10-year-old who chose traditional medicine over chemo won't be taken from parents
Makayla Sault of New Credit, Ont. in a still image from a YouTube video posted May 13, 2014. (Two Row Times / YouTube)
Published Tuesday, May 20, 2014 7:58PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, May 20, 2014 11:10PM EDT
The Children’s Aid Society says a 10-year-old Ontario girl with leukemia who quit chemotherapy treatments in favour of traditional First Nations medicine will not be removed from her family or forced to resume chemo.
Makayla Sault’s parents met Tuesday with executives from the Children’s Aid Society of Brant, who said that Makayla is not in need of protection and would not be apprehended.
“It was very emotional,” Nahnda Garlow, a journalist and friend of the Sault family who attended the meeting, told CTVNews.ca. “The family was in tears.”
Sally Rivers, the director of aboriginal services for the Brant CAS, told CTV Kitchener that she and her colleagues “did not feel it was … our job to force Makayla to do treatment she and her family felt was not being of benefit to her.”
Rivers also said removing Makayla from her home “would cause her great harm.”
Makayla, who is from the New Credit First Nation near Caledonia, Ont., was receiving chemotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton.
Suffering from severe side effects, she decided to quit chemo and turn to traditional aboriginal medicine.
“This chemo that I am on is killing my body and I cannot take it anymore,” she said in a video posted to YouTube last week. “I have asked my mom and dad to take me off the treatment because I don’t want to go this way anymore.”
When Makayla’s parents told her doctors that she would be seeking alternative treatments, they referred the case to the Children’s Aid Society.
The McMaster Children’s Hospital said last week that it had a legal obligation to notify child welfare authorities when a child’s parent “is unable, does not or refuses to consent” to necessary medical treatments.
In a statement to CTVNews.ca Tuesday, a spokesperson said the hospital respects the CAS’s decision in Makayla’s case.
“We feel very much for Makayla’s family and the heartbreaking circumstance they are in. McMaster Children’s Hospital respects the decision of the Children’s Aid Society of Brant,” the statement said.
“It is the role of the Children’s Aid Society to weigh circumstances and make the difficult decisions they do about protecting children and preserving families. It is our role at McMaster Children’s Hospital to provide the best care possible for children, using the best medical evidence. We want to say that our door is always open to providing care to Makayla and her family.”