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Thread: Teen battles state over cancer treatment

  1. -1
    BAMAPHIN 22's Avatar
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    Teen battles state over cancer treatment

    In Virginia, age 16 is old enough to drive a car, work a 40-hour week, stand trial in adult court, and marry.

    Whether 16 is old enough to reject traditional cancer treatment is at the heart of a trial slated to begin next week on the Eastern Shore town of Accomac.

    Starchild Abraham Cherrix, a 16-year-old suffering from Hodgkin's disease, has refused chemotherapy and radiation treatments ordered by his oncologist in favor of an herbal remedy prescribed by a Mexican clinic.

    If Abraham, as he is known, were two years older, the decision would be his alone and no court could challenge his choice, no matter how medically unorthodox. But because he is a minor, social services authorities have intervened.

    In the proceeding that begins in Accomack County Circuit Court on August 16, government lawyers will accuse his parents, who support Abraham's herbal treatment, of medical neglect for not ensuring their son receives chemotherapy and radiation. If they are successful, the judge is likely to give partial custody to the state and order Abraham into a hospital for treatment.

    Although the right of states to compel medical treatment for gravely ill children over their parents' wishes is well established, Abraham's case is noteworthy because he has articulated strongly his own reasons for refusing conventional treatment.

    "I should have the right to tell someone what I want to do with this body," he told USA Today last month. "I studied. I did research. I came to this conclusion that the chemotherapy was not the route I wanted to take."

    Other cases often turn on a parent's religious beliefs, but the Cherrixes say that while they are devout Christians, their decision is based on Abraham's own negative experience with a first round of chemotherapy and his evaluation, seconded by his parents, of alternative treatments based on that experience.

    "When Abraham mentioned that he didn't want to take radiation and that he wanted to try alternative treatments, I tested him and questioned him to make sure that was what he really wanted to do," Jay Cherrix said. "I researched it myself and saw that there were other options."

    State authorities acknowledge the case is not an easy one and said they are concerned only with the teenager's health.

    "One of the most difficult decisions of the Child Protective Services program requires balancing the rights of the parents with the health of the child," Anthony Conyers Jr., State Social Service commissioner, said in a statement about Abraham's case.

    The trial comes as Abraham's health continues to deteriorate.


    http://www.cnn.com/2006/LAW/08/11/ca...ght/index.html
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    Eshlemon's Avatar
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    Do we take the Amish from their children? Some have no problems with modern medicine, but not all or all forms.

    Touchy issue, I may think they're wrong. But if the parents are viewed non-negligent and the kid sane, don't agree with going against the parents and 16 year-old's decision on the medical treatment.
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    BAMAPHIN 22's Avatar
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    Teen wins court battle to stop chemo


    A 16-year-old cancer patient's legal fight ended in victory Wednesday when his family's attorneys and social services officials reached an agreement that would allow him to forgo chemotherapy.

    At the start of what was scheduled to be a two-day hearing, Circuit Judge Glen A. Tyler announced that both sides had reached a consent decree, which Tyler approved.

    Under the decree, Starchild Abraham Cherrix, who is battling Hodgkin's disease, will be treated by an oncologist of his choice who is board-certified in radiation therapy and interested in alternative treatments.

    The family must provide the court updates on Abraham's treatment and condition every three months until he's cured or turns 18.

    "It's all over. It's everything we fought for, everything we wanted to ever have, we've won. We got our freedom back," Abraham said outside the courthouse after the hearing.

    Tyler emphasized that the decree states that the parents weren't medically neglectful.

    Abraham said that he saw the doctor last week, and the doctor assured him that his cancer is curable. The teen said he'll continue following an alternative herbal treatment called the Hoxsey method as well as his doctor's treatment plan. The regimen won't include chemotherapy, but radiation is a possibility, he said.

    After the short hearing, the judge looked at Abraham and said, "God bless you, Mr. Cherrix."
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    BDC87's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BAMAPHIN 22
    favor of an herbal remedy prescribed by a Mexican clinic.
    I wonder what that could be?
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    ckparrothead's Avatar
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    I actually think this is a case in which the system worked exactly as it should. Yes, it could very well be child abuse for a parent to allow his child to forego legitimate treatments for illness in favor of quack alternatives that have no medical value. I support that wholeheartedly.

    And, when you hear "I'm not doing chemo or radiation, I'm doing an herbal remedy prescribed by a Mexican clinic." you HAVE to admit the first thing that comes to mind is...wow...that certainly sounds like a quack situation.

    And so, they had this trial, a proceeding to determine through the presentation of evidence, whether or not child abuse is happening. The controlling issue would be the legitimacy of the treatment. They obviously presented evidence that a lot of people consider the herbal method legitimate, and so they won.

    Way to go system. Getting it right, for a change.
    Twitter: @ckparrot
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