

At a press conference, Sherif Rich Hoffmann said authorities have received reliable information that the Hausers are traveling together.

Hoffmann said authorities think the pair is somewhere between Los Angeles and the Mexican border, but he said law enforcement have not had contact with them. Hoffman said it’s believed they’re heading to an area just south of San Diego.

It figures. If Hoffman’s information is accurate (it is always possible that Anthony Hauser is lying to misdirect police and give his wife and son more of a chance to evade capture, after all), they’re almost certainly on their way to the quackery mills of Tijuana

Tijuana, where Abraham Cherrix first fled to undergo the quack therapy known as the Hoxsey treatment at the Bio-Medical Center. Tijuana, the place where über-quack (in my opinion, of course) Hulda Clark plies her trade, claiming that “all cancer” is caused by a liver fluke and that she can “cure” it by zapping it with a cheap electrical device that she calls her zapper in a decrepit “clinic,” from which she sends her attack poodle Timothy Bolen to sally forth to do battle with her foes by sending them vacuous legal threats. Tijuana, the place where Coretta Scott King, on her last legs after a long losing battle with ovarian cancer, headed to try woo but ended up dying in one of Tijuana’s quack clinics.

It’s not surprising that Daniel and his mother are on the way to Tijuana. That’s the first place where I (or anyone else familiar with quack cancer “cures”) would have predicted they’d go. It’s a veritable cornucopia of quackery, and it’s highly unlikely that the police would take much interest in looking for a lone American boy and his mother taking advantage of that cornucopia of woo. In fact, it’s probably even worse than it was when Abraham Cherrix fled there nearly three years ago because at least then there wasn’t a war between drug cartels going on in Mexico, with the attendant hundreds of fatalities that have occurred in the last year. If the police weren’t interested in bothering Americans coming to Tijuana for “alternative medicine” or in shutting down the quacks taking advantage of them three years ago, they’re going to be even less so now. Of course, they have to get across the border first, and now that a notice is out the Border Patrol will be on the lookout for them. They are unlikely to be able to cross at the San Diego border checkpoint–or any border checkpoint, for that matter. They’ll have to cross the desert or find a boat, the former of which is fraught with peril and the latter of which is likely to carry a high risk of being caught. What I fear is that they’ll hook up with a coyote, who will try to get them across the dangerous desert crossing.

I had also wondered about Anthony Hauser, Daniel’s father. I didn’t know if he was just clueless, if he disagreed with Daniel’s mother but was to wimpy to challenge her, or if he was complicit in her flight. After reading more news reports I’m leaning towards viewing him as disingenuous at best and complicit at worst.

Daniel Hauser’s father said earlier today he believes his son and his wife have left the country, but won’t say where he thinks they have gone to keep out of reach of authorities.

“I have an opinion where they are, but I can’t say I know,” said Anthony Hauser, adding that he has placed a call to a telephone where he believes he can reach them.

Hauser specifically said he does not believe Daniel and Colleen Hauser have fled to Canada

Yeah, right. This is so obviously plausible deniability that it’s a wonder that Judge Rodenberg doesn’t throw his butt in the slammer for contempt of court. Who knows? He may even be lying to cover their trail? Want more evidence? Read between the lines here:

Hoffmann said Anthony Hauser “has been in contact with the investigators and he’s been cooperative in the information he has provided.

“We can’t speculate on the sincerity of the information that Anthony Hauser has provided.”

In other words, it sounds as though Hoffman thinks Anthony Hauser is either lying or not telling him everything he knows. Based on Hauser’s behavior since his wife and son fled, that sounds like a good bet to me. Moreover, it looks very much as though they had help from a member of the Nemenhah named Susan Daya Hamwi and a former teen who also ran from chemotherapy, Billy Best:

The alert said they might also be with a Massachusetts man named Billy Best, who as a teenager in 1994 ran away from home to escape chemotherapy for cancer similar to Daniel’s. Best, who says he was cured by natural remedies, had appeared at a news conference in Minnesota recently to support the Hausers.

Best, in a phone interview, said he was in Boston and hadn’t talked to the Hausers since they fled. He said he last saw the family May 9 when he was in Minnesota for court hearings.

