Utah Supreme Court rules no 'flagrant violation' of family's rights in Parker Jensen case

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  • Andersonsue Salt Lake City, UT
    March 31, 2011 8:52 a.m.

    DCFS is an evil entity and needs to be sued.

  • snowman Provo, UT
    March 31, 2011 8:29 a.m.

    Parkers parents did the right thing. If the doctor that treated him was so right why did he leave the country? Parents have the right to seek medical help for their kids anywhere they want. Parents and children have the right to refuse medical care.

  • sassyandi Fort Collins, Colorado
    March 30, 2011 4:33 p.m.

    My nephew died from a terrible blood clot to his liver from having chemo therapy when he was 27 years old. He did NOT die from the cancer itself! Why is it that deaths FROM chemo are so rarely reported, and why is it that this brutal form of "medical care" has gained superior preference for treatment in the medical community when it's final outcome is so often the actual (unreported) CAUSE of death? MANY people die from commonly accepted treatments for cancer. Millions of children are forced to endure the horrors of this "legal torture" which to me, this is the crime. If you had a child with cancer and an alternative treatment that was effective AND humane was offered, wouldn't you as a loving parent choose the more humane treatment for your own child? Government organizations dictate medical practices in this country and they will not even consider effective alternatives to chemo or radiation, even when solid proof is presented to show that it is effective. I doubt very much that most medical professionals would choose the commonly accepted, barbaric means of cancer treatments for themselves or their children if the tables were turned.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    March 30, 2011 1:20 p.m.

    Time has proven the Jensen's right and the doctors and DCFS wrong. DCFS over-reacted and should have to pay. The fact that he is cancer free and cleared to serva mission should tell you something. The Church doesn't let kids serve a full time mission who are health risks. If they cleared him, they obviously don't have any problem with his current health status.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 30, 2011 10:36 a.m.

    It's been said that pretty soon the Government will be able to take your kids away if you don't give them the government recommended vitamins, or eat foods with transfats, or let your kid eat a happy-meal once in awhile.

    The nanny-state is growing stronger and stronger (at the request of those who chose not to police themselves).

  • Considering Stockton, UT
    March 30, 2011 9:26 a.m.

    "The Jensens had full due process under law in all proceedings."

    It seems that "full due process" includes the State appointing a Guardian ad Litem to represent the best interests of the 12 year old boy against his parents. This Guardian NEVER even spoke with Parker to ask him his wishes or to assess his level of understanding of the situation and his options.

    The Guardian was a never married person with no children. The Guardian may well have held different religious beliefs and views than does Parker and may well have been overtly hostile to his and his family's religious beliefs. I've not seen anything to suggest that the Guardian ever spoke with Parker's religious advisers or other close family friends to attempt to determine what might actually be in Parker's best interest.

    Instead, a State funded attorney argued from her PERSONAL beliefs what was in Parker's best interest. Meanwhile, the parents were paying for an attorney out of pocket in an attempt to even have their values represented. And who is actually attempting to represent the TRUE interests of a 12 year old faced with lifetime disability?

    Due process? INDEED!

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    March 30, 2011 8:12 a.m.

    All these people claiming the State attempted to take away their rights. Imagine if DFCM took that kid from Layton out of his home before his mother and step father beat him to death a year ago.
    DFCM was simply doing their job, attempting to protect the child, based on a doctor's recommendation.
    The Jensen's decisions have put them at a horrible financial situation. Was it their greed? Anger? Whatever it was that fueled this, they are wrong and did not deserve to win anything.

  • MisTexas Reisterstown, MD
    March 30, 2011 7:38 a.m.

    Doctors are put on this almighty pedestal, and most believe they can make no mistake. If you have 10 months of school or 10 years of school, you are still just a person who WILL make mistakes.

  • SUNNY ALL DAY Saint George, UT
    March 29, 2011 10:30 p.m.

    The Utah Supreme Court has 4 Republican Judges and 1 Democratic Judge.

    This case must be an example of Activist Judicial Over-Reach.


