Conn. teen who fought cancer treatment heading home from hospital

HARTFORD, Conn. — A 17-year-old Connecticut girl forced by the courts to undergo chemotherapy for her cancer has finished that treatment and was expected to be released Monday from the hospital.

The teen, identified only as Cassandra C, told The Associated Press in a text message that she likely would be discharged from the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center on Monday afternoon.

“I’m at a loss for words with how happy I am that I’m finally coming home,” she said. “This day seemed like it would never come. I can finally start putting my life back together, and I look forward to spending time with my mom, friends and heading back to school/work.”

Doctors say her Hodgkin lymphoma, diagnosed in September, is in remission. Cassandra posted photos Friday after having the ports used to administer the chemo removed from her body.

Cassandra and her mother initially refused the chemotherapy. They have said they wanted to explore more natural alternative treatments.

The state Department of Children and Families stepped in and a Juvenile Court judge removed her from her home and ordered her to undergo chemo.

The case eventually went to the state Supreme Court, which ruled in January that Connecticut wasn’t violating Cassandra’s rights.

The case centered on whether the girl was mature enough to determine how to treat her cancer. Several other states recognize the mature minor doctrine.

Connecticut’s high court found that Cassandra, who ran away during a home visit in November, had demonstrated she did not have the maturity to make her own medical decisions.

Cassandra will be free to make her own medical decisions when she turns 18 in September.

Cassandra has been confined to the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, where she underwent six rounds of treatment that doctors say will give her an 85 percent chance of survival.

She said doctors told her in early March that her cancer was in remission and posted on Facebook that she was grateful she had responded well to the drugs and never wanted to die.

“I stood up and fought for my rights, and I don’t regret it,” she said.

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