Minors’ rights: a question of competence

In 2013, a 17-year-old Jehovah’s Witness boy from New South Wales made headlines when he lost his court appeal to refuse a life-saving blood transfusion. The religious teenager, who was being treated for Hodgkin’s lymphoma at Sydney Children’s Hospital, threatened to rip the IV needle from his arm, claiming it would be “akin to rape” if he were given a blood transfusion while under anaesthetic. His doctor, Professor Glenn Marshall, said the boy (who can’t be named for legal reasons) would have an 80% chance of dying from anaemia without the transfusion. Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse to accept blood transfusions because they say blood represents life, and only God is the giver of life. The court

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