Child protective services got involved when Karen Parisian refused to let her 8-year-old daughter go undergo chemotherapy, opting for alternative medicine instead.
Parisian said Sarah, who recently underwent surgery and had 90 percent of a brain tumor removed, was suffering from nausea, sore throat, hair and weight loss from chemotherapy.
“The week that we were to start chemo she was sleeping 22 hours a day. She is very sick from the standard treatment so we wanted to explore and option of modifying the treatment so that it would be more appropriate for Sarah,”
Doctors, who wanted Sarah to go under one year of chemotherapy, felt the girl’s survival was compromised each day she went without treatment.
The Minnetonka family was ordered to court and was told if they did not work with them on a treatment plan, they would lose custody of Sarah. Dr. Kevin Conners, an integrative cancer specialist, said he believed there was a way to give both sides what they wanted.
“Do what’s best for the patient let’s take her case as an individual case and not try to fit her into what is standard protocol and look at her as an individual what she can tolerate what other therapies added to a traditional approach is going to be best for her.”
The court and Parisian family eventually reached an agreement on a treatment plan which includes some chemotherapy. The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office says it respects the right of parents to make decisions for their children, but said it had strong evidence that the parents weren’t doing what was best for Sarah.
The case highlights the dangers of patient choice when it comes to alternative medicine. Where unpleasant, though potentially life saving, treatment can be rejected in favour of treatments without any evidence base that could ultimately result in death.
Sarah will start the treatment this coming Friday.