State forces teen cancer patient to undergo chemo; ‘unprecedented assault on constitutional rights’

Against her will, a Connecticut teenager suffering from cancer is being forced by the state to undergo chemotherapy.

A judge with the state’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of Connecticut Department of Children and Families who took custody of the 17-year-old (known only as Cassandra C.) after the teen, with consent from her mother, refused the treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma that her doctors recommended shortly after being diagnosed last September.

chemoAccording to Cassandra’s mother, Jackie Fortin, her daughter is well informed on the negative effects of what chemo treatments can do to the human body, including sterilization and damage to vital organs. DCF states that according to her doctors, treatment is necessary and must begin immediately in order for the teen to survive.

Shortly after being diagnosed, Cassandra initially received two chemo treatments before running away, only to return days later to refuse any further intervention by the hospital. DCF was then called in by the hospital to intervene on the patient’s behalf.

Attorney Michael S. Taylor, who represents the mother, says this is an unprecedented assault on constitutional rights.

“The right to have a say over what happens to your body—and the right to say to the government ‘you can’t control what happens to my body’” is what is at stake here, Taylor said.

Taylor further cited, “the Supreme Court of the state has never ruled on this issue, the Supreme Court of the United States has not ruled on this issue. So it’s very significant not just for our client, and for the minor child, but for the law in general,”

Cassandra and her mother argue that Connecticut’s common law and public policy does not allow an agency like DCF to force medical treatment over informed objection by the patient.

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Michele Holt

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