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Mother Can Refuse AIDS Drugs for Son, Maine Court Rules

November 20, 1998| Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine — A mother can refuse to give her HIV-infected son powerful AIDS drugs that she believes could kill him rather than help him, the state Supreme Court decided Thursday.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court unanimously upheld a judge's ruling that Valerie Emerson's refusal to treat her son with a three-drug cocktail does not amount to child abuse or neglect.

But it left the door open for a change if the 4-year-old boy's condition worsens or new medical treatments are developed.

"Neither the parents nor the state should assume that the trial court's decision, affirmed by our opinion today, is necessarily the final word on treatment for Nikolas," Chief Justice Daniel Wathen wrote.

Emerson, who also carries the AIDS virus, passed the virus on to Nikolas at birth. The mother had said that she saw her 3-year-old daughter go through an agonizing death while on the drug AZT, and she did not want Nikolas to suffer the same way.

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