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New Developments in Parker Jensen Case
Aired September 5, 2003 - 19:42 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Some new developments tonight to tell you about in that court case involving a Utah couple who had refused to turn their son over for court-ordered cancer treatment. Frank Buckley is standing by with the story. Frank, what's the latest?
FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, we just learned a few moments ago that an agreement has been reached in the case and that the parents have regained custody of their 12-year-old son Parker Jensen, after a status hearing before judge Robert Yates (ph). Under the agreement, a doctor will provide a diagnosis on Parker's condition. If he agrees with three previous diagnoses, that Parker has a rare cancer, called Ewing sarcoma, that parents say they will go along with whatever course of treatment is recommended.
All this comes after a battle between the parents, the state of Utah and local officials over who should decide what course of treatment is best for 12-year-old Parker Jensen.
BUCKLEY (voice-over): The battle between Utah officials and the parents of 12-year-old Parker Jensen began soon after Parker was diagnosed with a rare cancer in May. After surgery to remove a tumor, Utah officials insisted the boy receive the chemotherapy recommended by doctors. Parker's court-appointed guardian attorney said without treatment, he could die.
MOLLIE MCDONALD, COURT-APPOINTED GUARDIAN: I do feel like he is being subjected to medical neglect by this delay in treatment.
BUCKLEY: Parker's parents said they wanted assurance that the diagnosis was correct.
DAREN JENSEN, PARKER'S FATHER: Getting a confirmed diagnosis and not a suggestive one on Parker's condition.
BUCKLEY: Arrest and custody warrants were issued against Parker's parents, when they left Utah and refused to allow the treatment.
On Thursday, hundreds gathered at Utah state capitol to rally support for the Jensens and for parents' rights.
ROBERT JENSEN, PARKER'S GRANDFATHER: We have our rights to govern our children as we have been taught by our parents and our grandparents.
BUCKLEY: Now, after days of negotiations between the parents and state officials, Parker's parents have agreed to submit the boy for testing and treatment by a board-certified pediatric oncologist, according to a spokesman for Utah's attorney general's office. The physician to be chosen by the parents.
CAROL SISCO, UTAH DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES: All parties feel it's a very positive proposal.
BUCKLEY: Still to be determined, will Parker's parents be tried for kidnapping, for taking their son out of state and away from treatment?
BUCKLEY: And the prosecutor handling the kidnapping charges against the parents told me earlier today that the district attorney's office has told the Jensens' attorney that the parents will not be taken into custody while Parker is being treated. But once the treatment is complete, they will have to face those kidnapping charges. There is a possibility that those charges could be reduced or even dropped, but that decision has not yet been made -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Frank Buckley, thanks very much for the update.
Joining us now -- I'm sorry. We are about to be joined by a spokesman for Utah's Child and Family Services. We just lost her. We hope to get her back. We'll take a short break and try to get her back when we return.
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