Connecticut Teen With Curable Cancer Must Continue Chemo: Court
A 17-year-old Connecticut girl with a highly curable cancer is not mentally competent to make her own medical decisions and will continue to receive the chemotherapy treatments she’s battled to halt, the Connecticut Supreme Court ordered Thursday.
Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers ruled that the teen — listed only as Cassandra C. in legal records — is not mature by any standard.
That means Cassandra will remain at a Hartford hospital, in the temporary custody of child-welfare workers, and will receive her full course of chemotherapy to treat Hodgkin lymphoma. Doctors have said her odds at recovery are 80 to 85 percent with chemo, but that she will die without it.
Cassandra, diagnosed in September, had sought to avoid chemo treatments because she views the medicine as “poison.” Her mother, Jackie Fortin, has said she support’s her daughter’s decision.
But recent behaviors and actions by Cassandra’s mother — including several skipped oncology appointments and exams — were cited by state lawyers Thursday as they asserted the teen is too immature to make life-altering decisions.
“The mother took the front seat on this,” John E. Tucker, assistant Connecticut attorney general, testified before the panel. “She (Fortin) didn’t bring her to the first medical appointment.
“The child was very quiet, did not engage in conversations during the medical appointments. And for a 17-year-old, as you can imagine, that’s a little bit unusual,” Tucker added. “Really, the mother did all of the talking and sort of the fighting with the medical personnel. And so, really, the child stands in the shadow of her mother here. She’s not an independent decision maker.
“It was really the mother driving the bus.”
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