Can Connecticut Force A Teenager To Have Chemotherapy?

A Connecticut court will rule on whether a 17-year-old girl with cancer can refuse treatment.






For the past month, Cassandra, a 17-year-old Connecticut girl diagnosed with cancer, has been held at a local hospital, undergoing chemotherapy treatment against her wishes. 

A court gave the state Department of Children and Families temporary custody of Cassandra, as well as the authority to make medical decisions for the teen. The ruling came when doctors reported her mother, Jackie Fortin, for neglect. The issue involves missed medical appointments and arguments with doctors over her daughter's diagnosis.

Fortin says it's her daughter's right to refuse chemotherapy, saying she doesn't want to poison her body. "This is not about death," she says. "My daughter is not going to die. This is about, 'This is my body, my choice, and let me decide.' "

Cassandra had to be restrained by hospital staff and “put up a fight,” according to her mother, when she had a prep surgery for her chemo, reports the Hartford Courant. 

Cassandra's doctors say that without treatment, she will die from Hodgkin lymphoma. The cancer is lethal without the recommended treatment. With treatment, she has an 85 percent chance of survival.

Connecticut's Supreme Court has said they will rule quickly if the teen is competent to make her own medical decisions. Otherwise, she'll remain in DCF custody continuing treatment until she turns 18 in September. 

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