Amish Family Flee Forced Chemo for Daughter

Doctors warn Ohio girl could die within a year
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 28, 2013 12:58 AM CST
Updated Nov 28, 2013 2:10 AM CST
Court records say the family stopped chemo when they saw the side effects it had on their daughter.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – An Amish family has fled their farm in Ohio after a court battle with authorities who want to force their 10-year-old daughter to resume chemotherapy treatments for her leukemia. The family, who operate a produce stand south of Cleveland, has not been seen since before an appeals court last month granted a nurse the authority to make medical decisions for Sarah Hershberger instead of her parents, reports the Medina-Gazette. The deeply religious family agreed to chemotherapy treatments for Sarah last year but decided against a second round of treatment after the first one made her extremely sick and she begged her parents to stop it.

The family's lawyer says they left the US to seek alternative treatment in September and are now back in the country—he doesn't know where, but they call "periodically from an undisclosed location using someone else's phone," and they say Sarah is responding well to alternative treatments. Hospital authorities say they have a moral and legal obligation to ensure the girl gets proper care, the AP reports. In court, doctors testified that Sarah could die within a year without treatment but chemo would give her an 85% chance of survival. The county sheriff isn't looking for the family. "It would take a court order for us to get involved," he says, "and I'm not anticipating a court order." (Read more Amish stories.)

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