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Mother of cancer-stricken son on trial for failing to give him medicine

Posted by Metro Desk  April 5, 2011 12:25 PM

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Angie Beaulieu/The Eagle-Tribune/AP

LaBrie listened to the proceedings on Monday in Lawrence Superior Court.

LAWRENCE -- There were two Kristen LaBries, one a devoted mother caring for a sick boy fighting cancer and the other a woman who "seethed with resentment" at the boy's father whom she accused of abandoning them, an Essex County prosecutor said today at the beginning of LaBrie's trial.

Prosecutor Kristen McDougall said LaBrie was responsible for giving her son, Jeremy Fraser, medications for non-Hodgkins lymphoma but failed to do that on numerous occasions. LaBrie "didn't tell anyone she was not giving Jeremy chemotherapy drugs," McDougall said.

But defense attorney Kevin James said that LaBrie, who lived in Salem, complied with four out of the five phases of treatment. What she didn't know, he said, was that treating him would require making him sick for prolonged periods of time.

LaBrie became fatigued and "her mental strength and objectivity waned,'' James said.

Jeremy Fraser, who was removed form his mother's custody and placed in the care of his father, Eric J. Fraser, died in March 2009 after his father had withheld all medical care based on the recommendations of doctors who said the child's illness could not be halted.

Eric Fraser, who told reporters he tried to be involved in his son's life but was rebuffed by LaBrie, died in a motorcycle crash in 2010.

James, the defense attorney, said his client turned to Jeremy's father for help in taking care of the autistic child with a severe medical problem. He said that when Jeremy was diagnosed both parents were in the room.

James said LaBrie turned toward Eric Fraser and said, "I need your help on this one, I need your help." LaBrie knew, however, that Eric Fraser would not help, James said.

He said LaBrie did not fully understand that the medical regimen her son was given would cause the child discomfort and pain. He said she treated him as required for four of the five required courses of therapy.

She concluded giving him more drugs was "beyond what Jeremy could tolerate...She made a decision to stop giving him the medication,'' James said.

MacDougall, the prosecutor, said the boy's doctors saw progress while he was getting treatment and were optimistic that his illness could be sent into remission. That optimism disappeared, however, when a checkup showed the disease had intensified.

Doctors then discovered LaBrie had not complied with the treatment regimen for her son, MacDougall said.

The trial, before Superior Court Judge Richard E. Welch III, is ongoing.

LaBrie is charged attempted murder and three other charges.

Originally published on the blog MetroDesk.

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