by Michael P. Farris
Ken and Erin Stieler are the mom and dad of Jacob—who has been cancer-free since his PET scan in early July. He has had two clean PET scans since then—the most recent in January.
Despite all of this, the Michigan Department of Human Services continues to attempt to prosecute this family for medical neglect. If they succeed they will force Jacob to resume chemotherapy despite the fact that the drugs in question are not FDA approved (either for children in general or for this particular cancer). Moreover, these drugs do not promise anything close to a guaranteed cure. And, the FDA requires the drug manufacturers to disclose that these drugs cause new cancers to form, heart disease in children, failure to sexually mature, and many other serious side effects in some cases.
The Marquette County Probate Court has twice ruled against the Department. Yet, the department keeps on fighting against these parents.
Just this afternoon, the Department’s appeal was filed in the Michigan Court of Appeals. The irony is that the Department has alleged that this case should be expedited because the situation is urgent. If it was urgent, why did the Department wait 55 days from the initial hotline call until filing its complaint? Why did the Department and a consulting doctor call two local judges trying to influence them to prosecute the Stielers—despite the fact that such out-of-court calls are clearly unethical? These calls required the case to be re-assigned twice—wasting another two months.
If it was urgent, why did the Department ask for a continuance of the December trial date by almost a month? If it was urgent, when the Department lost why did it seek a motion for rehearing, a step that is rarely granted and which took another two months to resolve? And when they filed this motion for rehearing, why did they wait until the very last day—21 days—before filing the motion? And when it came time to appeal, why did they wait until the 20th day—beating the deadline by a single day?
The Department’s actions prove that they don’t really believe in the medical urgency theory—they only believe in hassling parents that have the courage to tell them “no.”
Please commit to pray for this family and this case. And pray that Jacob will remain cancer free.