Judge to rule on injured Delco athlete

Posted: February 08, 2011

Everyone wants what's best for Mazerrati Mitchell, 16, the Chichester High School student hospitalized since last week with a bruised spine that he suffered during wrestling practice.

But what is best for "Maz"? And who decides? The government or his naturopath parents?

Vermell and Jack Mitchell were back in court yesterday, trying to block doctors at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital from performing surgery on their son.

The Boothwyn parents of eight children say that Mazerrati, who was briefly paralyzed last Tuesday after his head collided with another wrestler's, doesn't need or want extensive treatment and can be healed with noninvasive procedures and natural remedies such as liquid chlorophyll, slippery elm and echinacea.

But Delaware County Children and Youth Services has taken temporary custody of Mazerrati and is asking county Judge Mary Alice Brennan to give doctors the authority to perform surgery – against his own wishes and those of his parents.

"They're trying to take away the rights of the parents to make decisions about their children," said Linda Beck, whose grandson plays football with Mazerrati.

Beck and other family friends waited outside the Media courtroom yesterday during the custody hearing, which was closed to the public. The Mitchells are expected to seek a second opinion before Brennan decides on the surgery, likely this week.

Delaware County Solicitor John McBlain said that a Jefferson doctor, testifying by phone, told him that Mazerrati would remain stable until Thursday, but that six other doctors agreed that he needs surgery soon. McBlain said that doctors wouldn't act without Brennan's authorization.

Michael Nix, the Mitchells' attorney, said after the hearing that the family is not backing down.

"We're trying to do what's best for Maz," Nix said.

"That's what we're here for, and that's what we're going to continue to go after."

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