CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP)–Children should receive life-saving medical treatments even if their parents object, the Nevada Supreme Court decided Tuesday in ruling against a Jehovah’s Witness couple who refused a blood transfusion for their premature son.
After Jason and Rebecca Soto refused the transfusion for the infant in 2001, a Las Vegas hospital performed it anyway. Afterward, a Clark County district judge named the hospital as a temporary guardian to ensure such medical care would continue.
The Sotos then appealed to the Supreme Court, which held Tuesday that the parents’ interest in the care of their child “is not absolute.”
“The state also has an interest in the welfare of children and may limit parental authority, even permanently depriving parents of their children,” the justices wrote.
Since the infant was unable to make decisions for himself, “the state’s interest is heightened,” the court said.
The baby, a twin, suffered from anemia because his brother received more blood flow before birth. Stillborn and weighing just 2 pounds, 11 ounces, he was revived at birth but remained critically ill.
The twins, now nearly 3 years old, are fine, and no longer under hospital guardianship.
The Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses filed a friend-of-the-court brief that said it has no objections to conventional medicine, but follows verses in the Bible it says forbid transfusions.
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