Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Judge lifts order requiring treatment for teen with cancer


Judge lifts order requiring treatment for teen with cancer

Abraham Cherrix

Abraham Cherrix

By ELIZABETH SIMPSON, The Virginian-Pilot
© July 25, 2006 |
Last updated 6:26

ACCOMAC – A 16-year-old Chincoteague boy with Hodgkin's disease was given a reprieve this afternoon from the cancer treatments he doesn’t want.

Accomack County Circuit Court Judge Glen Tyler suspended lower court orders that the parents of Abraham Cherrix report to Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters in Norfolk today and give their consent to whatever treatment the hospital deemed necessary.

Abraham wants to continue an alternative treatment called the Hoxsey method, which consists of herbal supplements and an organic diet. He has been using the method since visiting a clinic that administers the treatment in Tijuana, Mexico, in March

The type of cancer Abraham has is highly treatable in early stages. Abraham had court-ordered X-rays at CHKD in June. He also had a follow-up exam with his doctors at the Biomedical Center in Mexico, where he’s receiving the Hoxsey treatment. Both exams showed that his tumors – one in his neck and one near his windpipe – had grown since February.

The case has drawn sharply divided opinions nationwide, with some maintaining that government has no right to interfere in a family’s health choices, and others believing that Abraham needs to resume chemotherapy to save his life.

Virginia Attorney General Robert McDonnell filed a brief in juvenile court on Monday requesting the order be blocked, pending an appeal.

A new trial has been set for Aug. 16.

A lawyer for Abraham and his parents argued that if the lower court order was allowed to stand, any further legal appeals would be moot.

"Once those doctors take control of Abraham, then the game is over in terms of their appeal that they're entitled to by statute," said John Stepanovich, lawyer for Jay and Rose Cherrix.

Abraham's parents embraced as Tyler lifted the order.

Tyler also ended joint custody of Abraham between his parents and the Accomack County Department of Social Services, which also had been ordered by the lower court judge.

Carl Bundick, an attorney for the department, told the judge the department would not object to a suspension of that order, provided that a new trial would take place quickly.

"What the department is interested in is this young man being cured of cancer," Bundick said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report



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