  • Why Not? West Jordan, Ut
    March 29, 2011 10:00 p.m.

    I've had enough of this family and this case. This young man is strong and healthy and serving a mission in Chile. Enjoy your son, and enjoy your lives. Stop tying up the courts with this case and count your blessings. It's time to let go of this and realize how lucky you are.

  • My_Comments Salt Lake City, UT
    March 29, 2011 9:47 p.m.

    This ruling is consistent with the parens patria legal doctrine that the state is the parent. It is a near certainty that the parents dutifully and ignorantly went down and obtained a license to marry. A license is government permission to do something that would otherwise be unlawful. A marriage license grants the state the position of being a superior party of interest in the marriage since they granted it into existence and they are entitled to the fruits of the contract (children). This is well settled legal doctrine in family law courts across the nation.

    If however they parents had married under their unalienable right to marry [see Supreme Court case Meister v. Moore 96 U.S. 76 (1877)] the outcome of this case could have been very different.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    March 29, 2011 9:39 p.m.

    DCFS needs to exist, because the almost unlimited powers of ownership of a child that we seem to want parents to have comes with no more of a test than the ability to procreate. Lots of kids die at the hands of their parents every year to prove the test isn't stringent enough.

  • slgs5aggie Cedar City, UT
    March 29, 2011 9:23 p.m.

    This ruling should worry and scare every single parent in the state of Utah, and should cause enough reason to get people working towards removing the judge from the bench.

  • freedomforthepeople Sandy, UT
    March 29, 2011 9:04 p.m.

    We need our state legislature to pass a law prohibiting the government from doing anything against a parental decision in health care unless it rises to the level of criminal neglect or abuse. We have plenty of laws on the books that guide our prosecutors in these arenas.

    The Dr. should have filed his complaint, which exonerated him from any responsibility, and it should have stopped there. Then, the family should have been allowed to make their decisions. The outcome would determine the next step. If Parker had died, the prosecutors should have determined if it was criminal neglect or abuse. He didn't die, so it would have ended there.

    If a family does something (or fails to do something) that the prosecutors believe rises to the level of criminal neglect, let the case be brought by the prosecutors and let them try it in a jury court. If not, parents must be left to make decisions for their minor children. Sometimes they will be the exact right ones, sometimes they won't, sometimes it will be impossible to tell. But rarely are those decisions criminal neglect.

  • Atlas Colorado Springs, CO
    March 29, 2011 8:56 p.m.

    Get the government out of our lives.

  • Honest Abe Salt Lake City, UT
    March 29, 2011 8:14 p.m.

    I knew an attorney whose job it was to defend criminals in court. I asked him how he possibly could live with himself, knowing that by one technicality or another, he was helping them receive lesser sentences or even freedom. His response to me was thought provoking. He said his job, in reality, was keeping police officers and government honest and responsible as it relates to law.

    In the Jensen's case, monumental errors were made with government. Rather than acepting responsibility, the Supreme Court today, in my opinion, gave the DCFS and medical physicians a free pass, not holding them accountable or honest in their role to protect children.

  • Charles History Tooele, UT
    March 29, 2011 7:25 p.m.

    Do not forget there are many parents that abuse their children, (education neglect, torture, drugs, and child porn just to name a few).
    We cut the budgets of our state child services and then we wonder why these things occur.


    Re: "Considering" 5:18 pm
    There is a big difference between children and a zygote or a embryo?
    Children should all have the right, to health care, food, safety and education!
    But conservatives will try to protect a mass of cells and spend millions of dollars in their efforts. In the process will cut the budgets of children that suffer in a abuse and neglect.

  • runwasatch Ogden, UT
    March 29, 2011 7:21 p.m.

    I am wondering: where do parent's rights to determine what is best for their children trump the state's obligation to protect its citizens?

    1. If medically untrained parent's decide to forego medical treatment deemed urgent by trained medical specialists...who prevails?

    2. If educationally deficient parents decide to forego formal education for their children while the trained education specialists urge otherwise...who prevails? Why different

    3. If, for religious reasons, a medically untrained family prevents medical treatment for their child that the medical professionals deem necessary...who prevails and is this a different situation than this case?

