Oshin Kisko, a six year old Perth boy suffering brain cancer, will no longer undergo forced radiotherapy treatment previously ordered by the Family Court of Western Australia.
In March, the Court ruled that Oshin undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy against the wishes of his parents. Oshin's parents did not want him to suffer the side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, they instead wished to take Oshin overseas to receive alternative palliative therapies. (See our previous article on this topic.)
Unfortunately, the court-ordered chemotherapy treatment had only had a small impact on Oshin's brain tumour and the disease. As a result, medical opinions differed as to whether radiotherapy was the best treatment for Oshin.
In late May, Judge Thackray stated that Oshin's chances of survival had now "reduced significantly from what they might have been" before the chemotherapy and, as a result, he wanted to spare Oshin further psychological distress of radiotherapy treatment.
Judge Thackray adjourned the hospital's application to enforce radiation therapy, instead of dismissing it. This was done in case Oshin's circumstances change and further treatment is later deemed necessary. It is understood that unless any party requests a relisting of the case, no further decision on compulsory treatment will be made.
The adjournment of the case has meant Oshin will only have to complete the previously enforced chemotherapy.
Family & Relationship Law Special Counsel Rachell Davey said, "Once again, this decision invoked the Court's 'welfare jurisdiction', where orders relating to a child's welfare can be made where it is in the child's best interests, even in circumstances where this may be contrary the wishes of the child's parents.
"This decision on Oshin's radiotherapy clearly demonstrates that cases involving medical treatment of children will be determined depending on what is best for each child in their specific circumstances. Cases of this nature are, however, by no means inflexible. Matters may return to court if further intervention is necessary.
"Despite the fact that Oshin will not be forced to undergo radiotherapy, parents should be aware that although they may consider their decisions to be in the best interests of their child, there are limits to parental decision making and responsibility."