Judge allows guardian of girl with cancer to quit after family flees

Feb. 14, 2014 at 1:10 PM
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MEDINA, Ohio, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- An Ohio woman has resigned as guardian of an 11-year-old girl with cancer whose parents had refused to continue their daughter's court-ordered therapy.

Maria Schimer, a nurse, had asked a judge in December to let her resign after the girl's parents, Andy and Anna Hershberger, fled the country, the Medina [Ohio] County Gazette reported Friday.

Medina County Probate Judge Kevin W. Dunn accepted Schimer's resignation Thursday.

"If I thought there was any way that I could save this little girl's life, I wouldn't be doing this," Schimer, who was appointed in October, told the judge. "Maybe now someone else can step in who has a better rapport with the family."

Schimer said the family had told her they sought treatment outside the state and country, but had not provided evidence of treatment. The girl "may appear happy and she may appear healthy, but we don't know what's going on inside," Schimer said.

Maurice Thompson, the Hershbergers' attorney, said the family had traveled to Canada, Mexico and Tennessee to seek medical help for their daughter. He said the family returned to their home in Homer Township a few weeks ago and that the girl's tumors are now gone.

Thompson said the family wasn't opposed to chemotherapy and would seek it again if the girl's condition worsened.

Akron Children's Hospital had sought appointment of a guardian for the child after the family stopped free treatments in April 2013.

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