I met Parker Jensen’s family nearly a decade ago when Parker was told he had Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare but deadly cancer of the bone/soft tissues. Parker’s grandfather was a holistic healer and chiropractor, and Parker’s parents are educated and tenacious about protecting and caring for their five children.
I met the family because I published my fury in all the Utah papers, as a guest editorialist, when the State of Utah swooped in to try to take custody of Parker from his parents when they got on a plane to get a true “second opinion” at the Burzynski Clinic in Houston, and the State of Utah’s Attorney General Mark Shurtleff legally blocked them from going to Texas!
My home state actually sent a helicopter to pick Daren up in Idaho because he dared to leave Utah with Parker after Primary Children’s Medical Center demanded he undergo 11 months of chemotherapy immediately. They were told they had to have a needle in Parker’s arm Aug. 8. If not, they’d have an evidentiary hearing. On Aug. 12, they took the kids to Idaho to drop them off so Daren, Barbara, and Parker could go to the Burzynski Clinic in Houston for a true second opinion and other treatment options.
The doctor and the Attorney General went to the D.A. and lied to them to obtain warrants for Parker and both his parents. They were then blocked by the A.G. from going to Burzynski, and the clinic in Houston was informed that they were to turn the Jensens in to the authorities if they arrived.
Daron, an IT executive, was arrested and briefly went to jail in Idaho. Wore an orange jumpsuit and ate off a plastic tray.
Thank goodness Daren and Barbara Jensen listened to their own research, intuition, and anxiety about the very dubious diagnosis. (A lab in Washington had called the flap of skin removed by a dentist from Parker’s mouth and called it “probable” Ewing’s Sarcoma.)
Because Parker is now 22 years old and never got sick. He just returned from an LDS mission in Chile. He mostly likely never had Ewing’s sarcoma. If he did, it was quickly corrected with the holistic treatments the Jensens sought for their son, working with a preeminent doctor in Austria.
Parker never underwent chemo, radiation, or surgeries, and his family is thankful for that, since Parker is now an adult and will have the opportunity to have children, which he would not have had if treated by chemo and radiation—that is, if he even survived 11 months of it. On Tuesday of this week, Parker opened the 2012 session of the Utah State legislature.
Our attorney general, Mark Shurtleff, loudly denounced the family’s neglect to international news outlets even though he lived in their neighborhood and never took the time to meet with them and learn their side of the story. I watched the way Mr. Shurtleff handled this and another case I was involved with, and my respect for him plumetted. I met with Attorney General Shurtleff twice and in so doing, gained no more faith in him or his office’s interest in learning the truth and doing what’s right in these cases. (I also had to request a meeting with him 17 times.) They seemed intent on CYA rather than the plight of these kids and parents in the sights of the state of Utah.
Worse, Daron and Barbara Jensen spent 7 years fighting in court to recoup the hundreds of thousands of dollars they lost in earnings and legal fees during the fight. They sued Utah to uphold the rights of parents to determine medical choices. Last year, they lost in the Utah Supreme Court.
I also once spoke with Ed Wernecke on the phone, whose daughter Katie made national news, refusing a second round of chemo for her Hodgkin’s Disease. Ed was arrested and harassed and Katie was taken from her family by the state, in Texas, and forced into more chemotherapy. (If any of my Texas friends can point me to Ed or get me updated on Katie, I would appreciate it. My phone numbers are obsolete.)
Abraham Cherrix won his petition likely because he was 16 and old enough to make his wishes known.
The State of Utah finally abandoned trying to force Parker into chemo, thanks only to the tenacity of Parker’s father.