The Connecticut Supreme Court today upheld a ruling that a 17-year-old cancer patient (referred to in court filings as “Cassandra C.”) cannot refuse chemotherapy treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Despite both the mother and daughter not wanting the chemo treatment – the court has ruled that the teenager must undergo treatment regardless of their wishes.
The state argued that the teen lacked competency extended to maturity and that they did not believe she understood the severity of her prognosis. Her mother and her mother’s lawyer said they expect to go back to trial court to more fully explore the mature minor argument.
The teen, who is identified in court documents as “Cassandra C.,” but was identified by police as Cassandra Callender in a November missing persons report, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in September. At the time, doctors at the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center (CCMC) recommended she receive chemotherapy.
Cassandra ran away after two treatments in November and, with the support of her mother, refused any more when she returned. After the hospital reported Cassandra’s mother, Jackie Fortin, the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) took temporary custody of the teen, and her mother was ordered to cooperate with medical care administered under the agency’s supervision.
The mother said she and her daughter want to use alternative treatments that don’t include “poisonous” chemotherapy.
“This is her decision and her rights, which is what we are here fighting about,” she said. “We should have choices about what to do with our bodies.”
The family are hoping to go back to trial to fight this case even further.
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