With the federal government taking more control over healthcare, many are worried about “death panels” and care being withheld from patients who need it. A case in Connecticut gives an example of the opposite: care being forced on someone who doesn’t want it.

Cassandra is 17 years old and has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She started chemotherapy, but had such a bad experience she decided to stop. Her mom supported her decision because of all the negative side effects of chemo. They wanted to pursue alternate treatments.

But the state stepped in and decided that Cassandra and her mom had no right to make that decision. The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that she must continue treatment, whether she wants to or not.

Cassandra says she was forcibly removed from her home and has been confined in the CT Children’s Hospital against her will for a month. A guard is posted at her door. The LA Times reports:

A week into her stay, she said, she was strapped to a bed by her wrists and ankles and sedated. When she awoke, she found a port surgically placed in her chest.

“She hasn’t been convicted of a crime, but it’s kind of like she’s in jail,” said Joshua Michtom, an assistant public defender and Cassandra’s lawyer. “It’s an especially lousy way to go through chemo.”

In many states, a minor who is deemed sufficiently mature has the right to make their own medical decisions. Connecticut did not recognize the “mature minor doctrine” in this case, although 17-year-olds in the state are permitted to access contraception, have an abortion, seek psychiatric care, or donate blood without parental consent.

Cassandra will turn 18 in September, at which point she can stop treatment as an adult or appeal the court’s decision. But by then, she’ll have paid with almost a year of imprisonment in a hospital room.

About The Author

Mark Meckler

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at MarkMeckler.com, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.

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