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Prinses Máxima Centrum

The Princess Máxima Center in the media: the Zembla-broadcasting of 'No chemo for Felix'

The television program Zembla broadcast an episode on Thursday May 13th about a couple who did not agree with the treatment of their child with cancer. In principle, the Princess Máxima Center never discusses an individual patient in the media because of privacy legislation, but the family that the broadcast is about has given the TV makers and our doctors explicit permission to do so. A difference of opinion between practitioners and parents is a diabolical dilemma. Attention to this dilemma is important and that is why our center has decided to participate in this TV program.

All treatments at the Princess Máxima Center originate from and are based on international treatment guidelines. Immunotherapies are of course part of this, such as the so-called CAR-T cell treatment against tumor cells. However, the immunotherapy for the specific brain tumor discussed in this episode is not part of these guidelines and is not a standard of care. Therefore, our center cannot comment on this treatment.

Every year about 600 new children with cancer come to the Princess Máxima Center. Fortunately, it is very rare that parents do not agree with the proposed (follow-up) treatment of their child. So far, this has happened on average once a year in our center, so in 1 in 600 new children.

In the unlikely event that the parents and the team of treating doctors cannot resolve their differences, and a life-threatening circumstance could arise, the attending physician can, after first obtaining anonymous advice from a doctor at Stichting Veilig Thuis, file a report of child abuse with that same organization. The attending physician can also consult with the Child Safeguarding Board right away, which can then submit a request for (limited) suspension of parental authority to the family court.  

In this broadcast, a number of people from the field express themselves in general terms about such reports, Felix's parents are interviewed and the head of the neuro-oncology department, prof dr Eelco Hoving speaks on behalf of the Princess Máxima Center.