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Court Won’t Force Child Into Chemo

November 18, 2002

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CANTON, Ohio (AP) _ The parents of a 7-year-old cannot be forced to treat his leukemia with chemotherapy and can pursue a diet-based alternative, a judge ruled Monday.

The parents’ decision was carefully researched and does not constitute neglect, Stark County Family Court Judge David Stucki ruled. ``These are not parents who refused medical treatment or who elected to take Noah to a witch doctor or a shaman,″ he said.

The county’s social services agency had accused Theresa and Greg Maxin of neglect for pulling their son, Noah, out of a 3 1/2-year chemotherapy plan after three months. The Maxins said they were concerned the chemicals would lead to long-term health problems.

The couple switched Noah to a diet-based regimen designed to strengthen his immune system under the guidance of a physician licensed in both family medicine and holistic treatments.

The county’s complaint said the boy’s leukemia, though in remission, could return without further chemotherapy.

Randy Muth, a lawyer for the county family services agency, said officials who consulted with medical experts around the country determined that the holistic approach was inadequate.

Stucki’s ruling ``is not one we agree with, but it’s one that we’re willing to live with,″ Muth said. He said the agency had not yet decided whether to appeal.

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On the Net:

American Holistic Health Association: http://ahha.org

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society: http://www.leukemia-lymphoma.org

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