Circuit Court Judge Thomas Solka has dismissed the State of Michigan's petition to force the parents of 11-year-old Jacob Stieler of Skandia to resume chemotherapy for the boy.
A jury trial in the case had been scheduled to start on January 10 of next year.
Jacob has been diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, but recent PET scans came back clear. His parents, Erin and Kenneth Stieler, insist that he doesn't need further chemotherapy for now, but the boy's primary pediatric oncologist, Dr. Beth Kurt, testified that Jacob still has cancer cells.
"There is a very big potential for relapse," testified Dr. Kurt. "And if he relapses in another bone, in his lungs, in someplace else, this survival is dismal. It's abysmal."
Nevertheless, Judge Solka, in his ruling, wrote, "The court concludes, as a matter of law, that Jacob's parents have not been negligent in making decisions about his (Jacob's) course of treatment." He further stated that the parents had initially followed the instructions of the doctors and saw, firsthand, the side effects of chemotherapy on Jacob.
Judge Solka further wrote: "The court is not making a finding that Jacob does not have cancer. A second opinion of a pediatric oncologist on additional treatment would be reasonable and should be considered by the parents...
"These decisions are better made in a clinical setting without resort to the courts. This is a physician-patient issue. The court should become involved only if an impasse is reached. The court does not find such an impasse here that the state should intervene and the family subjected to the rigors and uncertain outcome of a jury trial."
We asked our Facebook fans what they thought about the ruling by Judge Solka, and here is what they had to say:
"Best Christmas present ever! Thank you Judge Solka!" - Heidi Anne Bray.
"Thank goodness! It's about time a judge in this country had some common sense! Merry Christmas to the Stieler family! God Bless!" - Leanne Swan.
"Best news I've heard all day!" - Deena Christal Barnhart.