Do Not Force Chemotherapy on Sick Teenager


Target: Joette Katz, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families

Goal: Don’t force 17-year-old cancer patient to undergo chemotherapy against her will

A 17-year-old girl has been forced by a court to undergo chemotherapy to treat Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer. The girl, named Cassandra, decided against the treatment, which can cause a multitude of side effects that can seriously decrease one’s quality of life. Because she is a few months under the majority age in her state, the Connecticut Department of Children and Families stepped in to take custody of her through the court system and force the treatments on her.

Chemotherapy can cause nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and dehydration, resulting in a weakened body and fatigue. Inflamed veins and mucous membranes can cause serious pain and soreness near injection sites or throughout the body. This, combined with hair loss and drastic changes to one’s physical appearance can make treatment more unpleasant than the cancer itself.

Particularly when a prognosis is poor, many adults choose not to undergo chemotherapy treatment. Without the treatment, some feel that they can enjoy the remainder of their lives in a more dignified and comfortable manner. Because Cassandra is still 17, she is being denied the control over her life that she would get if she was only a few months older.

Cassandra, with the help of her parents, is trying to do what is best for herself in what could possibly be her last years of life. Taking away her medical autonomy is tantamount to taking away her dignity and her right to enjoy her life. Sign the petition below to demand that the state child protection agency stop its attempts to force chemotherapy treatments on a teenage cancer victim.


Dear Ms. Joette Katz,

The Connecticut Department of Children is forcong Cassandra, a 17-year-old girl, to undergo chemotherapy against her will. Chemotherapy can cause side effects ranging from flu-like symptoms to organ failure, ongoing pain, and weakness.

Some adults will opt out of treatment, particularly when their prognosis looks bleak. This allows them to live the remainder of their lives in comfort as opposed to being bedridden and unable to enjoy their final months. Because Cassandra is not yet 18, she is being denied the right to make her own medical decisions.

Cassandra’s decision was not made hastily, and she has the support of her parents and her family to live out her days as she pleases. We, the undersigned, demand that you show some compassion to this sick teenager and halt all forced chemotherapy treatments.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Linda Bartlett via Public Domain

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