Rifqa Bary Will Not Be Forced To Take Chemo

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A Franklin County Court heard arguments late Monday afternoon about medical treatment for a local teen who ran away from home last summer. WOSU reports the girl will not have to take therapy for cancer.

17-year-old Rifqa Bary will not be forced to undergo any more chemotherapy treatments. Juvenile Court Magistrate Mary Goodrich ruled Bary is not currently in a medical emergency and denied her parents’ request to force cancer treatment.

The 17-year-old girl, who turns 18 next week, had a “rare” cancerous tumor removed and underwent several rounds of chemotherapy.

Bary since has stopped chemo treatment. Her attorney, Kort Gotterdam, told the court the treatments made the teen very ill, and she has declined further chemo sessions.

Her parents’ attorney Omar Tarazi said the girl believes she’s cured following a visit with a faith healer. Tarazi said there’s an urgent need for the chemotherapy.

“If she doesn’t do the chemotherapy there’s an extremely likely risk of tumor reoccurrence,” Tarazi said.

Gotterdam rejected Tarazi’s claim. Gotterdam said Bary decided to have the tumor surgically removed and start therapy after she attended a prayer conference when the cancer was first discovered. He said Bary’s decision to quit chemo was not based on faith healing.

“She talked to her doctor. Got a diagnosis that she is disease-free by available imaging techniques, and there’s no immediate threat to her life by not administering chemotherapy,” Gotterdam.

Bary ran away from home last August after she converted from Islam to Christianity with claims her parents threatened to harm her. Her parents vehemently have denied the claims. Investigators found no grounds Bary was in harm’s way.

At question now is if Bary, who remains in foster care, will be able to stay in the U.S. when she turns 18. She’s an undocumented immigrant from Sri Lanka.

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