Doctor blames parents for return of sick girl's cancer

Thirteen year old Katie Wernecke is back in hospital after doctors confirmed the girls Hodgkin's disease had returned.

Katie's doctors are saying that the cancer returned to the 13-year-old girl because her parents' fight to prevent treatment, delayed vital therapy.

At a custody hearing yesterday, Katie's former doctor Dr. Nejemie Alter, who initially diagnosed the illness in January, said she had to end the relationship with Katie because of extensive media coverage.

Alter said the delay in continuing treatment had caused the cancer to return.

Child Protective Services officials were forced to take Katie into custody after doctors told them that the girl's parents were risking her life by refusing radiation therapy for Hodgkin's disease, a type of cancer that involves the lymph nodes.

Despite medical opinion to the contrary the Werneckes believed that four rounds of chemotherapy had destroyed the cancer.

Edward Wernecke, Katie's father, said he feared radiation would increase her risk for breast cancer, stunt her growth, and cause learning problems.

Another factor in the scenario was that the family belong to a religious group which is against blood transfusions unless they are from the mother.

Katie's blood was apparently not compatible with her mother's.

The parents resisted further treatment until they learned about the recurrence, and then agreed to allow her to undergo chemotherapy while they seek custody.

Juvenile Court Judge Carl Lewis said Katie would remain in state custody, and receive the vital treatment.


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