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Jensens Go Public Again with Treatment Gripes

Jensens Go Public Again with Treatment Gripes

Posted - Sep. 16, 2003 at 12:34 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The parents of a boy with cancer publicly aired their gripes about their son's medical treatment again on Tuesday, but there was no indication the parents planned to back out of a pledge to follow an Idaho doctor's advice.

Barbara and Daren Jensen aren't convinced that their 12-year-old son Parker still has any cancer cells in his body, and they don't want him to get chemotherapy, as his doctors have advised. They think the treatment will do more harm than good.

Their refusal led a Utah judge to order the treatment -- and prompted the Jensens to flee the state last month.

Kidnapping charges against the parents and an order transferring Parker into state custody followed.

The custody order was lifted when the Jensens, who are staying with relatives in Pocatello, Idaho, agreed to abide by whatever Boise physician Martin Johnston, the fourth doctor to examine the boy, recommended.

Last week, Dr. Johnson indicated the boy likely needs chemotherapy, but more tests would be performed before he made a final recommendation.

Daren Jensen saw it as this latest doctor rubber-stamping the findings of the earlier doctors.

In an interview on the CBS "Early Show" Tuesday, Daren Jensen sidestepped a question about whether he would refuse the treatment if the doctor recommended it, saying it was a hypothetical question. He said he remained confident the tests would show that Parker has no cancer cells in his body.

Jensen did not immediately return calls from The Associated Press seeking comment.

A spokeswoman for Primary Children's said she'd like to respond to the claims the Jensens have made to the media -- but she can't because patient confidentiality laws prohibit it.

Bonnie Midget said that at least twice, she has forwarded consent forms to the Jensens, which would allow her to release information about the case, but the Jensens haven't signed them.

In the KSL interview Tuesday, Daren Jensen said he'd want to know exactly what information the hospital was going to release before he waived his son's confidentiality rights.

"If we could release more information, I think it would be very clear," Midget said. "We're in a position where we can't say anything. They get to control whether we respond."

Daren Jensen said the three previous examinations have shown that a small tumor removed from Parker's mouth in June was some form of malignant cancer. But only one of the three doctors has diagnosed it as Ewing's sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, he said.

The Jensens have said they fear chemotherapy will stunt their boy's growth and make him sterile. They don't want to get that treatment unless doctors are certain what form of cancer he has and that it still exists in his body.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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