Court Says Teen Must Continue Chemo at Hospital

A teenager taken into Connecticut state custody and forced to undergo chemotherapy for Hodgkin's lymphoma against her wishes hoped of leaving the hospital to finish her treatments, but that will not happen.

The motion her attorneys filed was denied on Wednesday and Cassandra C., a 17-year-old Windsor Locks teen, will have to remain in the hospital until she finishes treatments later this month.

The teen, who has been away from home and under the care of the state since the second week of December, never wanted chemotherapy. She pushed back, missing doctor's appointments, and ran away from home, but lost in court and was forced to continue treatment.

Cassandra, who has since gone into remission, says she was willing to go along with chemotherapy but wanted to be reunited with her mother and finish the treatment plan at home.

According to doctors at Connecticut Children's Medical Center, where Cassandra is staying, the teen has an 85 percent chance of survival with chemotherapy.

DCF officials said in a statement in January that they were exploring options for Cassandra to live in a specialized group home when she was released from the hospital.

The state's highest court reviewed the case under an emergency appeal filed by attorneys representing Cassandra and her mother, taking up an issue previously decided by several other states – whether some minors are mature enough to make decisions about their own bodies.

The judges ultimately decided that Cassandra is not mature and needed to continue to receive chemotherapy. She turns 18 in September, a year after her cancer diagnosis.

Earlier this month, Cassandra testified in court through video conference from the hospital in hopes that she would be able to leave the hospital to finish her treatments. On Wednesday, the court denied the motion.

Joette Katz, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families released a statement in response to the decision.

"The Department is looking forward to the day later this month when Cassandra can happily return home after her treatment is completed and the doctors are confident that she has beaten the cancer. We know how difficult this has been for Cassandra and her family, and while we are very pleased with her response to the treatment, we also know this has been a traumatic and scary thing through which she has suffered. We want her to complete her treatment so that she can return home knowing she has put this completely behind her," Katz said in the statement.

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