- The Washington Times - Friday, January 9, 2015

The 17-year-old Connecticut girl who lost her state Supreme Court battle to make her own medical decisions about her cancer — and now must take chemotherapy treatments — penned an opinion piece for her local newspaper expressing outrage at the legal order.

“I want the right to make my medical decisions,” Cassandra C. wrote, in the Hartford Courant. “It’s disgusting that I’m fighting for a right that I and anyone in my situation should already have. This is my life and my body, not the DCF’s [Department of Children and Families] and not the state’s. I am a human — I should be able to decide if I do or don’t want chemotherapy. Whether I live 17 years or 100 years should not be anyone’s choice but mine.”

The teen — who’s only named as Cassandra C. in court records — was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in September, sparking national discourse when she soon after told doctors she didn’t want to take chemo because that form of treatment was “poison,” she said, NBC News reported. Her mother, Jackie Fortin, supported her daughter’s decision.

State authorities contested that medical decision and in December, removed Cassandra C. from her mother’s home. Staffers with the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center began forcibly treating her with chemo — taking her phone and cutting all contact between her and her mother in the process, NBC News reported, citing court records.

The family sued, and the state’s highest court ruled in favor of the government.

Cassandra C. described the experience as “a continuous nightmare,” in the Hartford Courant.

She also said, in her opinion piece: “How long is a person actually supposed to live, and why? Who determines that? I care about the quality of my life, not just the quantity.”

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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