Virginia Teen Gets To Choose Cancer Treatment

By: Michael Gorsegner
By: Michael Gorsegner

August 16, 2006

After a court battle that lasted months, finally a Virginia teen got his wish and will treat his cancer the way he wants. Abraham Cherrix has been not only battling Hodgekins Disease, but also the Virginia Social Services system for months. He is looking for alternative ways to treat his cancer, and on Wednesday that wish was granted.

"I'm very happy about today. I'm very happy about this outcome. It's all over. Everything we fought for, everything we ever wanted to ever have, we've won," said Starchild Abraham Cherrix.

Cherrix is an elated young man. The 16-year-old with his parents by his side signed an agreement with Virginia Social Services that will allow him to seek alternative ways to treat his Hodgkin's Disease. However, this decision does not answer some questions in the medical community.

"I was a little disappointed in that I would have liked to have heard what the judge thought about Abraham's decision making," said Dr. Robert Boyle.

Doctor Boyle heads UVA Medical Center's Ethical Committee and said this case was tough. The case pitted the patents wish, in this case a minor, against the orders of the doctor.

"We all want to be advocates for the child. When he gets to be an adolescent, we still want to be his advocate but [recognize] that he should play a role," Dr. Boyle said.

But in the end, Dr. Boyle thinks this a perfect example of the system working in the best interest of the patient.

"It's a good example of how the system works. In this case, it seems to have worked in a reasonable way," he said.

The agreement states that Cherrix can seek treatment from an Oncologist Board Certified in radiation therapy with an interest in alternative therapy. At this point, Cherrix said the doctor and he have discussed radiation but are not jumping to any conclusions.

Cherrix and his family must show proof of the treatments every three months until he is 18 or until he is in remission.

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