    4. What if a family, exercising their right (that many of you are sure is so sacred) to decide what is best for their children, take great medical, temporal, emotional, and educational care of their children, but belive it in the children's best interest to be married at the age of 15? Who prevails now? Is your answer different to this scenario than the first three? Why?

    Are you willing to trump the early marriage parent but not the medical denial parent?

    It is not as crystal clear and easy as many of you are making it to be

  • Where do eggs come from Sandy, Ut
    March 29, 2011 7:09 p.m.

    "The decision establishes that University of Utah physicians had Parker Jensens best interests in mind in the care they recommended and provided," spokeswoman Kathy Wilets.

    The above quote may be correct but it is also correct that Parker Jensen's Parents had his best interest in mind and time has proven that they were correct. The issue here is who had the right to make the decision in Parker's case. The answer is clear and that is the Parents. This is a sad day for Utah, America, Freedom and Justice.

    I assure you that there is a higher Judge that will rule in this case and when he does there will be more than seven defendants.

  • three11stu Saratoga Springs, UT
    March 29, 2011 7:06 p.m.

    How about we get rid of DCFS all together and just let children being abused fend for themselves. Because, as you all say, parents have a right to govern their children, right?

  • II Las Vegas, NV
    March 29, 2011 6:55 p.m.

    I'm a surgeon, a graduate of the U. DCFS and others associated with this flagrant attempt to hijack the Jensen's parental rights were way out of line.

  • justaguy Out There in, WI
    March 29, 2011 6:48 p.m.

    I think the saddest part of this is the financial burden this family has had to endure to retain their right to direct their child's treatment. All too often medical proffessionals forget they are merely the technical experts, not the decision makers.

  • DrGroovey Salt Lake City, UT
    March 29, 2011 6:39 p.m.

    People are forgetting the basic facts of the case:

    1) The Jensens got four separate medical opinions, including one from a homeopathic practitioner, that all agreed on the needed treatment. The Jensens were able to choose several of those doctors.
    2) The Jensens had full due process under law in all proceedings. They and their attorney were part of the entire process, until they decided to defy the court and flee the state.
    3) It was the medical doctors, not DCFS, who made the claim that Parker's life was in danger without appropriate medical care. DCFS is mandated by law to take such situations to the courts.
    4)The Jensens repeatedly lied to DCFS and the Court. They might feel justified in doing so, but it doesn't make them very credible.

    The sad fact is that DCFS exists because some parents make very bad decisions regarding their children. Children are beaten, molested, starved, and tortured everyday in Utah. Endangering a child's life by refusing medical care is a form of abuse. The right of the child to live healthily outweighs a parent's right to be neglectful and abusive.

  • Glock Diva Orem, UT
    March 29, 2011 6:27 p.m.

    Honestly, I don't know to remain civil in this instances. I simply cannot see my way clear to join in the courts ruling. This is indeed a day of tragedy in our nation's Judicial System. I cannot fathom that any other parent would not feel the same way as the Jensens if they too had to undergo the same horrific nightmare that this family did. DCFS needs to be restrained significantly as does the medical association.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    March 29, 2011 6:22 p.m.

    They didn't deserve anything. There were no damages, the risk for the cancer was too great for the State to ignore.
    Once again the activist, conservative judges made the correct call.

  • county mom Monroe, UT
    March 29, 2011 6:07 p.m.

    I am having a real hard time with this court decision. I have not read the particulars of the court. I struggle with the state or any government entity thinking they are better at taking care of children then the childs parents.
    I have had a child who was given a wrong diagnosis and was threatened by the doctor that he would call DCFS if I didn't continue with the treatment he recomended. I took my child to another doctor for the same symptoms(not sharing with him what the first doctor said) got a different diagnosis and treatment opptions. I went to a third doctor and got the same answer as the second doctor. Why did the Jensen's not do this? Not all oppinions from the doctors under the same roof, but under different practices and in different places? A more informed descision can be made this way. And don't tell me they didn't have the money, we do whatever we have to to save our children. Like they did.

