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Hospital to win guardianship of 10-year-old leukemia patient

When it comes to medical care, New Jersey parents usually have the authority to make critical decisions. However, due to mental illness or other causes, parents may be incapable of making such decisions, and guardianship is transferred to another person.

When a couple brought their 10-year-old girl to an Ohio children’s hospital, they allowed medical staff members to treat her for leukemia. However, the side effects of the chemotherapy treatment were reportedly unbearable for the girl, who complained that the treatment made her feel exhausted and sick. The girl’s parents decided to halt her treatment; instead, they planned to use natural remedies.

According to doctors, if the girl does not receive chemotherapy treatment, it is likely that she will die within a year. On the other hand, if she continues treatment, she has an 85 percent chance of survival. For this reason, an attorney for the hospital, who is also a nurse, sought temporary guardianship of the girl so that the hospital could make medical decisions for her, effectively forcing her to accept the chemotherapy treatment.

Although a judge had previously ruled in favor of the girl’s parents, arguing that such action would violate their parental rights, the appeals court is expected to reverse the judge’s previous decision.

In this case, there is no evidence that the parents don’t have their daughter’s best interests in mind. The appeals court decision may undermine other parents’ legal authority to make health care decisions for their children. Anyone who needs help sorting out any issues related to guardianship may want to work with an attorney.

Source: ABC News, “Ohio Hospital Can Force Chemo on Amish Girl, Court Says,” Alex Perez, Oct. 9, 2013

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