Do not blame parents for child's cancer death

Do not blame parents for child's cancer death

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Court sees no neglect of duty of care or negligent homicide

The parents of a girl who died of cancer were acquitted of negligence. The Kempten district court came to the conclusion in its verdict that it was "completely indisputable that they subjectively wanted the best for their child" when they transferred their daughter's treatment to a dubious "cancer healer".

The public prosecutor had accused the parents of violating their duty of care and negligent killing of the girl because in 2009, after two chemotherapy treatments, they decided against further chemotherapy, discontinued medical treatment, and entrusted their daughter to a “cancer healer”. The prosecution argued that the chances of the child surviving were extremely good if the therapy was continued. However, the court was unable to follow the allegations and acquitted the parents because they had always tried to do the best for their child.

Doctors pressed for chemotherapy to continue. In the meantime, a violent dispute had arisen between the treating doctor, the responsible authorities and the parents about the treatment of the now deceased girl. In 2009, the then twelve-year-old from Oberallgäu underwent chemotherapy for the first time, with the consent of her parents, for a football-sized cancer tumor in her stomach. The doctors reported that the tumor had shrunk to the size of a tennis ball in the course of treatment and that the chances of recovery if the chemotherapy was continued accordingly were about 80 percent. Although the medical practitioners urged continued treatment after the two relatively successful chemical treatments, the parents decided to discontinue the treatment. In view of the side effects of chemotherapy, they initially opted instead for nutritional and mistletoe therapy before turning to the controversial methods of "New Germanic Medicine" according to Ryke Geerd Hamer.

Even if the therapy was continued, the cure was not safe after lengthy disputes. The responsible family court came to the conclusion that the termination of chemotherapy by the parents was endangering the child's well-being, deprived the parents of health care and referred the girl to the hospital for a week a. However, the disease was now so advanced that there were hardly any chances of recovery. In addition, the daughter would have been extremely opposed to the therapy by influencing the parents, so that the doctors decided to release the girl from the hospital again. The girl finally passed away at her parents' house in Christmas 2009. In its judgment, the Kempten district court came to the conclusion that the child's survival would not have been guaranteed if the therapy had been continued uninterrupted.

False healing promises with fatal effects The case tragically makes clear what fatal effects false or at least questionable healing promises can have. The parents certainly wanted only the best for their child, but "blindly" trusted the statements of Ryke Geerd Hamer, reports one of the treating doctors. While the positive effects of mistletoe therapy in cancer therapy are also clearly scientifically proven, this is by no means the case for Hamer's healing methods. In addition, mistletoe therapy is only used as an accompanying therapy. Exclusive treatment of cancer based on mistletoe therapy is not recommended and is not very promising. The general rule for cancer is that naturopathy has so far not been able to offer a reliable treatment method. If a cure for pronounced cancer is promised based on purely naturopathic procedures, skepticism is therefore necessary. A supplementary attempt to tackle existing tumors with the help of naturopathy cannot harm, however, and may have a positive effect. (fp)

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