Makayla Sault was 11 years old. She was diagnosed with leukemia in 2014 and started chemotherapy treatments at the McMaster’s Children Hospital in Hamilton. The doctors had given her a 75% chance of recovery based on the chemo treatments being successful. Unfortunately, Makayla had difficulty dealing with the painful treatments; her family stated that “chemotherapy did irreversible damage to her heart and major organs.”
Makayla told her family she had a dream that Jesus was in the hospital. She also wrote a letter to her doctors saying, “I am writing this letter to tell you that this chemo is killing my body.” Her parents then decided to stop the chemotherapy and consider traditional medicines, and as a result, the hospital called in Children’s Aid. Andrew Koster, director of the Brant Children’s Aid Society, sided with family and closed the investigation. “For us to take her away, to apprehend and place her in a home with strangers if there aren’t any relatives, when she’s very, very ill,” Koster told the CBC. “I can’t see how that would be helpful.”
Perhaps Koster was right, but then again, he was skeptical of the term traditional medicine and his skepticism would prove well founded. “I think people much more knowledgeable than ourselves need to be involved to look at what types of traditional medicines are being used; how does it [compare] to some of the chemo treatments.” The term “traditional medicine” should mean going back to Native cures. Echinacea is a traditional medicine that is found in every drug store today to prevent colds. Makayla’s parents didn’t seek out an Aboriginal healer; instead they brought their daughter to the Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida. President Brian Clement is not a licensed doctor, nor does he have a degree in holistic medicine. Clement is currently being sued by his former staff for running a scam. And, yes he does prescribe raw vegetables, which at one time were part of an Aboriginal traditional diet, but that’s about as close as it gets with the Hippocrates Health Institute.
Makayla unfortunately is not the only Native child who went to the Hippocrates Health Institute. Another 11-year-old Native girl with leukemia is presently under care at the institute. She cannot be identified because of a publication ban, but she also stopped her chemo treatments. The hospital were willing to go to court in order to continue the child’s chemotherapy. “This child has a life threatening illness and without proper treatment will not survive,” a spokesman for the hospital said, but the judge agreed with the parents. The term “traditional medicine” was used without the court checking out what medicines they were using.
“It’s going to set a precedent on the rights of parents and also on the question of which piece of legislation governs: the Child and Family Services Act or legislation governing the Health Capacity and Consent Board,” Family law professor Nicholas Bala told the media.
The parents of Makayla are convinced the chemo treatments were responsible for the stroke that killed their daughter and Hippocrates Health Institute is not responsible. “Surrounded by the love and support of her family, her community, and her nation. Makayla completed her course. She is now safely in the hands of Jesus.”