Katie refuse cancer treatment, Judge postpones decision on chemo
Katie refuses cancer treatment
Judge postpones decision on chemo
By Kathryn Garcia Caller-Times
September 7, 2005
Cancer patient Katie Wernecke, 13, is refusing treatment by trying to pull catheters from her arm and told a judge Tuesday she wants to go home after being in state custody for four months.
"First off, I'd rather be home," Katie said from Houston via speakerphone during a hearing Tuesday before asking to speak in private with Juvenile Judge Carl Lewis.
Lewis postponed a decision on whether to allow high-dose chemotherapy until a hearing Friday to allow Katie's parents, Edward and Michele Wernecke, to obtain another medical opinion.
Katie has been in the care of Child Protective Services since June 4 after her parents refused radiation treatments for her Hodgkin's disease, a cancer of the lymph nodes. Katie is at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston where doctors recommend she undergo high-dose chemotherapy, which will kill the tumor. The treatment will weaken her immune system requiring her to remain in isolation for several weeks, said Assistant County Attorney Thomas Stuckey, who represents the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
She has been able to visit her parents while in foster care, but Stuckey asked the judge to bar any visits or communication with her parents.
"The more contact she has with Mr. Wernecke, the more uncooperative she is with treatment," Stuckey said. "She is deliberately and intentionally sabotaging her own treatment. Mr. Wernecke has convinced his daughter that the therapy will kill her." [Comment -sorry, none of this is true, Katie has made her own choice from information the doctors told her -Edward]
Lewis denied Stuckey's request. He also denied a request from Katie's family that she be returned to them until the Friday hearing.
Katie's caseworker Stella Klein said Katie is resisting the treatments, which were set to begin Sept. 1, by attempting to pull out her catheter, refusing to let medical staff take her pulse and blood pressure and drinking at times when her treatments require she not drink or eat.
Katie is seeing a psychologist at M.D. Anderson who specializes in children with cancer to help her understand the importance of the treatments, Stuckey said.
Stuckey said M.D. Anderson will not force her to undergo treatments, but doctors there have said Katie will die if she doesn't undergo the high-dose chemotherapy to kill off the remaining tumor.
The Werneckes' lawyer Daniel Horne said the Werneckes are seeking additional medical opinions from a cancer research expert at Johns Hopkins University and a doctor at Texas Children's Hospital. The treatment recommendations are expected to be complete by Friday, Horne said.
Horne said Katie's medical records were not released to the Werneckes until last week. The status hearing was postponed from July 25 after attorneys for Katie's parents requested more time to obtain her medical records.
"Give us an opportunity to talk to an expert and my clients will live with what this expert says," Horne said. .....
Contact Kathryn Garcia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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