Teen loses fight to use alternative cancer treatment
Friday, July 21, 2006; Posted: 7:53 p.m. EDT (23:53 GMT)
NORFOLK, Virginia (AP) -- A judge ruled Friday that a 16-year-old boy fighting to use alternative treatment for his cancer must report to a hospital by Tuesday and accept treatment that doctors deem necessary, the family's attorney said.
The judge also found that Starchild Abraham Cherrix's parents were neglectful for allowing him to pursue alternative treatment of a sugar-free, organic diet and herbal supplements supervised by a clinic in Mexico, lawyer John Stepanovich said.
Jay and Rose Cherrix of Chincoteague on Virginia's Eastern Shore must continue to share custody of their son with the Accomack County Department of Social Services, as the judge had previously ordered, Stepanovich said.
The parents were devastated by the new order and planned to appeal, the lawyer said.
Stepanovich said he will ask a higher court on Monday to stay enforcement of the order, which requires the parents to take Abraham to Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters in Norfolk, Virginia, and to give the oncologist their written legal consent to treat their son for Hodgkin's disease.
"I want to caution all parents of Virginia: Look out, because Social Services may be pounding on your door next when they disagree with the decision you've made about the health care of your child," Stepanovich said.
Phone calls to the Cherrix home went unanswered.
The lawyer declined to release the ruling, saying juvenile court Judge Jesse E. Demps has sealed much of the case.
Social Services officials have declined to comment, citing privacy laws.
After three months of chemotherapy last year made him nauseated and weak, Abraham rejected doctors' recommendations to go through a second round when he learned early this year that his Hodgkin's disease, a cancer of the lymph nodes, was active again.
A social worker then asked a judge to require the teen to continue conventional treatment. In May, the judge issued a temporary order finding Abraham's parents neglectful and awarding partial custody to the county, with Abraham continuing to live at home with his four siblings.