Saturday, 2:15 PM
Saugus woman allegedly failed to get crucial care for her child
By John R. Ellement, Globe Staff
The father of an eight-year-old Saugus boy said today that he has ended all medical treatment for his autistic son so he can die peacefully, a move made after the boy's mother allegedly failed to get life-saving cancer treatment for the child.
"He's in remission, but he's declining,'' Eric Fraser said of his son, Jeremy, who he held in his arms while speaking with reporters today in Peabody.
Fraser said he has called in hospice assistance and decided against trying chemotherapy or any other treatment to keep his son alive. He said his son was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2006. With treatment, the boy had a high chance of surviving, in the high 80s to low 90s.
But, according to Fraser and Salem police, the boy's mother, Kristen LaBrie, allegedly failed to get her son the proper medical treatment, changing the child's fate from one who had a chance of survival to one where doctors have told Fraser to make his son comfortable in his final days.
LaBrie was arraigned Monday in Salem District Court where she pleaded not guilty to one count of child endangerment. She was released on personal recognizance and could not be reached for comment today.
In a police report filed in court, Salem police detectives said the child had an 85 to 90 percent survival rate when first diagnosed. He was to get five stages of chemotherapy at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and at home, which was to be administered by LaBrie, police said.
Police said in the report that LaBrie changed her son's appointments a dozen times, failed to administer medication, failed to pick up medications at the drug store and, as a result, "his cancer has returned quicker and stronger.''
Fraser said he could not co-parent with his former wife and that tensions grew so high he withdrew from directly caring for his son, fearing that continued contact with LaBrie would end with him facing criminal charges. He said he continued to pay child support but did not see his son from early 2007 until December 2007.
In mid-February, the child's doctors at MGH intervened after seeing the boy's medical condition had declined, Fraser and police said.
He said he does not know why LaBrie allegedly failed to get life-saving care for her own child.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Social Services said the agency was involved with the family in 2005, but closed the case. DSS again became involved this February after MGH acted, the spokeswoman said.