A young Amish girl with lymphoblastic lymphoma is now believed to have fled her Ohio home with her family to avoid chemotherapy treatments. A court ruling in October appointed 10-year-old Sarah Hershberger a temporary guardian to make her medical decisions. Sarah was diagnosed with the cancer and her family consented to two years of chemotherapy last Spring. After the treatments made her incredibly ill, Sarah reportedly 'begged' her parents to let her stop the treatment. After they consented to try alternative natural remedies, the hospital where Sarah was being treated took the Hershbergers to court.
Hospital officials at Akron Children's Hospital say that they have a 'moral and legal obligation to ensure Sarah receives proper care.' A CT scan did show that Sarah's cancer was responding well to the homeopathic course of treatment.
Sarah's parents have been battling in court for months, after the hospital filed a claim against the family to force Sarah to continue the life-saving treatment. Records indicate that the last time Sarah underwent a chemotherapy session was in June. However, it is unknown whether she has been receiving treatments elsewhere.
Doctors say that Sarah's form of lymphoma has an 85% survival rate and high rate of success for patients who undergo treatment. However, lymphoblastic lymphoma is also known to be highly aggressive, and she could die within the year if treatment is not resumed soon, according to her doctors.
The Hershberger's attorney, Maurice Thompson, said Thursday of the family, "They just don't want Sarah to be taken away."
Sarah's parents have taken the case to both an appeals court and the state Supreme Courrt. In October, a judge ruled that parental discretion over medical treatments for a child should be allowed unless it is a matter of life or death. The court appointed an attorney who is also a Registered Nurse to serve as Sarah's temporary guardian in the case of her medical decisions. The guardian's attorney, Claire Dickinson, says that the family has not contacted her client since the ruling.
A visit to the Hershberger family home showed strong indications that the family had moved, and a neighbor told them that the family was not there.
The Hershberger's attorney, Maurice Thompson, says that he is "very worrried about her."
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