Children can decide their medical treatments under Victoria’s unique advance directive laws
For instance, in Sydney a 17-year-old boy refused to receive blood transfusions because of his beliefs as a Jehovah’s Witness. The judge overruled the child’s decision after having considered preserving his life was was more powerful than respect for the boy’s faith.
A similar case occurred in England in 1993. Here, a 15-year-old boy, whom the judge described as “intelligent”, refused a blood transfusion as part of treatment for leukaemia for religious reasons. The judge deemed him incompetent to make such a decision because the boy couldn’t understand the pain he would suffer, the fear of dying, and distress caused to his family. Continue reading