Ohio Amish Girl Hides Amid Chemo Case

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10 year old Amish girl, Sarah Hershberger and her family have run from Ohio in an effort to avoid further chemo treatments in which the Akron Hospital is trying to force, legally. Sarah has leukemia and was sickened by the treatments and the family wants no more.

The Amish religion is a traditionalist Christian fellowship that formed a subgroup of the Mennonite churches. Some believe in traditional medical treatment, others do not.

Doctors at the Akron hospital believe Sarah's leukemia is treatable, and stated she will die without the much needed chemotherapy.

When the family decided to stop chemotherapy and treat Sarah with natural medicines, such as herbs and vitamins, they were met with a lawsuit requesting that guardianship be taken from the parents and given to a nurse at the hospital in hopes of treating the child against the parents wishes.

Attorney Maurice Thompson states, "the parents don't want Sarah taken away."

Acording to the family attorney, the Hershberger's have appealed the decision to both the appeals court and the Ohio Supreme Court. They also plan to file a motion to terminate the guardianship. Since these appeals, there isn't much more the court or the hospital or even the guardian for that matter - can do. While the appeal is in effect, it's a stand still.

Thompson, who leads the libertarian 1851 Center for Constitutional Law in Ohio, said he believes that the case is an example of the courts trampling on the rights of parents and freedom to refuse medical treatment.

Thompson also relayed that that the girl has undergone alternative-therapy treatments and is doing well. The family told him that she has more energy and that CT scans show the treatments are working.

Sarah's father, Andy Hershberger, said that they did agree to two years of treatment, but that she was so sick, and she begged her parents to stop the chemo which they agreed - after a great deal of prayer.

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.

When Hospital officials were questioned - they said are morally and legally obligated to make sure the girl receives proper care. They said the girl's illness, lymphoblastic lymphoma, is an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, but there is a high survival rate with treatment.

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