Family Photo via NBC Connecticut

Court rules Connecticut teen will continue chemotherapy treatment

Updated

The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in a rare expedited hearing Thursday that a 17-year-old girl unwilling to continue receiving care for her cancer diagnosis must continue chemotherapy.

Chief Justice Chase Rogers decided that the girl, identified only as “Cassandra C.,” is not mature under any standard to demand she doesn’t want to receive life-saving treatment, according to NBC News. She will remain at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford in the temporary custody of child-welfare workers to undergo full care, despite her family’s opposition.

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The teen was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma days before her 17th birthday in September. Her attorney took her case to the state’s highest court on Thursday in an attempt to fulfill the girl’s demand to stop receiving medical care.

Doctors previously diagnosed Cassandra with what they called an aggressive — but curable — cancer, and believe her chances of survival are between 80% and 85%. When a surgery didn’t remove the cancer from her body, she endured two rounds of chemotherapy before she requested to stop treatments.

But Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) intervened and continued the treatments physicians say are essential for her survival. 

The teen and her mother, Jackie Fortin, reportedly argued that she should be treated as a “mature minor,” meaning she should have the legal right to reject treatment upon her wishes. But a lower court previously upheld the state’s right to take control of the case.

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In court on Thursday, an attorney for DCF argued Cassandra made irresponsible decisions by reportedly running away and missing doctor appointments.

“Does ‘Coming of Age’ spring in the morning a person turns 18?” the girl’s attorney, Joshua Michtom, said, according to NBC.

Connecticut and Health Care

Court rules Connecticut teen will continue chemotherapy treatment

Updated