Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Amish girl cuts off contact amid chemo case

28 November 2013, 07:46

Ohio - A 10-year-old Amish girl with leukaemia and her parents haven't contacted a guardian appointed two months ago to make medical decisions for the girl after her parents stopped her chemotherapy treatments, the guardian's attorney said on Wednesday.

It's unclear whether the girl has resumed treatments, and there are indications that the family has left its farm in rural Ohio.

The girl, Sarah Hershberger, has not restarted treatments at Akron Children's Hospital, said Clair Dickinson, the guardian's attorney. He said it's not known whether she is undergoing chemotherapy anywhere else.

Doctors at the Akron hospital believe Sarah's leukaemia is treatable but say she will die without chemotherapy. The hospital went to court after the family decided to stop chemotherapy and treat Sarah with natural medicines, such as herbs and vitamins.

An appeals court ruling in October gave an attorney who's also a registered nurse limited guardianship over Sarah and the power to make medical decisions for her. The court said the beliefs and convictions of her parents can't outweigh the rights of the state to protect the child.

The family has appealed the decision to both the appeals court and the Ohio Supreme Court.

Messages seeking comment were left on Wednesday with attorneys representing the family.

One of the attorneys, John Oberholtzer, told The Medina Gazette he has been in contact with the family but does not know its whereabouts or whether the girl is being treated.

Dickinson, the guardian's attorney, said that shortly after the appeals court ruling, a taxi was sent to the family's home near the village of Spencer. The taxi was to take Sarah to the hospital in Akron, but someone at the home said the family was not there, Dickinson said.

County officials said the family was not at the farm during a welfare check in late October, The Gazette reported.

Dickinson said there are no plans to ask the court to find the family or force the girl into chemotherapy while the case is being appealed.

He said Sarah's last known chemotherapy session was in June, and that doctors have said she could die within a year if treatments don't resume.

"I'm very concerned about her," he said.

Andy Hershberger, the girl's father, said this past summer that the family agreed to begin two years of treatments for Sarah last spring but stopped a second round of chemotherapy in June because it was making her extremely sick.

Sarah begged her parents to stop the chemo and they agreed after a great deal of prayer, Hershberger said. The family, members of an insular Amish community, shuns many facets of modern life and is deeply religious.

Hospital officials have said they are morally and legally obligated to make sure the girl receives proper care. They said the girl's illness, lymphoblastic lymphoma, is an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, but there is a high survival rate with treatment.

- AP

Tags us health

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...