A High Court judge recently ruled that a seriously ill teenager could be treated with blood products despite his mother being unable to give her consent for his treatment because of her religious beliefs. Justice Cobb said that the 13-year-old boy requires urgent treatment even though his mother, who is a Jehovah’s Witness, cannot come to terms with it.
The procedure that the young boy needs to undergo is a plasma exchange treatment and Cobb asked medics to administer it at the earliest because the youngster’s chances of survival are only slight. The judge had been asked to make a decision after specialists treating the teenager failed to get a response from his mother.
“This treatment is ... controversial in this case because the mother is a Jehovah's Witness and finds herself unable, by virtue of her religious principles, to consent to this treatment. Without this treatment, the prospects for (the boy) of recovering very much from where he currently lies is slight. In my judgment, and taking account of the risks advised, and the views of his mother, I am nonetheless clearly of the view that it is in (his) best interests that he should receive this treatment and should receive it immediately in order to give him the best possible prospects of recovery,” said Cobb.
According to medical professionals, the boy was absolutely fit and healthy until a month ago, when he was suddenly struck by a disease that had a grave impact on his central nervous system. While specialists believe that the treatment will bring the boy back to good health, Cobb said that the boy’s condition is catastrophic currently. Reportedly, when the medics told the youngster about his treatment option, he agreed to it immediately.
Jehovah’s Witnesses strictly abide by Biblical teaching, which is why they are averse to the idea of blood stems and similar medical treatments. The religion’s website explains how the Old Testament as well as the New Testament asks believers to abstain from blood.
“God views blood as representing life. So we avoid taking blood not only in obedience to God but also out of respect for him as the Giver of life,” reads the site.