Just days after Oshin Kiszko returned home after court ordered chemotherapy his parents are facing a new battle.
Angela Kiszko and Adrian Strachan are back in court after refusing to allow Oshin to undergo radiotherapy – a treatment they say will give him “horrific, long-term side effects” but some doctors say may give him the best chance at a cure.
Oshin Kiszko, 6, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour in December. His parents went public with their decision to oppose the treatment recommended by doctors due to the side effects but earlier this year a court ordered Oshin to receive chemotherapy.
With his family by his side he has been received oral chemotherapy and just five days ago he went home.
Oshin, while in hospital. Via Go Fund Me.
But the family are now facing the prospect of him returning to hospital as they fight for their right to refuse radiotherapy for their son.
Yesterday Family Court Chief Judge Stephen Thackray considered eight hours of evidence on whether Oshin should also be given radiation as desired by his medical team at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Perth.
Justice Thackray heard evidence from a doctor who said that while Oshin's cancer had shown signs of receding, it was a partial response and not sufficient for chemotherapy to be effective on its own.
"In my opinion, it [radiation] is the only viable curative strategy," the doctor said.
"If our aim is to cure, that's what it's going to take, I'm afraid."
He said if high-dose radiation commenced immediately Oshin was estimated to have a 30-40 per cent chance of the five-year survival. Without radiotherapy, he had perhaps six months to live.
Oshin Kiszko with his family. Via Facebook.
The barrister representing Oshin's parents, Andrew Skerritt, told the court his clients were willing to go ahead with more chemotherapy but they still opposed radiation due to the long-term side effects, including reduced cognitive ability.
The doctor from PMH said medicine was not “black and white” and treatment decisions required an assessment of "quality of life versus life per se".
"It does boil down to some value judgements," the doctor said.
"We will not cure Oshin without radiation."
The doctor outlined the long-term side effects of radiotherapy in young children, including stunted growth, hearing problems and cognitive deficits.
He said in his opinion, Oshin would live up to a year with palliative chemotherapy.
"I would expect it would slow it down to some extent," he said.
"The odds are stacked against Oshin, yes."
The court heard there were differing medical opinions about the best treatment for Oshin, but at least one reputable expert agreed the parents' actions were reasonable.
Oshin has recently retuned home. Via Go Fund Me
Last month Angela Kiszko, Oshin’s mother told 60 Minutes the thought of putting her son through chemotherapy and radiotherapy made her sick.