Yuri Owens' battle with cancer is over.
The 8-year-old Highland boy, who became the subject of a court battle when his divorced parents could not agree on how to treat his deadly disease, died at his mother's home at 1 a.m. Friday.In July of last year, doctors at Primary Children's Medical Center diagnosed Yuri as suffering from osteogenic sarcoma, a rare bone cancer.
In the following months Yuri's parents, Trudy Olcott, Highland, and Jerry Owens, Midway, Wasatch County, differed on how to treat the disease. They had joint custody over Yuri.
Olcott wanted Yuri to be treated as recommended by doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Doctors there recommended amputating his arm and shoulder, the area infected by an 8-inch tumor, and treating the disease with chemotherapy. Even with the treatment, Yuri's chances of survival were slim.
Owens wanted Yuri to be treated with non-traditional diet and medication techniques under the direction of Dr. Lawrence Taylor of San Diego, Calif. In early March, Olcott and Owens agreed to allow Taylor to treat Yuri's disease for three weeks.
After deciding Taylor's treatment was not effective, Olcott asked 4th District Judge George E. Ballif to determine what treatment Yuri would receive. During a March 19 hearing, an emotional Ballif ordered Yuri taken immediately to Primary Children's Medical Center to determine whether he could undergo surgery. Doctors there sent Yuri home, saying he was too sick to survive surgery. Yuri spent the past two weeks on a morphine pump to reduce pain.
Even though Olcott and Owens disagreed on Yuri's treatment, both cared for him in his last days and were at his side when he died.
"Both parents had kind of worked things out and Jerry was staying at Trudy's home to help take care of him. They were both there when he died," said Randy Kester, Olcott's attorney.
"It is a real saddening situation and was one of the most difficult cases I have ever had because Yuri was such a neat kid. But in a way it's also kind of a blessing in disguise because the poor boy was suffering so much. Right now I think the parents are feeling the loss of their son, but in a few weeks I think a little relief will set in," Kester said.
Funeral arrangements are pending and will likely be announced by the family Saturday.