“I just want to help this kid. I just feel like people are ganging up on him and it’s not fair,” Best said. “He’s a nice kid, the family’s nice, and they love him, and they want him to live.”

I have no doubt that Daniel and his family are probably very nice and that Colleen and Anthony Hauser love Daniel very much. In this case, however, the motivations behind their actions are not as important as their actions themselves, which directly endanger Daniel’s life. Their fear of chemotherapy and belief in Chief Cloudpiler’s quackery have led them to do something that could easily lead to his death. Moreover, Billy Best isn’t exactly the best role model to follow. After all, he underwent at least a couple of courses of chemotherapy stretching over a few months. That’s less than optimal therapy, but it could well have cured him. In other words, by the time Billy fled, he had already received, as far as I can tell, a pretty good course of chemotherapy. It may not have been the complete course recommended for Hodgkin’s disease, but it was apparently enough. In other words, Billy Best underwent incomplete conventional therapy, but it was enough to cure him. As with most “alternative cancer cure” testimonials, Best and his supporters credit the Essiac and other “natural” therapies and woo for his good fortune, not the chemotherapy.

Still, complicit or not, Anthony Hauser is at least somewhat more reasonable than his wife:

When X-rays this week showed the tumor had grown back to its original size, “it threw fear” into his wife, Anthony Hauser said. “She didn’t tell me that. I just know her.”

Hauser said he was a “bit disappointed” that his wife didn’t stick with the plan they had talked about. “We were going to present a treatment plan to the court. If they didn’t go with it, we would appeal it,” he said. Anthony Hasuer said he doesn’t oppose chemotherapy but would prefer that it be given less frequently and in conjunction with alternative therapy.

But only somewhat:

I know many people around here who have had cancer, they did the chemo, it would come back,” Hauser said. “They did the chemo again and again and they are all in the grave. Chemo isn’t foolproof.”

No, chemotherapy isn’t foolproof, but in Anthony’s son’s case, it would have been about as close to “foolproof” as it is possible to be against cancer, assuming his wife doesn’t delay effective therapy so long that Daniel’s tumor progresses to the point where it becomes much less curable. On the other hand, even if his lymphoma does grow that much, there would still be a reasonable chance that scientific medicine could save Daniel’s life, a chance that would still be worth taking. The woo that his wife is pursuing for Daniel is, in essence, the same thing as doing nothing. It’s delaying Daniel’s treatment. It is criminal neglect:

If police find the Hausers, Daniel would be put in foster care. No criminal charges have been filed against Colleen Hauser. If she knew Daniel’s tumor had grown before she left with him then she could be charged with criminal neglect.

I fear that if Daniel isn’t found very soon, that he won’t be found for a long time. I also fear that he is not Billy Best. Unlike Best, Daniel only underwent one round of chemotherapy, and his tumor grew right back, most likely because he had undergone inadequate therapy. Even worse, in the two months since his last X-ray, during which he has been using the Nemenhah woo, his tumor has grown. That is a clear indication that the woo isn’t working. (Big surprise.) In oncology, when a tumor keeps growing through therapy, oncologists change therapy. Perhaps that’s what Colleen thinks she is doing, but she is going from one form of quackery to another.

If he isn’t found soon, Daniel could well end up paying the price for her choice.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTARY

  1. The Nemenhah Band and the Daniel Hauser controversy
  2. Daniel Hauser’s Mom Takes Off Running
  3. Daniel Hauser Flees Country to Avoid Chemotherapy: Is Prayer to Blame?

Orac’s commentary

  1. Another child sacrificing himself on the altar of irrational belief
  2. Daniel Hauser and his rejection of chemotherapy: Is religion the driving force or just a convenient excuse?
  3. Judge John Rodenberg gives chemotherapy refusenik Daniel Hauser a chance to live
  4. Mike Adams brings home the crazy over the Daniel Hauser case
  5. The case of chemotherapy refusenik Daniel Hauser: I was afraid of this
  6. Chemotherapy versus death from cancer
  7. Chemotherapy refusenik Daniel Hauser: On the way to Mexico with his mother?
  8. An astoundingly inaccurate headline about the Daniel Hauser case
  9. Good news for Daniel Hauser!
  10. Daniel Hauser, fundraising, and “health freedom”