Daniel Hauser's parents agree to chemotherapy
New Ulm, Minn. (AP) -- The parents of a Minnesota boy who refused chemotherapy for his cancer have told a judge they now agree to the medical treatment, and the judge says the boy can stay with them.
Daniel Hauser, 13, has Hodgkin's lymphoma. He and his mother missed a court appearance last week and left the state to avoid chemo and try to get alternative treatments. Colleen and Anthony Hauser now say they understand their son needs chemotherapy.
Daniel will begin treatment on Thursday at a Minneapolis hospital, and he will also undergo psychotherapy as part of his treatment.
Daniel and his mother, Colleen Hauser, returned to Minnesota on Monday after almost a week on the run. A doctor's exam showed a tumor in his chest has grown and is pushing against his trachea, causing pain.
Brown County Family Services objected to the judge's ruling, saying they wanted Daniel to stay in the county's custody.
Shortly before the hearing, family friend Dan Zwakman told reporters in front of the courthouse that the Hausers seemed ready to accept chemotherapy.
"There's still going to be conflict, but I think we can work through it," he said. "I think there's still going to be resistance to chemotherapy, but I'm not sure how much."
Zwakman said he had spent about 12 hours with the family on Monday, adding that Daniel seemed to be OK and had enough energy to work in the family garden Monday night. Zwakman said Daniel was still very much against chemotherapy.
Jennifer Keller, the California attorney who helped arrange the Hausers' return to Minnesota, said the mother will continue to seek permission to use alternative treatments for her son's cancer "that aren't toxic."
"But she'll abide by what the court says," Keller said.
Daniel Hauser, who has Hodgkin's lymphoma and has been refusing chemotherapy, was examined by a doctor after his return.
He's in the protective custody of Brown County, but was allowed to spend the night at the family farm in Sleepy Eye, with a deputy on duty, County Attorney James Olson said.
Olson said that since Colleen Hauser returned to Minnesota voluntarily he would likely dismiss a felony complaint against her and not charge her with anything else. FBI spokesman E.K. Wilson said a federal charge of unauthorized flight would also likely be dropped.
But Olson indicated Colleen Hauser and her husband, Anthony Hauser, would have little choice but to go along with the court's desire to treat Daniel with chemotherapy.
"A lot depends upon the attitude of the parents, their willingness to get on board with a treatment plan," Olson said Monday.
Zwakman told WCCO-AM that the Hausers wanted to get alternative treatments at a Mexican clinic but were dissuaded from crossing the border because of reports of violence against Americans.
"And for their own safety, they didn't want to take the risk," he said.
Keller said she met the mother and son on Sunday, after another attorney told her the family wanted to return to Minnesota but didn't know what to do. Keller then notified authorities and arranged for the plane. Keller said criticism pointed at Colleen Hauser is unfair.
"They always expected to return," Keller told The Associated Press in a phone interview late Monday. "She's horrified people perceive her as hiding out. That isn't what she intended."
Keller said Daniel Hauser looked fine but was tired.
"He wasn't in any acute distress," Keller said. "He was quite tired. He was very, very eager to get home."
Daniel underwent one round of chemotherapy in February, but stopped after that, citing religious beliefs. The family prefers natural healing practices suggested by a religious group called the Nemenhah Band, which says it follows American Indian beliefs.
A judge ruled the parents medically neglected Daniel and ordered them to get him an updated chest X-ray as well as select an oncologist for a re-evaluation. After the X-ray showed a tumor in Daniel's chest had grown, the mother and son left town.
The FBI said the pair flew to Los Angeles. Investigators suspected they might have been heading to one of a number of alternative cancer clinics in northern Mexico.
Dr. Bruce Bostrom, the pediatric oncologist at Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota who diagnosed Daniel's cancer in January, said he was happy to hear of the boy's return.
"I'm delighted," Bostrom said. "I've been so worried that he was going to die in Mexico. I've been praying for his safe return, so I think my prayers will be answered."
Hodgkin's lymphoma has a 90 percent cure rate in children if treated with chemotherapy and radiation, but doctors said Daniel was likely to die without those treatments.