CLEVELAND Aug 28 An Ohio hospital will get
another chance to argue for the right to resume chemotherapy
treatments on a 10-year-old Amish girl with leukemia against her
parents' wishes, a state appeals court ruled.
The decision on Tuesday sends the case back for a new
hearing before Medina County Judge John Lohn, the same judge who
had previously rejected the Akron Children's Hospital's request
The hospital in a statement on Wednesday said it would
respect Lohn's decision after the next hearing, which has not
yet been scheduled.
The girl's parents discontinued her treatment in June after
she underwent the first of five prescribed rounds of
chemotherapy at the hospital. Akron Children's Hospital then
asked Lohn to appoint a temporary medical guardian for her.
Lohn in late July rejected the request, finding that "there
is not a scintilla of evidence showing the parents are unfit."
The appeals court ruled, however, that Lohn neglected to
consider the interests of the girl, identified only by her
initials "S.H.", when he denied temporary medical guardianship
to Maria Schimer, a former nurse and practicing attorney.
The appeals court said there was no requirement that the
trial court find the parents to be unfit or unsuitable before
appointing a guardian based on the girl's interest.
The appeals court had also ruled that her treatments should
resume while the legal process continues.
The girl had begged her parents to stop the chemotherapy
treatments, which they had said caused terrible side effects,
and Schimer applied to be her guardian after that. The family
lives near Akron.
The hospital's chief medical officer, Dr. Robert McGregor,
said the girl was diagnosed in late April with T-cell
lymphoblastic lymphoma, which he said has an 85 percent survival
She would have to undergo tests to determine how her disease
has progressed since it has been two months since her last
treatment, McGregor said in an interview.
John Oberholtzer, an attorney who represents the girl and
her parents, Andy and Anna Hershberger, said she has been back
once for a CAT scan.
Oberholtzer said the Hershberger's want to leave the girl's
future in God's hands and aren't convinced of the survival rate.
They are also worried about long-term side effects including
infertility and organ damage.
"They don't consider that to be much of survival,"
"The Hershbergers have been extremely put off by the
aggressive nature of the hospital," he said. "Parental rights
(Editing by David Bailey and Lisa Shumaker)