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Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

Ohio Hospital Awarded Temporary Custody Of Amish Girl To Treat Her

Posted by on Oct. 9, 2013 at 2:27 PM
  • 128 Replies

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/ohio-hospital-force-chemo-amish-girl-court/story?id=20513841

A court today is expected to give an attorney for the Children's Hospital in Akron, Ohio, temporary custody of a 10-year-old Amish girl so she can resume chemotherapy after her parents decided to stop the treatments.

Doctors at the Akron Children's Hospital believe Sarah Hershberger has an 85 percent chance of survival if she receives chemotherapy for leukemia. Without it, they believe she will die within a year.

An appeals court ruling issued Oct. 1 overturned a judge's decision that said keeping the parents from making medical decisions for their daughter would take away their rights.

The appeals court ruled that the hospital's attorney, who's also a registered nurse, should be granted limited guardianship over the girl and the power to make medical decisions for her.

"While we respect the wishes of the parents and believe them to be honest and sincere, we are unwilling to adhere to the wishes of the parents," the appeals court judges wrote.

The ruling said that while adults can refuse medical treatment regardless of the consequences, children do not have those same rights because of their vulnerability and inability to make critical decisions in a mature manner.

Sarah had tumors on her neck, chest and kidneys when her parents initially agreed to chemotherapy at Akron Children's Hospital earlier this year. Her family says the side effects were terrible and they decided to treat her leukemia with natural remedies instead.

"We've seen how sick it makes her," Andy Hershberger, the girl's father, told ABC News in August. "Our belief is the natural stuff will do just as much as that stuff if it's God's will."

The Hershbergers said their daughter complained to them that the chemo made her tired and sick.

"If we do chemotherapy and she would happen to die, she would probably suffer more than if we would do it this way and she would happen to die," he added.

The legal wrangling over Sarah's health began in July when the hospital took the family to court seeking temporary guardianship. The judge in Medina County in northeast Ohio ruled that Sarah's parents had the right to make medical decisions for her because there's no evidence they are unfit.

An Ohio appeals court ruled in August that the a juvenile court judge must reconsider the decision that blocked the hospital's attempt to give the attorney limited guardianship over Sarah and the power to make medical decisions for her.

Last month, the court upheld its original decision and sided with the parents' wishes.

But experts say the appeals court latest ruling to side with the hospital could set a legal precedent for how parents decide their children's medical care.

"When you are talking about life and death, and the real possibility that the treatment will save the child, then things can change," Chief Legal Affairs Anchor for ABC News Dan Abrams said.

by on Oct. 9, 2013 at 2:27 PM
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Replies (1-10):
romalove
by Roma on Oct. 9, 2013 at 2:42 PM

How do we feel about the court saying to save the child's life they have the right to remove custody from the parents?

survivorinohio
by René on Oct. 9, 2013 at 2:55 PM

I dont know.  I think the rate of survival after treatment being so high sways me. In other cases I would be more inclined to butt out. 

When I think about this I always end up at my concept of natural order and my doubts as to whether intervention is really wise in the biggest of pictures.  I tend to feel as if we have created a lot of problems through keeping so many of us alive lol.

I know its kind of a cold view but it  may well have merit.

KelliansMom
by Bronze Member on Oct. 9, 2013 at 2:57 PM
I'm so torn on this. I watched my husband go through chemo it's not fun very scary and the risk of death from chemo is higher then the cancer sometimes. I really think parents and the child should be able to make the decision on treatment and care but I can see why the hospital step in on the situation.
romalove
by Roma on Oct. 9, 2013 at 2:59 PM


Quoting survivorinohio:

I dont know.  I think the rate of survival after treatment being so high sways me. In other cases I would be more inclined to butt out. 

When I think about this I always end up at my concept of natural order and my doubts as to whether intervention is really wise in the biggest of pictures.  I tend to feel as if we have created a lot of problems through keeping so many of us alive lol.

I know its kind of a cold view but it  may well have merit.

I think for those who have been saved through vigorous medical intervention they would not think your argument has much merit at all.

I think there is always a downside to everything, but things have to be weighed and you have to see if there is more "up" than "down".  Leukemia in children was a death sentence when I was a child.  Today upwards of 90 percent of those same children live.  Are they all thriving?  I think most are, but there are side effects of the medications.  Some may not be able to have children of their own, for example.  But they have life.

In this case referenced above, the issue is who has rights over the medical interventions of a child, the parents or medical professionals when there is disagreement.  The courts seem to be saying, you can do what you want but if the child's life is endangered, we will step in.

romalove
by Roma on Oct. 9, 2013 at 3:00 PM


Quoting KelliansMom:

I'm so torn on this. I watched my husband go through chemo it's not fun very scary and the risk of death from chemo is higher then the cancer sometimes. I really think parents and the child should be able to make the decision on treatment and care but I can see why the hospital step in on the situation.

Does the 85 percent chance she will recover with treatment change your view at all (in either direction)?

lovemymini
by Bronze Member on Oct. 9, 2013 at 3:00 PM
I think it's good for the courts to step in on this case. Glad she will get some help.

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TranquilMind
by Platinum Member on Oct. 9, 2013 at 3:01 PM
5 moms liked this

 Right.  Instead of living or dying on her own terms, and in accordance with her faith, she will live or die in nausea and pain.

Good move, Ohio.

TranquilMind
by Platinum Member on Oct. 9, 2013 at 3:02 PM

 Well, you know what they say about lies, damn lies, and statistics. 

Quoting romalove:


Quoting KelliansMom:

I'm so torn on this. I watched my husband go through chemo it's not fun very scary and the risk of death from chemo is higher then the cancer sometimes. I really think parents and the child should be able to make the decision on treatment and care but I can see why the hospital step in on the situation.

Does the 85 percent chance she will recover with treatment change your view at all (in either direction)?

 

romalove
by Roma on Oct. 9, 2013 at 3:03 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting TranquilMind:

 Right.  Instead of living or dying on her own terms, and in accordance with her faith, she will live or die in nausea and pain.

Good move, Ohio.

She may live without nausea and pain after the treatment.

She is ten.  Does she have a faith?  Can she be found at that age to be of an age of consent for anything?  Can she execute contracts, have sex, vote, join the military, drink alcohol?  

Do we say that kids can't make good decisions so we don't allow them to make important ones?

I would say it's about the parents faith, not the child's.  And in that case, is it good enough for the parents to make a life or death decision for their child based on their faith, if it means the child will definitely die?

TranquilMind
by Platinum Member on Oct. 9, 2013 at 3:03 PM
3 moms liked this

 Works for me only if there is criminal punishment for the hospital if it is wrong and she dies.

Quoting romalove:

How do we feel about the court saying to save the child's life they have the right to remove custody from the parents?

 

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