From an Associated Press report:

An Ohio hospital is fighting to force a 10-year-old Amish girl with leukemia to resume chemotherapy after her parents decided to stop the treatments.

Akron Children’s Hospital is appealing a judge’s decision that blocked an attorney who’s also a registered nurse from taking over limited guardianship and making medical decisions for the girl.

The hospital believes the girl will die without chemotherapy and is morally and legally obligated to make sure she receives proper care, said Robert McGregor, the hospital’s chief medical officer.

In the video above, McGregor calls the girl’s affliction a “very treatable illness”, with “about 85% five-year survival”.  The parents have opted for a different course of treatment after seeing the effects of chemo:

The parents initially allowed chemotherapy treatment in May but stopped treatment in June. The parents said the effects on their daughter were horrible and that they were now relying on natural medicines, such as herbs and vitamins, The Medina Gazette reported.

The girl told a probate and juvenile judge that she didn’t want chemotherapy because it made feel ill, can damage her organs and make her infertile, the newspaper said.

The girl, Sarah Hershberger, is from an Amish community in Medina County, Ohio.   The only Amish I’m aware of in Medina County are from the conservative Lodi community which also includes Ashland County (a Swartzentruber Amish settlement).  Amish from plainer backgrounds tend to be more skeptical of conventional treatments and to favor traditional or alternative approaches.

The Medina Gazette provides further details:

The girl was taken to Akron Children’s Hospital in April with tumors on a kidney and visible ones on her neck and chest, according to court records. Her parents at first consented to chemotherapy, but later rejected it in favor of “natural” medicine — including various herbs and vitamins.

During chemotherapy, the girl’s tumors shrank, but she did not enter remission.

“Sarah begged her parents to stop the treatments,” the judge wrote. “Anna said she and Andy could not stand to watch what was happening to their daughter.”

They believed the therapy was killing her, Lohn wrote, and the girl’s mother “prayed for wisdom to discern God’s plan for Sarah.”

Attorneys for the hospital maintain that Sarah’s parents’ approach is “almost certain to lead to Sarah’s death”, which they say would occur within a year.

What do you think?


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