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Article on Cancer A May 22, 2014

Barbara Kay: Makayla needs to be saved from cultural correctness

National Post May 22, 2014

If Makayla Sault, the gravely ill child who is refusing chemotherapy, is not “a child in need of protection” as a children’s aid society has recently determined, is she nonetheless a youngster in need of a treatment decision?

That is the agonizingly difficult question that remains unanswered.

Certainly in the result, the one body uniquely qualified to make such life-and-death decisions in Ontario — the independent Consent and Capacity Board or CCB — never had a crack at the case.

When the 11-year-old girl, a member of the New Credit First Nation near Hamilton, Ont., and her parents decided to stop chemotherapy after the first round left her so weak she had to be carried around, doctors at McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton reported the matter to Brant Family and Children’s Services, as by law under the Child and Family Services Act they were obligated to do.

A team at the Brant agency, led by executive-director Andy Koster, investigated and quickly decided they would not intervene.

When Mr. Koster spoke to Postmedia earlier this week, he said out of compassion and humanity for the child and her loving parents, the agency decided to back off.

Children’s aid societies in the province regularly go to court — sometimes on an urgent basis — to seek permission to have sick or dying children receive treatment, where they or their parents refuse it.

Meanwhile, officials at the hospital said that they were legally obliged to report the matter to Brant CFS, as doctors believed she needed medical care.

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