Akron Children's Hospital wins appeal

11:02 PM, Aug 28, 2013   |    comments
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The legal battle continues between Akron Children's Hospital and the parents of a 10-year-old Amish girl dying of cancer.      

Just weeks ago a Medina County probate judge ruled in favor of the girl's parents, Andy and Anna Hershberger. 

However on Tuesday an Ohio appeals court reversed that decision ruling in favor of Akron Children's Hospital, who now is seeking temporary guardianship over Sarah Hershberger to continue chemotherapy treatments.

Doctors say chemo could mean life or death for Sarah, but her Amish parents believe their faith in God can overcome modern science and are opting for a more holistic approach.

"Although there's all these dire medical predictions they (Sarah's parents) would refute that by saying this is matter beyond the province of mortal man," explained attorney John Oberholtzer, who is representing Sarah's parents.  "You have to have a kind of faith that a lot of us don't have...they absolutely have that faith."

Oberholtzer says his clients are now strongly considering asking the Ohio Supreme Court to weigh in on the case.   He also believes the potential legal precedent this case could set will impact families all over with regards to who should have the last word over a child's medical decisions when life or death is on the line.

"You need to think about that as a parent, and you can say this is isolated to somebody who is Amish... that's not quite right...if this can happen to Sarah Hershberger this can happen to anybody," said Oberholtzer.

On Wednesday Akron Children's Hospital released the following statement about the Ohio appeals court decision.

"Akron Children's Hospital is hopeful the Medina County Probate Court will decide it is in the best interest of this child to award limited guardianship. The guardian can then decide what course of treatment is in her best interest. The hospital will respect the court's ruling.

Our goal is to ensure that this child, like all children in our care, receives the most appropriate care, based on scientific evidence. Chemotherapy presents children with lymphoblastic lymphoma with their best, and essentially only, hope for survival.

There has never been an allegation of parental unfitness, nor has the hospital or anyone else requested legal or physical custody of this child. This involves a disagreement between providers and parents over what course of treatment is best for their child."



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