According to Fox News on Monday, an Ohio appeals court has once again sided with a hospital to force an Amish girl to continue chemotherapy after her parents pulled her from the treatments.
The court ruled that an attorney who's also a registered nurse should be granted limited guardianship over the girl, Sarah Hershberger, and the power to make medical decisions for her.
Doctors at Akron Children's Hospital believe Sarah's leukemia is treatable but says she will die without chemotherapy. The hospital went to court after the family decided to stop chemotherapy and treat Sarah with natural medicines, such as herbs and vitamins.
The girl's parents, who live in northeast Ohio's Medina County, stopped chemotherapy because they say the effects were terrible. They say they opted for "natural" medicines.
The family's attorney, John Oberholtzer, said Wednesday that the ruling essentially ordered the judge to disregard the rights of the parents.
Sarah begged her parents to stop the chemotherapy and they agreed after a great deal of prayer, Hershberger said. The family, members of an insular Amish community, shuns many facets of modern life and is deeply religious. They live on a farm and operate a produce stand near the village of Spencer in Medina County, about 35 miles southwest of Cleveland.
After the appeals court decision, the hospital said in a statement Wednesday that its goal is to ensure that the girl receives the most appropriate care based on scientific evidence and added that the allegation has never been about "parental unfitness."
It said neither the hospital nor anyone else is requesting legal or physical custody of the child; instead, the hospital said, this case "involves a disagreement between providers and parents over what course of treatment is best for their child."
Robert McGregor, the hospital's chief medical officer, said last week that it is morally and legally obligated to make sure the girl receives proper care.
He said the girl's illness — lymphoblastic lymphoma — is an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, but there is a five-year survival rate of 85 percent if she continues treatment.
Some of the girl's tumors had gone away after the first round of chemotherapy, but she isn't yet in remission, the hospital said.
Do you feel the courts made the right decision, or should the decision be left to the Sarah and her parents?
Emily Sutherlin is also the Pregnancy Examiner.
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