  • Ralph1 Ogden, Ut
    March 29, 2011 5:58 p.m.

    I certainly hope this ruling is appealed. As a public person, I am ashamed that my taxes are destroying financially a family who chose with good study to go another direction for treatment for their son. This family has certainly had a horrible injustice served to them with this ruling. I hope the Parkers can manage after this blow. I'm so sick of the government getting too deep into our lives. This is a sign of definitely going to far, and the government went way too far in this case.

    Good luck in your future Parkers!

  • NoBoxScot Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 29, 2011 5:53 p.m.

    What about parents who make treatment decisions that are clearly detrimental to a childs health? As some would say was the case here (I do not). The child obesity/diabetes pandemic in this country is clearly uninformed parents feeding their kids processed junk food; but seems widely acceptable and encouraged by commercial after commercial on TV. Yet you don't see them getting dragged into court and reported to CPS.
    The Cancer Indu$try seems particulaly protective of the statis quo of cut, burn, and poison as simpler cures (ops, nasty word) would be a major threat to a very lucrative business. You question the system and they are out to get you (or the Jensen's). I am very pleased to hear Parker is doing well in spite of our sick-care system! I think a few hundred thousand less for cancer research should go to the Jensen's for the flagrant violation of their rights!

  • BYU>utah California, CA
    March 29, 2011 5:52 p.m.

    The Jensens are heroes and the state of Utah is a zero. How pathetic!! No chemotherapy and he lived and he's serving a mission. It sure looks like the Jensens knew what was best for their son. It also makes the state look incompetent, but then again government equals incompetency.

  • Doctor Tucson, AZ
    March 29, 2011 5:20 p.m.

    2 Bits-Absolutely wrong. The doctor in Houston was never consulted. he didn't trreat this type of cancer and would not have accepted the boy as a patient. The parents were into holistic medicine and that's what this specialist in Houston was doing. They only had enough tissue for one test but that test was reviewed and all agreed he had a rare cancer. These parents are very lucky their son is alive. DMN, before you decline to post this read your archives for its accuracy.

  • Considering Stockton, UT
    March 29, 2011 5:18 p.m.

    If this case does not rise to the level of "flagrant violation" of parental and familial and even personal rights, then we need to change our law.

    I haven't read the decision. As "We the People" points out, this could be a proper application of current law. If it is, we need to change the law to reflect the obvious community standards and sentiment that says parents and even many children younger than 18 need to have a LOT more latitude in deciding whether or which medical treatment to accept.

    If the law already expresses these sentiments and this case was very poorly and wrongly decided, then we need to see these judges impeached or removed by the voters at the next retention election.

    For a government that allows a woman to unilaterally terminate the life of her unborn child for no other reason than not wanting to be pregnant to then turn around and remove ALL personal and parental choice from a mentally competent 12 year old and his parents in a case where treatment side effects are viewed as worse than the disease by many is beyond shockingly hypocritical.

  • gizmo33 St. George, Utah
    March 29, 2011 5:06 p.m.

    well atleast the State of Utah did not get their way. isnt this what we went to war for in WW2 ? I guess the politicians in Utah think the freedoms only apply to people whenever the state feels like letting them have it. isnt that why we are in Iraq and Aghanistan and isnt this the reason why there is a no fly zone in Lybia ? what part of the U.S constitution does the state of Utah not understand about freedom ? this is America not some communist country the goverment need to stay out of our lives and remember they work for us - not the other way around

  • Dodge Phoenix, AZ
    March 29, 2011 5:01 p.m.

    This makes me sick! How dare anybody representing a state step in and try to take away a family's RIGHT to make personal medical decisions!!!! Medical attention cannot be FORCED on anybody. It reeks. This family should start sueing.

  • Fitness Freak Salt Lake City, UT
    March 29, 2011 5:00 p.m.

    Those of you who remember the full details of this case are probably as shocked as I am.
    If there was EVER a case that the state of Utah should have had to pay out on its this one.
    Those of you who have ever had any sort of interaction with DCFS know: with them, you're guilty unless and until you can prove your innocence!

