Amish Family Chemo Battle Continues

    January 21, 2014
    Lindsay McCane
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An Amish family has fled their home, and has gone into hiding, after a court ruling ordered that their daughter continue chemotherapy treatments.

Sarah Hershberger, an 11-year-old Amish girl, was diagnosed with Leukemia in April 2013, and was undergoing rounds of chemotherapy until her parents Andy and Anna Hershberger made the decision to stop treatments. Her parents believed that the medicine was making her too sick, and they feared that their daughter would die if the chemotherapy was not stopped.

Despite the parents requests, the hospital appealed to the court in a request that Sarah be granted a guardian to ensure that she continues to receive the medical attention that she needs. In October, the hospital’s request was granted, and Sarah was appointed a guardian Maria Schimer, who would remain in charge of all of Sara’s medical decisions. Schimer says that although she respects the religious background of the Hershberger family, that doesn’t outweigh the duties of the law to protect the child. “I believe there can be no doubt that it is in her best interest to have chemotherapy and have a chance to live a full life,” Schimer said.

Sarah was being treated at the Akron Children’s Hospital in Ohio, and doctors informed the court that her form of Leukemia could be treated. In a desperate plea, the hospital revealed that if she does not follow through with her treatments, that she could be dead in as little as a year.

Sarah’s parents are urgently trying to appeal the ruling that appointed the guardian, and want to be able to treat Sarah with natural methods, of their choosing, such as vitamins and herbs. “We’ve seen how sick it makes her,” Andy said. “Our belief is the natural stuff will do just as much as that stuff if it’s God’s will.”

According to the Hershberger’s attorney, by appointing Sarah a guardian and forcing her to receive treatment, the family’s constitutional rights are being violated, and this decision could affect the rights of other parents to make their own medical choices in Ohio. “Any parent could have significant decisions second-guessed, any parent could lose the right to choose the doctor, hospital and course of medical treatment of their choice,” the family’s attorney said.

Anna, Andy, and Sarah are hoping that the court will grant their appeal, and that they will be able to return to their home soon.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

  • Jan

    The parents tried the Chemo and it made her worse. I personally would never accept Chemo treatment. I have witnessed too many friends with cancer go down faster with horrific side affects and still die. It is poison. A family should have the right to make the decision for their child.

  • Chelsea

    The parents should of not be revoked of there rights. My grandmother was given Chemo and the doctors proved it was killing her kidneys. So, they stopped it and told her she had maybe half a year to live. But, it has been 7 years. She is cancer free and her kidneys have fully restored themselves.

  • The Duck

    The Watchtower organization has gone through this many times over their history since 1930. Their issue was blood transfusions. They believe that whole blood should never be transfused to their bodies because the Bible teaches we should not eat blood. That transfusing blood is the same as being fed. They have won land mark Supreme Court rulings in their favor. They have won the right not to accept any medical treatment they do not wish for themselves and their children.

    I would consult their attorneys on this subject and see if there is ant help for this Amish family.

    I hope the moderator here reads this and is able to pass it on.

  • arleigh zee

    It is the parents right, period. Even if there were legitimate concerns about them making a wrong decision, then the only ones who have any right to affect that decision is their inner circle of family, friends and peers. No hospital or bureaucratic corporation or government has any right to intervene. PERIOD

    • Maria Oakley

      The Chemo crooks are at it again, I was send to an oncologist six years ago supposedly with leukemia, I cancelled all appointments, I sensed they saw my credit card as I have no health insurance whatsoever. I am 74 and there is nothing wrong with me. this poor little girl may have what they say she has but very healthy living is all they can do, I don’t believe in any religion but the power of prayer works if we all put our minds to it, the more the better.

  • foofalah

    I thought his whole case was resolved over a month ago with the nurse resigning her guardianship at that time.


    we have our believes who are we to ell someone what to do.I think they should have the right to say what happens with their daughter not the government or anyone else. leave them alone.


    what happened to our feedom? we really lost it that’s for sure

  • Doreen

    After undergoing chemo myself I TOTALLY AGREE with these parents. I was brought close to death from it and to this day suffer severe side effects after four years.

  • Laura

    Hey Jan, you say that now but have faced with cancer you may have a different outlook. I said that before cancer, I then ended up with cancer at 23 went through the treatment and have been cancer free for over 10 years. Not everyone dies! Of course this little girl would get sicker from the chemo; unfortunately that’s what it does! I hope the little girl lives. I hope by some miracle she does!

    • Maria Oakley

      Laura, you were at the strongest time in your life and good for you chemo worked, if it never ever worked It hopefully would not be around anymore. No one should be forced to have that stuff put in their bodies, my grandson had some milder form of chemo, never got too sick from it but looked like death for a while, he still has the brain tumor but no more chemo thank God.

  • dusty rose

    I hope that the court understands that what chemotheapy is is simply ‘POISION’ clear and simple. It’s POISION folks, nothing but POISION. This dear child is having her rights as a citizen of this country taken away from her. Her freedom of choice is being striped away and no one in the court is standing up for her. Did anyone in the court tell the judge that chemo cannot tell the good cells in your body from the canerous ones? The end result is that the chemo destroys good cells along with cancer cells. End result? You get extra sickness from what is being called “medicine” from the Cancer Society. Cancer is a business my friends and as long as their is money to be made from it a cure will never be found. My personal experience is that my fiance is dying. He was in a lot better health before he started all the chemo and radiation. Now, with all this so call treatment he looks like one of those refugees that you used to see picture of in one of those German prison camps during World War 2. I am praing for this sweet little girl and her family. I’ts all I can do for them. God be with them. Oh, by the way, did I happen to mention that “CHEMO” is nothing more than “POISION”?

  • stanton

    Chemo is bad, bad, bad.