An Ohio Amish girl has vanished with her parents amid an emotional controversy. Ten-year-old Sarah Hershberger was diagnosed with an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Although doctors fear she will die without chemotherapy, her parents are opposed to the treatment.
When Sarah was first diagnosed with leukemia, her parents consented to the treatment. Although the illness is aggressive, patients who undergo chemotherapy have higher rates of survival.
As Sarah began to experience the medication's adverse side-effects, her parents chose to discontinue the treatment. Doctors at Akron Children's Hospital were concerned as the treatment is necessary to save her life.
The battle between the hospital and Sarah's parents was eventually taken to court. In October, an Ohio appeals court appointed a guardian to oversee the Ohio Amish girl's medical care. As reported by News Net, the court decided the family's personal beliefs do not "outweigh the rights of the state to protect a child."
On Wednesday, the Hershberger's attorney Maurice Thompson said the family was forced to flee their home. They do not agree with the treatment and refuse to resume the chemotherapy. Since leaving their home, the family has appealed the court's decision. Boston.com reports that attorney Thompson will also be filing a motion to terminate the guardianship.
Thompson said Sarah is receiving alternative-therapy treatments, which have been effective. Although he said CT scans confirmed the treatment is working, the evidence was not presented to the court.
Guardian Clair Dickinson said the family has refused contact. She said Sarah received her last chemotherapy treatment in June. Doctors said the medication is essential as she will live less than a year without it.
Dickinson said although there is grave concern about Sarah's life, there are no plans to order the parents to surrender their child.
The whereabouts of the Ohio Amish girl and her family remain unknown.
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