An Ottawa father says he lost his parental decision-making rights Friday for refusing to allow doctors at CHEO to proceed with chemotherapy treatment for his 18-month-old son’s leukemia.
The man can’t be named because the case is being handled by Children’s Aid.
He claims the hospital hasn’t provided him with enough written evidence of his son’s condition and isn’t receptive to his desire for alternative treatment options — namely cannabis oil.
Initially, he says, both he and his wife were against chemotherapy as an option. However, his wife signed off on the treatment just ahead of his court appearance.
“I told her she was dead to me,” said the 23-year-old, easily overcome with emotion.
“I’m kind of really mad at her, but I understand why she did what she did.”
At the court appearance, the father was given until Sept. 29 to come up with a convincing argument for why the hospital should consider cannabis oil as a treatment option for his son.
Until then, he can stay in contact with his wife — and even visit his son in hospital — he’s just not allowed to have a say in what happens.
“That was the court’s decision. They removed all of my rights, but because my wife was willing to go along with chemotherapy, at the last minute, she’s still allowed to see my kid,” he said.
He has now secured support from Canadian Medical Cannabis Partners, whose executive director Jennifer Collett is helping him with his case.
“Chemo is being forced on the parents and child,” she said Friday.
“This is his fourth day in hospital and the family was informed of the diagnosis and ordered to comply or lose their child.”
Collett said all the parents are asking is for time to make “an educated decision.”
She believes the decision for a child’s medical care should rest with the parents.
The little boy was first admitted to hospital Tuesday.
Test results were ready by Wednesday which confirmed he had leukemia. According to the father, since his wife signed off on the treatment, it has already begun.
The father, convinced cannabis oil will save his son’s life, said he plans to make placards and demonstrate at Parliament Hill.
“My hope is that on the 29th, they’re going to see that this oil is going to save my son’s life and they’re going to let him take it and they’re going to stop the chemo,” he said.
CHEO representatives were unable to be reached for comment by deadline.