Jan 04 2015

Connecticut Teen Forced to Undergo Chemo Against Her Will

Cassandra C forced to undergo chemo

17-year-old Cassandra C, who is being forced to undergo chemo treatments against her will

A 17-year old girl – named only “Cassandra C” in court documents – is being forced to undergo chemotherapy against her will by the state’s child protection agency, the Department of Children and Families (DCF).

In September, Cassandra was diagnosed with late stage Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Doctors recommended she undergo chemotherapy as treatment, but the teen refused. Her mother supported her in her decision and told the hospital that they were going to seek a second opinion – but doctors weren’t satisfied and reported the family to DCF under charges of “medical negligence.” The state held a hearing in November, and granted DCF temporary custody of the teen. The court ordered that Cassandra’s mother, Jackie Fortin, “to provide and cooperate with medical care under DCF’s supervision and as recommended by her doctors.”

Under DCF custody, Cassandra was forced to undergo chemotherapy treatments at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. After her first two treatments, Cassandra ran away from home in order to avoid further treatment.

However, her attempt to avoid treatment – treatment that she did not want – only increased DCF’s grip on the case. Cassandra was subsequently removed from the home.Her mother is now allowed to visit only twice a week for two hours. All her visits are supervised by DCF, and the state agency has been granted authority to make all medical decisions concerning the teen.

According to her mother, Cassandra has even been strapped down to a hospital bed for some of these procedures. She has not been permitted to leave her hospital room for approximately four weeks.

Cassandra and her mother are appealing the decision all the way to the state’s Supreme Court. Their attorney, Michael S. Taylor, hopes that the court will adopt the “mature minor doctrine” and allow Cassandra power over her own medical decisions. The doctrine holds that, unless a teen is found incompetent, they should be allowed control over their bodies. Taylor argues that if teens in Connecticut are allowed to drive at age 16, are allowed abortions without parental consent, and can be charged for crimes as an adult, they should also be able to make decisions about their bodies and medical treatment. As of 2013, 17 states had adopted various forms of mature minor doctrine – however, Connecticut is not one of them.

The case is set to be heard in court Thursday, January 8. DCF has refused all comment around the case due to legal reasons. The hospital’s only comment is that they are working closely with DCF and that any comment would be a violation of HIPAA guidelines.


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  1. Dave Hardin

    What were her reasons for refusing treatment?

    1. LibertyDoll

      None of the articles I read disclosed that, and it’s not in the court documents that have been made public.

      1. Marcia

        She has been diagnosed with late stage Hodgkins. Late Stage usually means that there is a less than a 5% chance of survival, even if all medical measures are being taken. The stark reality is that she is dying. The odds indicate that she will die even if she has chemo. not just that she may die even if she has chemo, or any other extreme measure that the state determines she must undergo. I presume she chose not to have chemo because she wants some quality time before she does die, instead of suffering the effects of the chemotherapy, which most likely will kill her faster than if she didn’t undergo the treatments. Chemotherapy is, after all, treatment consisting of the literal poisoning of the body to kill the cancer. The chemicals they use are not meant to support the body’s functions, nor are they target-specific. Most just work faster at killing cancer cells than healthy cells, so people who go into it relatively healthy, or in the earlier stages can recover from the systemic damage from the chemicals.

      2. ClownyBobby

        In the article above, it says she wanted a second opinion.

        I agree thought, she should be able to make her own medical decisions and not forced by the government.

    2. John OB

      doesn’t fucking matter.

      she and her parents decided they wanted a second opinion, she didn’t want to go through chemo.

      end of fucking story.

      instead the state kidnaps her and tortures her.

  2. Tim

    Do they have a contact number?

    1. LibertyDoll

      DCF has offices in every county with different phone numbers, and I’m not sure which office it’s out of. This is the main address and number: Address: 395 West Main Street, Waterbury, CT 06702
      Phone:(203) 759-7000
      This is the contact info for the hospital: 282 Washington Street, Hartford, CT 06106
      (860) 545-9000

  3. Marcia

    I’m sure all this poor girl wanted was to have some quality time before her death, instead of spending it with needles and tubes in her arms, puking her guts out till her esophogus hemorrhages, losing wieght, losing energy, losing her hair, and yet still losing the battle because late stage Hodgkins Lympohma is as good as a death sentence no matter what the doctors say… And now she’s going to lose all of that, plus the loving support of her mother, her freedom, her autonomy as an individual, and ultimately her life.. and it it’s place she’s getting the cold, arbibrary, angry abuse of the state of CT until either someone shows some sense, compassion and reason or until she dies. Because that is the reality of her illness. She’s faced it. It seems to me that her doctors and the state are in denial, probably because it benefits them all to exert force in this case so as to ensure the ease of assuming control of later cases without the use of force. The hospital should be so proud that they’ve reduced this precious individual life to a stastic, all whle ensuring more government money for the cancer wing as long as she survives in their care. Can you imagine the jacked up bills that they’re sending the state for her incarceration, since there is no one to check the billing who doesn’t have a vested interest in this girl remaining a prisoner of the state? What they are doing literally makes me nauseous.

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