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Mother Pleads Not Guilty of Withholding Care From Son

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 2:27 PM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Kristin LaBrie, Daniel Hauser, Cancer, Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, Leukemia, Chemotherapy, Attempted Murder, Withholding Treatment

Mom charged with withholding treatment from her autistic son with cancer.

Son Died in March 

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IMAGE SOURCE:  Boston Globe/ Kristin LaBrie / Web site 

 

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.   #  


2 Comments

Posted by James Cool
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 3:03 PM EST

The Kevin James representing her -must- be the nimrod from "King of Queens" if he thinks that argument is going to fly. Financial troubles? Really? What about Medicaid and other government programs? Be a better lawyer, if for some reason those options didn't work, indict the system!

Posted by bensmyson
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 9:59 PM EST

Severely autistic child who has fought the good fight against cancer, under went rounds of chemo, more than likely was extremely sick for a while, not to mention all the normal illnesses that accompany autism would make for a difficult time considering the mother was left to handle all this all alone, broke.

The husband, Eric Fraser should have also been charged for not following through with his moral obligation of protecting and supporting his family.

85% of all families with autistic children will end in divorce. You have no idea how difficult it is to handle life with a severely autistic child hanging around your waist. Speaking from experience, my guess is the mother denied her son needed the medicine that would more than likely make him violently sick. Usually depression causes people to do stupid things, sleep around, drink, do drugs, careless and reckless behavior, lack of energy, unbelievable sadness, weight gain, weight loss, lack of sleep, loss of feelings, suicidal.

Most people would be depressed as hell being in her shoes. Doesn't make it right, just makes it easier to understand.

Comments for this article are closed.

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