Australian Jehovah's Witness Teen Will Be Forced To Take Blood Transfusion For Deadly Cancer, Court Rules

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Last week, Opposing Views reported on the 17-year-old Australian teen who fought to refuse blood transfusions that could save his life from deadly cancer now ravaging his body. Today, the boy has lost his court case.

He will be forced to receive blood transfusions even though the Jehovah’s Witness religion, to which the teenager belongs, believes that God forbids taking blood.

There’s one catch. The boy turns 18 in January. At that time, the court said, he is legally entitled to make his own medical decisions. Since the boy earlier vowed to “rip out” the needle from his arm if he is given a transfusion, it appears likely he will discontinue the treatment for Hodgkins Lymphoma at Sydney Children’s Hospital as soon as he can.

That was irrelevant to the court.

"The interest of the state is in keeping him alive until that time, after which he will be free to make his own decisions as to medical treatment,” said Justice John Basten.

Without the transfusions, the boy has an 80 percent chance of dying from anemia, his doctors say.

According to the Jehovah’s Witness web site, “The Bible commands that we not ingest blood. So we should not accept whole blood or its primary components in any form, whether offered as food or as a transfusion.”

The anonymous boy’s lawyer, David Bennett, cited several cases in other countries where young Jehovah’s Witnesses were permitted to follow their religion and refuse blood transfusions. However, those cases usually ended with the death of the patient.

In 2010 an English teenager, Joshua McAuley was struck by a car that crashed into a shop in the West Midlands region of that country. The youth was airlifted to a hospital, but once there, he refused to receive blood transfusions.

McAuley died soon afterward. He was only 15.

SOURCES: Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Broadcasting Company, BBC News, Jehovah's Witness Web Site