Custody battle continues over injured Chichester teen

Vermell Mitchell stands by her son, Mazeratti, who is refusing medications at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital that could help heal his spine after a wrestling injury. The Mitchells received a letter last week from Delaware County's Children and Youth Services saying their son had been taken into protective custody. (Rachel Gouk / Staff Photographer)

The parents of Chichester High School wrestler Mazeratti Mitchell, who suffered a bruised spine last week during practice, are expected to seek a second opinion as they try to prevent doctors at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital from performing surgery, a Delaware County official said after a custody hearing today in Media.

Vermell and Jack Mitchell, who believe in herbal medicines, say their 16-year-old son can be cured with liquid chlorophyll, slippery elm and other natural remedies such as acupuncture, and does not want or need steroids or surgery. But Delaware County Children and Youth Services is seeking custody and a judge's order that would enable hospital doctors to treat him.

A Jefferson doctor, testifying by phone, told Judge Mary Alice Brennan today that Mitchell would remain stable until Thursday, but that six other doctors concur that he needs surgery soon, county Solicitor John McBlain said. The custody hearing was not open to the public or news reporters. McBlain said the family was urged to get a second opinion and that the county still needs the judge's order to perform surgery.

"We would not proceed until we get authorization," McBlain said.

Update: Today's stories.

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