Ohio appeals court favors hospital over Amish family in cancer case

Oct. 7, 2013 at 1:31 PM
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AKRON, Ohio, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- An Ohio appellate court has appointed a hospital representative as the legal guardian in the case of a 10-year-old Amish girl who has cancer.

The Fifth District Court of Appeals ruled Friday in favor of Akron Children's Hospital over the girl's parents, The Medina (Ohio) Gazette reported.

Court documents show that Sarah Hershberger, 10, was receiving chemotherapy, but the girl's parents, Andy and Anna Hershberger, stopped the treatment after their daughter began having harsh side effects. They opted to treat the girl with natural medicine instead.

Hospital officials have said that the girl will likely die without chemotherapy, but has an 85 percent chance of surviving if she continues with the treatment.

Previously, Medina County Probate Judge John J. Lohn twice ruled in favor of the girl's parents, Andy and Anna Hershberger.

However, the appeals court said Lohn's ruling wasn't "based on competent, credible evidence."

"While we have no doubt that the parents are acting in according with their principles, beliefs and honest convictions and that their goal may be a laudable one," the appellate court said, "it does not justify or nullify the right of the state and the probate court to protect the health and wellbeing of a child."

Maria Schimer, a registered nurse and attorney at the hospital, was granted "limited guardianship" over Sarah, which allows her to make medical decisions for the girl.

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