Tags: teen | refusing | chemotherapy | supreme | court

Teen Refusing Chemotherapy Takes Case to Supreme Court

By Clyde Hughes   |   Wednesday, 07 Jan 2015 06:21 AM

A Connecticut teen who is refusing chemotherapy for Hodgkin's lymphoma is taking her battle to the state's supreme court after the government received temporary custody of the girl to force treatment.

Doctors caring for the 17-year-old from West Hartford told a state court that the chemo treatment is needed to save her life, according to WTNH-TV. The Department of Children and Families gained temporary custody of the teenager to treat her at the Connecticut Children's Medical Center after her refusal.

However, the family of the girl, identified as only Cassandra in court documents, said she has the right to determine what medical procedures to accept and reject, regardless if the doctors deem them to be life-saving.

"This is not a negligent refusal to provide care," assistant state public defender Joshua Michtom told WTNH-TV. "This is a choice. Cassandra and her mother are asking that the choice be respected. If she were 18, I think everyone would agree she could refuse treatment whether it was life-saving or not."

The Connecticut Supreme Court will hear the case on Thursday as the family fights the temporary custody order, according to Fox News. Cassandra's family is charging that the state's action to take Cassandra's custody without finding them incompetent violated their constitutional rights.

Jackie Fortin, Cassandra's mother, told the Hartford Courant that she supports her daughter's decision and will back her in court.

"My daughter is refusing chemo because of the poison toxins that she does not want in her body," Fortin said in a video on the Courant website posted Monday. "She knows the long-term effects of having chemo, what it does to your organs, what it does to your body. She may not be able to have children after this because it affects everything in your body. It not only kills cancer, it kills everything in your body."

The Department of Children and Families did not back down, issuing an statement Monday, according to the Courant, stating that it had no choice but to take action "when experts, such as the several physicians involved in this case, tell us with certainty that a child will die as a result of leaving a decision up to a parent…"

The Courant noted that the child protection agency stated that gaining custody of Cassandra was needed "[e]ven if the decision might result in criticism; we have an obligation to protect the life of the child when there is consensus among the medical experts…"

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A Connecticut teen who is refusing chemotherapy for Hodgkin's lymphoma is taking her battle to the state's supreme court after the government received temporary custody of the girl to force treatment.
teen, refusing, chemotherapy, supreme, court
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2015-21-07
 

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