    DCFS always has been out of control, now the courts have given them a rubber stamp of approval!

  • Cato the Elder Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 29, 2011 5:00 p.m.

    "Karra Porter, attorney for the Jensen family, said Tuesday that what the family really wanted was for their story to be heard by a jury."

    I realize that an attorney may try to spin a loss, but isn't this laughably false on its face, given that they 1) asked for monetary damages; and 2) appealed this all the way to the Supreme Court?

  • vinman Payson, UT
    March 29, 2011 4:43 p.m.

    The difference should be this. When a sure death will result (witholding first aid or a blood transfusion or life saving surgery) and the results are without doubt, then the state should have the right to force the action on children who are not old-enough to understand their parents action or inaction. A twelve year old is old enough to make this decision. As shown by psycologists, an 11 year old is not. Parents should have a say and thusly the child may reject help based on Parent child relationships in these older children. But that is the need for a border line. Anything else would be intrusion into family decisions which are neither wanted nor warranted.

  • three11stu Saratoga Springs, UT
    March 29, 2011 4:42 p.m.

    What if you had a child that required the use of a feeding tube, but you didn't believe in feeding tubes, and believed that they would somehow get the nurishment they needed, and then that child died? What if your child was injured and as a result got a serious infection that was left untreated because the parents didn't believe in treatment, and it kept getting worse? What about a kid who has teeth that are rotting because a parent does not believe in brushing teeth or seeing dentists, and the child ended up losing all of their teeth?

  • Sego Lilly Salt Lake City, UT
    March 29, 2011 4:39 p.m.

    Sounds like the Doctors gave only one option for treatment without the pros and cons. I studied a little medical law and I know that you don't tell a patient - we are going to try this treatment first and see what happens. By law they are to give the pros and cons of each type of treatment availible and let you decide what you are at that time comfortable with.

    This type of medical neglect is quite common when treating the elderly also.

    Parents - do your research and don't take what the doctor says as the only way.

  • Go Big Blue!!! Bountiful, UT
    March 29, 2011 4:37 p.m.

    It is a difficult situation. How different would it have been had Parker died of cancer?

    A neighbor had a daughter that came down with lukemia. The father didn't trust doctors and almost kept his daughter from receiving treatment. In the end the girl was treated and 10 years later she is cancer free. Without treatment she wouldn't have survived.

    Parents right need to be protected but so do children's rights. You hope those rights are not in conflict.

  • We the People Sandy, UT
    March 29, 2011 4:29 p.m.

    We should refrain from cheering or hating a judicial decision based solely on the result. We need to read the decision and determine whether the court properly applied the law. Sometimes, we can hate a result, but like the decision. (I feel this way about many 1st Amendment cases).

    In this case, I hate the result and the decision.

    As Hellooo stated, I really think that the Utah Supreme Court absolved all future state and government actors from liability in similar cases.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 29, 2011 4:24 p.m.

    If this isn't a flagrant violation of the parent's and the child's rights... I don't know what is. Since when can the government FORCE you to endure a medical procedure you don't want? Especially when the doctors involved in the case weren't in agreement? The article fails to mention that they had been to Texas to see a specialist and he said chemo wasn't required... but the Utah doctors wouldn't accept his diagnosis and recommendations.

    I guess there's no such thing as Criminal ARROGANCE... or the Utah Doctors and DFS workers would surely be found guilty.

  • Paul H West Valley, UT
    March 29, 2011 4:18 p.m.

    The Jensen family are heroes of anyone who believes that parents have the right to determine what is best for their own children. This court decision is a slap in the face to freedom and an encouragement to DCFS to continue business as usual.

  • Hellooo Salt Lake City, UT
    March 29, 2011 3:22 p.m.

    It would be nice to know if this was not a flagrant violation, then what would be. Making the parents into fugitives from the state in order to protect their son from treatment based on a mis-diagnosis and then the child protective service and attorney general's office cocluding with the MD. Really what is a flagrant violation of parental rights?