The Amish family chemo nightmare is just another sign of medicine going astray. Are doctors really abiding by the Hippocratic Oath of first do no harm or are they becoming headhunters forcing unwanted and unnecessary treatment on citizens who are supposed to be free? Does the medical establishment have the right to take away our medical freedom?
After the parents of an 11 year-old Amish girl, Sarah Hershberger, decided to discontinue chemo treatments for the child because the treatment appeared to be doing more harm than good, the family was dragged into court by the hospital in an attempt to force the continuation of chemo. The judge appointed medical guardianship of Sarah to a nurse who planned to make Sarah resume chemo.
In the meantime, the Amish family met with other medical professionals and started Sarah on alternative cancer therapy that helped Sarah regain her strength, appetite and happy disposition. Based on the lastest reports, the alternative cancer treatment appears to be working and the tests indicate that Sarah is cancer free. However, Akron Children’s Hospital where Sarah was undergoing chemo insists that the Amish girl will die within one year if she does not resume the chemo. Neither Sarah nor her family want chemo. They want to continue with the natural treatment that has given Sarah back her quality of life.
The Amish family has fled their home and remains in hiding because the judge will not overturn his decision. The nurse remains Sarah’s medical guardian and can make medical decisions for Sarah against her family’s wishes. The nurse reportedly said that she has changed her mind about forcing Sarah to have the chemo, but she does not want the judge to overturn the decision which gives her that authority. The nurse does not want Sarah’s parents to have the right to make medical decisions for their child.
It has been about 7 months since the Amish family chemo incident began. Sarah is being monitored by another doctor and so far she is doing fine. Why is the hospital still trying to force her to return for chemo? Some reports have indicated that Sarah was part of a research project that the hospital was conducting and they need her to complete the study. Others say the hospital is simply trying to do what is best for the child based on their ‘moral’ obligation to save lives and believe that chemo is the only acceptable method of cancer treatment. If there is supposedly no cure for cancer, shouldn’t people be able to choose the treatment they prefer?
And yet, an Amish family who has done nothing wrong have been denied their constitutional rights because they chose to use homeopathic medicine instead of chemo to treat their daughter. They are fighting a war for medical freedom. A war that anyone of us might be fighting at anytime should we or a member of our family become sick. We are all at risk of losing our rights for medical freedom of choice.
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