Cassandra-Jackie-Forton

17 year old Cassandra with mother Jackie Forton. Image courtesy NBC Connecticut.

UPDATE:

1/8/2015 – Connecticut State Supreme court sided with the Department of Children and Families and determined Cassandra must remain in state custody to continue forced chemotherapy. More.

Health Impact News Editor Comments

Several local news media in Connecticut are reporting that a 17 year old girl who is refusing chemo therapy and seeking a second opinion has been taken into custody by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families and been physically forced to have chemo therapy against her desire. Cassandra’s mother, Jackie Forton, supported her daughter’s decision, and as a result of disagreeing with the doctors, lost custody of her daughter.

“It’s her constitutional right – she doesn’t want poison and toxins put in her body. It’s her choice and I support her decision,” Fortin said. (Source.)

According to the Hartford Courant, Cassandra is being home-schooled and is considered a senior, and has been diagnosed with “stage 3/4” Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

After Cassandra had a portion of her lymph node surgically removed at the hospital, mom and daughter left the hospital against medical advice. Fortin said they were going to seek a second opinion in another state – but the CCMC doctors, who are mandated reporters, called DCF and raised an issue of parental medical neglect. DCF went to Superior Court and won custody and permission to proceed with treatment. (Source.)

NBC Connecticut interviewed the mother:

“When you think about what freedom means,” said Taylor (family attorney), “a big part of it means being able to say to the government, ‘You can’t tell me what to do with my own body.’” (Source.)

The case will reportedly go before the Connecticut Supreme Court this coming week. The Supreme Court said that it would rule whether “DCF (is) properly authorized to make medical decisions on (the) child’s behalf, and whether (a) 17-year-old must receive medical treatment against her wishes.”

According to the Hartford Courant, Cassandra was forced physically to comply with doctor’s orders:

Cassandra and her mother initially complied with the court order and the teenager received her first two chemotherapy treatments in November. But Cassandra “subsequently ran away from home to avoid further treatment” the summary states.

When she returned, she continued to refuse the treatment, the summary says.

Fortin said that Cassandra “put up a fight” and had to be strapped down on the hospital bed to have preparatory surgery before the chemotherapy began, and that she has not been permitted to leave the hospital room in about four weeks.

Connecticut Governor Malloy’s telephone number is (860) 566-4840 and his website says your opinion matters to him and that you can email him here.

References

The Hartford Courant

NBC Connecticut

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