A 10-year old Amish girl named Sarah Hershberger has fled her home, along with her parents, in order to avoid chemotherapy, the family’s attorney confirmed to The Associated Press yesterday.
The trio has been engaged in a court battle with a local hospital in Northern Ohio for months after the parents chose to halt medical treatment because they believed it was making their daughter ill.
A state appeals court appointed a guardian to take over medical decisions for Sarah last month, but Maurice Thompson says his clients have left their home because they “don’t want Sarah to be taken away.”
Physicians at Akron Children’s Hospital say Sarah’s leukemia is treatable, but that she will pass away if unless she receives professional attention.
The family, however, would prefer to treat Sarah’s cancer with natural medicines, herbs and vitamins.
A court has ruled, however, that the religious belief of parents cannot outweigh the rights of the state to protect a child. Hence, the appointed guardian, with whom the family has had no contact.
The parents have appealed the decision to both the appeals court and the Ohio Supreme Court and also plan to file a motion to terminate the guardianship.
While the case is being appealed, there are no plans to ask the court to track down the family or force the girl into chemotherapy.
“I’m very concerned about [Sarah],” said Clair Dickinson, the guardian’s attorney.
Thompson, however, counters that he has been in contact with the family and that the girl’s alternative treatments have resulted in improved energy and even CT scans that show real medical progress.