Parents Want to Stop 10-Year-Old Daughter From Having Life-Saving Chemo

Mom Moment 111

IVA 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

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happymia happymia

It is up to her parents, not the courts,the lawyer, or the hospital.

sylph... sylph_ironlight

While I respect others beliefs, I believe this should be a non-issue. If these parents weren't Amish and they denied their daughter life saving medicines and she died, they would be going to jail.

nonmember avatar FarmersWife

I am on the side of the parents. What if they are right and it is making her sicker. Chemo can be a "cure you or kill you" type of drug. What if it kills this child and she suffered the whole time because of it... There is no guarantee that it will work and modern medicine is not always the right answer.

nonmember avatar blue

I side with the courts, which I don't often do. If they had do community or religious affiliation, this wouldn't be an issue. I think the right to live, supersedes the parent;s right to use religious choices regarding their child. If it were THEIR body, they can choose to do what their religion says. It's not. The child has a right to live.

Chana... Chanandler.Bong

The rates of cure of cancer haven't really been increased with chemotherapy. For some, it really does make the patient sicker. I don't know if this is the case for this family, and really, there's no way that anyone could really sum up the ethical issues raised by this in a comment on a blog. What I do know is this: it is a slippery slope when the law starts dictating what we can do with our children. Where do we draw the line? Can a judge declare I have to medicate my child if the schools say he has ADHD? What about treatments and therapies for autism? Or if my kids have type 2 diabetes and I choose to treat it with diet and exercise instead of medicine? As someone who has known several people who have had cancer, including a good friend who was ultimately advised by his doctor to stop the chemo because it was killing him faster than the cancer was, I know it's not actually a black and white issue.

Amber Ortega

I think every family has their own beliefs....however, when it comes to saving their life, they need to think about their child and what is best for them.  I don't love having to give my children meds for their mood disorders, however if I don't, their quality of life goes down.....they are miserable and violent...they can't live like against my better judgement, I seek out the meds that will help them to live a better life.  It isn't always about you and sometimes you have to open your mind and just do what makes life better for your kids.  

mande... manderspanders

What does the girl want? If we can let 5 year old boys decide to be girls, then at 10 years old this girl should be able to decide if she wants to continue chemo herself. if she doesn't want it should she still be forced to take it?

the courts are wrong and it is a slippery slope toward the denial of parental rights. most of the time the parents are the only ones who have the truly best interest of their child at heart.

Oneday Illfly Away

this is sick! it is up to her parents and cancer is being cured NOT by chemo

DeAnn Bryan Tollefsrud

chemo is not a cure all...sometimes diet works better in the long run. 

Mary Ryan

i think the hospital did right i dont care you always put ur kids neededs first and urs last

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