Son Died in March
Kristen LaBrie was arraigned yesterday in Superior Court for withholding medical care from Jeremy, her autistic 9-year-old son who had cancer and died in March.
LaBrie, of Salem, Mass. is facing up to 40 years in prison if convicted on all four charges including attempted murder, child endangerment, and permitting bodily injury to a disabled person, reports the Boston Globe.
Prosecutors said LaBrie, 37, did not bring Jeremy to scheduled chemotherapy sessions to help him fight his non-Hodgkin lymphoma and failed to obtain his prescriptions.
The Essex District Attorney, Jonathan Blodgett’s office says LaBrie failed to act between October 2006, when the boy was diagnosed, and March 2008, when Massachusetts General Hospital reported her to authorities.
She shook her head in the courtroom as the charges were read.
Jeremy Fraser, 9, had been diagnosed with a serious form of autism as a young child. In October 2006, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma but was given an 85 to 90 percent chance of recovery, reports Associated Press. After chemotherapy he went into remission.
He was supposed to be given more medication at home.
After doctors checked and found LaBrie was not filling prescriptions. Jeremy’s cancer returned as leukemia and could not be treated with chemotherapy.
Defense attorney, Kevin James said in court that his client was the victim because the boy’s father abandoned them and she had severe financial problems and no assistance with the boy’s care.
Eric Fraser, Jeremy’s father, says he is happy with his ex-wife’s prosecution. Fraser took custody of the boy and put him in hospice care before he died in March.
Parents have been known to withhold medical care for religious reasons as was the recent case of Daniel Hauser, whose parents wanted to choose treatments aligned with their belief in a Native American religion over chemotherapy. Bioethicists write that in that case, the Court violated the family’s right to confidentiality.
The withholding of emergency medical treatment is much more problematic legally than the later withdrawal of interventions intended to extend life.
Clinical Bioethics Blog discusses that Texas allows the withdrawal of medical treatment even if the patient is conscious, talking, and aware of his surrounding if the physician concludes the patient will die within six months and there is no health directive to the contrary.
The Texas legislature has introduced a bill to amend this statute, Section 166.039. #