Fight over child leukemia treatment heads to court as parents oppose chemo

A parents fight over cancer treatment for their young son headed into a Wright County courtroom Friday.

5-year old Keaton Peck was recently diagnosed with leukemia. His medical care team is insisting on a two-plus year chemo regimen to fight the disease. But his mother and father prefer natural therapies.

"My goal is to heal him the way his body best reacts to, with zero side effects," explained McKena Peck, the child’s mom, who was one of several witnesses to testify at the evidentiary hearing.

McKena Peck told the court, she believes it is not the cancer that kills, but rather the chemo.

"It's sad knowing how the cancer industry works. Knowing that my kid is at the grunt end of it, being forced to do it," McKena Peck told FOX 9’s Paul Blume on her way out of the courthouse following the hearing.

Keaton was extremely sick when he was rushed to the hospital in recent months. The child underwent an initial, emergency round of chemotherapy at Children’s Minnesota in Minneapolis.

His parents, already opposed to chemo based on religious and their own researched-understanding, hated seeing the side effects on Keaton. When test results came back indicating there was no active cancer, his parents said they wanted to go the natural remedy route.

But Keaton’s medical team insisted the only path to properly treat the potentially deadly cancer and minimize the likelihood of it returning was a 2+ year chemo cycle.

They pointed to survival rates of over 90% with a full complement of chemotherapy.

Wright County child protective services subsequently stepped in, and arguing medical neglect, stripped the parents of their rights to make any further care decisions, landing the case in court. A full trial is scheduled for May.

"We just don't want to do chemo because it is killing every cell in your body and your immune system is nothing," said Troy Verm, Keaton’s father. "He is always sick. And that's why we end up going back to the hospital."

Wright County currently has custody of the boy though he is being fostered at his grandmother’s house in Otsego where his parents also reside while they visit from Texas. But McKena Peck and Troy Verm cannot interfere with Keaton’s medical care. The chemo sessions will continue as the case works its way through court.