Katie's Getting Vitamin Therapy
By Kathryn Garcia Caller-Times
November 8, 2005
Cancer patient Katie Wernecke's father hopes the 13-year-old's first intravenous Vitamin C treatment on Monday will save her life.
"We're hoping that it will help her body heal and her immune system will take over and maybe it will extend her life and cure the cancer," said Edward Wernecke.
Wernecke said Katie will undergo another round of intravenous Vitamin C today and a final round Wednesday before Dr. Ron Hunninghake of the Kansas Center for the Improvement of Human Functioning International in Wichita, Kan., can evaluate the treatment's results.
Hunninghake said the treatment is not an alternative to chemotherapy and radiation treatments but should be used with conventional methods. He said Vitamin C is toxic to cancer cells and boosts one's immune system, helping patients fight the effects of other more common cancer treatments.
Katie, who was unavailable for comment Monday, was released to her parent's custody Friday after being in state custody since June 4 after her parents refused radiation treatment fearing its side effects. She had been staying with a foster family in Houston and undergoing state-authorized chemotherapy treatments at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston for her Hodgkin's disease, a lymphatic cancer. CPS has been dismissed from Katie's case.
The young girl's chances of survival have dropped from 80 percent in August to as low as 20 percent because of delays in treatment, Katie's treating pediatric oncologist Robert Wells of M.D. Anderson said at a hearing last week.
Katie is scheduled to return to M.D. Anderson for a checkup Nov. 14 and a radiation consultation Nov. 16. Wells has said high dosages of Vitamin C could hinder the effects of radiation treatment.
Hunninghake said Wells' theory is a common misunderstanding, one that has been disproved in several studies by the center.
"We think this treatment is going to increase her survivability," Hunninghake said. "It's increasing her chance of getting well and improving her quality of life."
Wernecke said that until Hunninghake evaluates the results of the Vitamin C treatment, he is unsure whether Katie will go to Houston next week for her appointments. Katie's return to her Agua Dulce home, where Katie's mother and three brothers are, also hasn't been determined, he said.
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