A young girl with cancer has been sucked into a legal battle between her parents and a hospital. The 10-year-old patient's parents wanted to stop chemotherapy because they felt it was making her sicker, but the hospital says it's the only thing that can save Sarah Hershberger's life. And to make matters more complicated, this family is Amish. That means they don't believe in a whole lot of medical intervention.
But does that make them bad parents?
According to Akron Children's Hospital, it does. The hospital took Sarah's parents to court and got a judge to grant guardianship of the girl to an attorney who's also a registered nurse. That attorney can now ignore the Hersherbergers' plans to treat Sarah's cancer with natural medicines, herbs, and vitamins.
The message is pretty clear -- these parents were failing their daughter, so another authority had to step in to save her life.
The Hershbergers are calling it a violation of their rights as parents.
But isn't part of having a child giving up your rights? Or at least letting the rights of your child supersede your rights as a parent?
We let it happen all the time, in the smallest of ways. We put their well-being against our "rights" to do things that conflict with child-rearing, from going out at night when the kids need you home to keep them safe to buying the family-friendly car instead of the one you really want.
We learn to make choices based on what they need, not what we want, to set aside our own feelings in favor of the best choice ... for THEM.
Here we have a kid with cancer, and we have clear scientific path to recovery. The doctors say Sarah's form of cancer is highly treatable, and there's an 85 percent chance of a five-year survival rate (the standard marker of remission for cancer) if she continues with chemo. Scans even show the chemo she'd undergone so far DID reduce her tumors.
So how can a parent walk away from that? Even if they're uncomfortable with it, the fact is, they're not doctors. They're not experts. Sometimes you just have to trust that someone else knows better ... and do what's best for your kid. This 10-year-old has the RIGHT to have the best care possible to save her life.
Her parents' rights can't possibly be more important than that.
Whose side do you take here? Would you let a doctor make an important medical decision for your child?
Image via Ano Lobb/Flickr