Ohio Court Approves Chemotherapy for Young Cancer Patient
Jan. 14, 1986
CINCINNATI (AP) _ State appeals court today granted a hospital permission to perform chemotherapy on a 7-year-old boy suffering from bone cancer, but temporarily blocked doctors from performing surgery.
Doctors at Children's Hospital Medical Center have said David Willmann could die unless he is treated for the cancer that has swelled his left arm. His parents, Douglas and Lori Willmann, object to medical treatment on religious grounds.
The Ohio 1st District Court of Appeals granted the hospital permission to administer chemotherapy, but also granted the parents' request for an order blocking surgery at least until the court conducts a full hearing in the case.
The Willmanns, of suburban Montgomery, say their faith teaches them that Jesus Christ is already healing their son, and they contend that medical treatment for him has greater risks than benefits, including loss of hair, loss of hearing and possible damage of other bodily functions.
Doctors say they plan to perform chemotherapy for six weeks on David, then will review his progress to determine whether to perform surgery that could involve amputating the boy's left arm and part of his left shoulder.
''The hospital can live with those orders,'' Deborah Lydon, one of the hospital's lawyers, said of today's ruling. ''Obviously, if anything changes, we will react to that.''
The Willmanns did not answer telephone calls.
Judge John O'Connor of the Hamilton County Juvenile Court on Saturday gave the hospital permission to proceed with chemotherapy, and surgery if needed, on the boy. That order was appealed, leading to today's ruling.
Barbara Kuller, a Cincinnati lawyer appointed by O'Connor as the boy's legal guardian, told the appeals court she supports the hospital's decision to treat him.
''Much has been made of parents' rights here. I urge the court to consider David's rights,'' Ms. Kuller said.