News State Western Australia Mum ‘denied daughter chemo’

Mum ‘denied daughter chemo’

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A mother who fled Perth with her 10-year-old daughter to prevent her having chemotherapy has told a coronial inquest it was not a mistake to treat her cancer with natural remedies.

Tamar Jemima Stitt was diagnosed with liver cancer in August 2009 and died in El Salvador, Central America, three months later after her parents chose to treat her with natural therapies, including a clay wrap and dandelion herbal tea.

Her mother, Arely Stitt, testified on Thursday that she believed natural remedies would cure her daughter and did not think it was a mistake.

She said her conscience was clear, having done all she could for the girl.

Ms Stitt believed natural remedies would have saved her daughter “without being interrupted” by chemotherapy.

“I strongly believe that if I was given a chance to treat Tamar in a way that I thought was the right way, she’d be here today,” she said.

Ms Stitt said she and her now estranged husband, Trevor, delayed Tamar’s biopsy to give the natural remedies time to work.

“I could see that they were starting to work … when she didn’t complain about the pain that she had,” she said.

Ms Stitt said after the biopsy that Tamar could not walk straight and complained of feeling sore.

But doctors were not consulted because Ms Stitt was not impressed with the heat pack they were using to comfort Tamar in hospital.

“I thought, I can do something better than that,” she said.

The family was originally told Tamar had a 30 per cent chance of being cured and later learnt it was a 50 to 60 per cent chance.

By then, she had already started natural therapies and Ms Stitt believed it was helping.

When Tamar’s appetite lessened, Ms Stitt thought it was because of the biopsy, not the cancer spreading.

Ms Stitt said she had seen other children at the hospital who did not look well after chemotherapy, and she did not want her child to go through the side effects.

She said she wanted chemotherapy for Tamar only if natural remedies did not work, but doctors did not give them a choice.

She said despite being told Tamar would die without chemotherapy, she still had faith in natural remedies.

“You can’t combine natural remedies with chemotherapy,” she said.

Ms Stitt claimed natural remedies had cured her asthma and other illnesses in her family, and denied they were ailments that people often grew out of or healed naturally without medication.

The inquest continues.