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Judge ends guardianship in case of Amish girl who refused care

MEDINA, Ohio — A judge formally ended the court-ordered guardianship of an Amish girl who resisted a hospital’s attempts to force her to resume chemotherapy, bringing a close to the fight that raised questions about the rights of parents in making medical decisions for their children.

The judge’s decision, announced Friday, came more than a year after Sarah Hershberger’s guardian gave up her efforts to force the girl into chemotherapy for leukemia. Sarah and her parents went into hiding in the fall of 2013.

Sarah, who is now 12, no longer shows signs of being sick, said Kevin Dunn, a probate judge in Medina County. A visit to her home in August found that Sarah was ‘‘active and working daily on the family farm, she appeared healthy and appropriately developed,’’ he wrote.

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But Dunn cautioned her parents that she is not fully recovered and warned that they still have a duty to provide her care under Ohio law.

Maurice Thompson, the Hershbergers’ attorney, said in a statement that ‘‘Sarah’s good health bolsters the case against forced health care that we supposedly cannot live without.’’

The court fight began in 2013, when Sarah’s parents feared chemotherapy was killing her. The hospital had said she would die within a year if not treated.

ASSOCIATED PRESS