Doctors urge Supreme Court to settle confusion over Jehovah’s Witness case

Canadian Press, Sep. 22, 202

CALGARY – Several medical ethicists are urging Canada’s top court to reconsider the case of a Calgary teenager who was forced to undergo blood transfusions even though she was deemed mature enough to make her own medical decisions.

If the Supreme Court refuses, doctors fear it will create confusion in physicians and anguish in their young patients, especially when they deal with sensitive issues such as contraception and abortion.

“This will likely result in uncertainty, confusion and inconsistent practice in Canada for health-care practitioners and educators,” said Dr. Christine Harrison, director of bioethics at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children.

“Health-care practitioners in Canada would benefit greatly if we got some clarity from the Supreme Court,” said Harrison, who also chairs the bioethics committee of the Canadian Paediatric Society.

Bethany Hughes died of leukemia last month at 17. But before she did, she asked her lawyers to continue her legal battle for the rights of teenagers to determine their own treatment.

“She held a very strong conviction that she did not want another young person capable of making their own health-care choices to experience what she had experienced,” lawyer David Day said from St. John’s.

Her lawyers have now filed a motion asking the Supreme Court a second time to hear an appeal of the Alberta court decisions that ruled Bethany was mature but didn’t have an informed opinion because she was greatly influenced by her fellow Vacation? Short break? Day trip? Get Skip-the-line tickets at GetYourGuide.


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Religion News Blog posted this on Monday September 23, 2002.
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