Texas girl balks at cancer treatment

Sept. 7, 2005 at 11:35 AM
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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- Two doctors will advise a Texas judge whether a 13-year-old girl in state custody should undergo chemotherapy against her wishes.

Katie Wernecke is suffering from Hodgkin's disease, a cancer of the lymph nodes, and is in a Houston hospital. She has been in the care of Child Protective Services since June 4 after her parents refused radiation treatments for her disease. The state challenged the parents and won, although the cancer returned after radiation, the Corpus Christi Caller Times reported.

In a speakerphone hearing with Juvenile Judge Carl Lewis Tuesday, the girl said, "First off, I'd rather be home."

Lewis postponed a decision on whether to allow high-dose chemotherapy until a hearing Friday to allow two other doctors to assess and report on her condition to the girl's parents.

The treatment will weaken her immune system requiring her to remain in isolation for several weeks, said Assistant County Attorney Thomas Stuckey, who represents Child Protective Services.

"She is deliberately and intentionally sabotaging her own treatment," Stuckey said. "Mr. Wernecke has convinced his daughter that the therapy will kill her."

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