17-year-old forced to undergo chemo

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The 17-year-old girl who was “forced” to undergo chemotherapy to treat Hodgkin lymphoma she was diagnosed with late last year is now in remission.

The state’s Department of Children and Families got involved when the girl made a choice to avoid the treatment due to her personal belief that she didn’t want to poison her body.

Associated Press stories state that without the treatment she could have died within two years, but the treatment provided her with an 85 percent chance to survive, which she has so far.

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The state has a “mature minor doctrine,” which means that children who have not reached the age of 18 are unable to make medical decisions for themselves.

Several viewpoints could be discerned from this story based on how an individual feels about this topic. While it appears the young woman had no intention of giving up on life since she intended to seek alternative treatments, chemotherapy was unanimously recommended by the doctors treating her.

However, if doctors estimated she had two years to live, they could have waited until she turned 18 and let her make up her own mind at that point.

The problem with that course of action is that she may not have really had two years; the doctor’s diagnosis could have been wrong and she could have passed away prior to her 18th birthday.

While some people may see what the state of Connecticut did as a violation of her rights, the Connecticut Supreme Court sees the case differently based on the “mature minor doctrine.”

Personally I see the case from both sides; had she not received the treatment she could have become another statistic.

However, she is being kept in confinement within the local children’s medical center until two more rounds of the treatment have been conducted.

Chemotherapy comes with risks and could lead to several short and long term side effects.