NEW ULM, Minn. — The parents of a Minnesota boy who refused chemotherapy for his cancer told a judge Tuesday they now agree to the medical treatment, and the judge ruled their son 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 chemotherapy and seek alternative treatments.
Colleen and Anthony Hauser told a Brown County District judge they now understand their son needs chemotherapy. When Judge John Rodenberg asked an emotional Colleen Hauser if she now believes chemotherapy is necessary to save her son's life, she replied, "Yes I do."
Daniel is scheduled for a round of chemotherapy Thursday at Children's Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota.
Daniel and Colleen returned to Minnesota on Monday after almost a week on the run. Dr. James Joyce evaluated Daniel at the family's home in Sleepy Eye, and then made an appointment for Daniel to see an oncologist.
That exam showed a tumor in Daniel's chest has grown — and is larger than it was when he was diagnosed in January — according to a medical report read in court by Rodenberg. The tumor is pushing against Daniel's trachea, causing pain.
"The doctor is stating in the strongest possible terms that this course of chemotherapy has to commence and commence soon," Rodenberg said.
Attorneys for Brown County Family Services and for the guardian ad litem objected to the judge's ruling on custody, saying they wanted Daniel to stay in foster care. The judge had ruled earlier this month that Daniel would be placed in protective custody if his parents did not abide by a court order to see an oncologist.
"I do not see why the court would consider a change in custody status," said Tom Sinas, attorney for the guardian ad litem. "The only thing that has happened since we were last here is that Colleen Hauser fled the state with her son. I don't see how that is the basis for revisiting the custody decision."
James Olson, the Brown County prosecutor, said social workers at Children's Hospital told them that as recently as Monday, when Daniel saw the oncologist, the Hausers were still saying they didn't want chemotherapy.
"I am concerned that if Danny doesn't like the second round of chemotherapy he's going to say, 'I'm going to run away again,' and we're going to be right back where we started," Olson said. "These folks have had a history of changing their minds."
Attorneys for the Hausers wanted Daniel to stay with his parents and seven siblings. "This family clearly loves and cares for Danny," attorney Tom Hagen said. "The environment at the Hausers' home is loving and caring. It is a healing place. Their main interest is in making sure Danny is OK."