Society

Update: Sarah Hershberger Will Not Be Forced By Court To Undergo Chemotherapy Treatment

| by Jonathan Wolfe

Big news today in the on-going Sarah Hershberger case:

Hershberger’s state-appointed attorney has decided not to force the 10-year-old Amish girl to undergo chemotherapy treatment. Sarah and her parents are currently abroad after fleeing in the country in an effort to avoid chemo treatments.

Despite doctor recommendations, Sarah’s parents believe the chemo treatments were doing more harm than good. They are opting to treat their daughter’s leukemia with homeopathic remedies instead. Doctors claim Sarah will die within a year without chemo treatments, but her parents are not backing off their decision.

The Hershberger’s attorney Maurice Thompson spoke briefly on the court’s decision.

"The judge's approval of this resignation will pave the way for the family's return home, which will allow Sarah to receive the family's preferred treatment under the best possible conditions," Thompson said.

In October, a court granted temporary guardianship to nurse and attorney Maria Schimer. The guardianship gave Schimer the right to make medical decision for Sarah throughout the course of her cancer treatments. But after Sarah and her parents fled the country, the guardianship was rendered useless. No one knows where the Hershberger’s went, and, accordingly, can’t enforce any of the medical decision made for Sarah.

"It didn't make sense to drag this on any longer," Schimer’s attorney said.

The decision likely closes a case that has provided a fascinating look at the balance between parental versus state rights regarding a child’s medical decisions. Proponents of the Hershberger’s argue that regardless of the consequences, parents have the right to make all medical decisions for their children. On the flip side, though, people argue that the Hershberger’s decision is effectively killing Sarah and that, accordingly, the state should have the right to intervene on her behalf.

In August, doctors estimated Sarah would die within one year unless she received chemo treatments.

With the Hershberger’s wishes prevailing and the treatments being refused, all we can do now is hope Sarah is able to miraculously beat the disease without the help of modern medicine. 

Source: ABC, TVNZ