Ohio girl with cancer, parents drop out of sight

Nov. 27, 2013 at 6:51 PM
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MEDINA, Ohio, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- A 10-year-old Ohio girl and her parents, who oppose a hospital's efforts to have her treated for leukemia, have dropped out of sight, authorities say.

Sarah Hershberger and her parents, Andy and Anna Hershberger of Homer Township, have not been seen at their farm since Oct. 30, the Medina Gazette reported Tuesday.

The Amish family is fighting in the courts to fend off Akron Children's Hospital, which wants to use chemotherapy to treat Sarah's leukemia, the newspaper said.

Her last treatment was in June. Physicians have said in court she could die within a year without chemotherapy and has an 85 percent chance of surviving with it, the newspaper said.

Medina County Sheriff Tom Miller said his office doesn't know where the Hershbergers are, is not actively searching for them and "it would take a court order for us to get involved." The sheriff said he was not anticipating a court order.

An appellate court last month granted a request from the hospital to appoint "limited guardianship" to registered nurse and attorney Maria Schimer, giving her power to make medical decisions for the child.

Clair Dickinson, an attorney representing Schimer, said he didn't know the family's whereabouts.

John Oberholtzer, who represents the Hershbergers, said he does not know either, though he's kept in contact concerning an appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court to overturn the appellate court's ruling.

Oberholtzer said he was not sure whether the girl has sought treatment for her T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma elsewhere.

The Gazette said the Hershbergers halted chemotherapy for their daughter because of its side effects, court records showed, and began using "natural" medicine, including vitamins and herbs.

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