The West

Denying girl chemo not wrong choice
Tamar Stitt died after she was taken to El Salvador for alternative remedies. Picture: Sunday Night

The father of a 10-year-old girl who died after she was taken to El Salvador for alternative remedies instead of the chemotherapy offered in Australia to treat her liver cancer this morning refused to accept it had been the wrong choice.

Trevor Stitt broke down in tears while giving evidence in the Coroner's Court in Perth, describing his daughter Tamar as a bright girl who had the wonderful quality of being naive.

"She understood a lot that was going on," Mr Stitt said.

"She was a very bright girl. That was backed up by what we were told by her teachers. She was a hard worker.

"God I wish she was here now."

Mr Stitt told the court that his role in decision making about his daughter's treatment had been diminished after the family went to El Salvador and his mother-in-law seemed to have completely taken over the situation.

He did not accept that his 10-year-old daughter was incapable of making her own decision about whether or not to have chemotherapy treatment, but said it was his understanding that the law did not allow this.

Asked whether he now accepted that it was wrong to choose the alternative remedies in El Salvador over the chemotherapy offered in Australia, Mr Stitt said: "I am not going to accept that it was wrong. We did what we thought was right at the time."

Tamar was diagnosed with a massive liver cancer, which had spread into her lungs, in August 2009.

Her parents were advised by Princess Margaret Hospital doctor Angela Alessandri that Tamar required chemotherapy, but her family decided they wanted to pursue natural remedies instead of aggressive treatment.

PMH launched Supreme Court action seeking orders that Tamar be presented to receive chemotherapy, but in the interim she was taken to El Savador.

Overseas, she was treated with red clay mud wraps, dandelion tea and a diet of fresh food and fish.

She died of septic shock on November 12, 2009.

In video footage from a Channel 7 interview played to the court this morning, Mr Stitt said the decision not to pursue chemotherapy had been strongly motivated by concerns about his daughter's quality of life.

"I hope something comes out of this, I hope government and the establishment can just leave us alone," Mr Stitt said in the footage played to the court.

The hearing continues.

The West Australian

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