Author Topic: 14-y-o Jehova's Witness dies after refusing blood-transfusion  (Read 1286 times)

Offline Aimless

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14-y-o Jehova's Witness dies after refusing blood-transfusion
« on: December 01, 2007, 01:37:59 PM »
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=3930789&page=1

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Judge Allowed 14-Year-Old Jehovah's Witness to Refuse Lifesaving Care
Leukemia Patient Dies After Refusing Blood Transfusion for Religious Reasons[/b]

Nov. 29, 2007

A Washington State judge allowed a 14-year-old Jehovah's Witness sick with leukemia to refuse a blood transfusion that could have saved his life, a decision that has stirred controversy among medical ethicists.

Dennis Lindberg of Mount Vernon, Wash., died shortly late Wednesday in his bed at Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, the boy's biological father, Dennis Lindberg Sr., told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Earlier Wednesday, Superior Court Judge John Meyer denied a motion by the state government to force Dennis to have a blood transfusion, saying the eighth-grader knows "he's basically giving himself a death sentence," according to local media reports. Lindberg's biological parents, who do not have legal custody, also wanted to force their son to have the transfusion.

Parents and classmates of the boy, who had lived with his aunt for the past four years, reportedly cried in disbelief at the judge's decision. His biological mother fled the courtroom in tears. Dennis' aunt, Dianna Mincin, is his legal guardian and is also a Jehovah's Witness. She supported his decision to refuse treatment.

The case forced the judge into a difficult balancing act: weighing Lindberg's right to make his own decisions with the need to protect him, medical ethics experts said. Adults have the right to refuse medical treatment, and courts typically will defer to the decision of a child's parent or legal guardian, said Sharona Hoffman, co-director of the Law-Medicine Center at Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

But courts have frequently forced young children to have blood transfusions against the wishes of their Jehovah's Witness parents. Several ethicists questioned whether a 14-year-old was mature enough to decide to refuse treatment.

"The critical question is: Was this decision voluntary and knowing?" said Robyn Shapiro, director of the Center for the Study of Bioethics at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

"These issues give me pause," she said. "I'm surprised and I'm concerned" about the judge's decision.

Adolescents are more inclined to agree to things in order to appear heroic and are more susceptible to pressure, said Rosamond Rhodes, director of bioethics education at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. They also frequently change their beliefs as they get older.

"They're more likely to think in terms of black and white where adults see gray," Rhodes said.

Dr. Benjamin Wilfond, director of pediatric bioethics at Children's Hospital in Seattle, who was not involved in Lindberg's case, said Lindberg's situation was different in that he would have needed ongoing treatment and repeated transfusions. It would also be difficult to force Lindberg to cooperate with the treatment.

"It's not typical to physically restrain children of that age for medical intervention," he said.

"You balance trying to respect them and protect them," he said.

After hearing from Dennis' parents, his aunt, social workers and doctors, Judge Meyer denied the state's request, according to local news reports and people who attended the hearing.

Meyer said Dennis had been give a 70 percent chance of surviving the next five years with the transfusion. He said he believed Dennis was mature enough to make his own decisions.

"I don't believe Dennis' decision is the result of any coercion. He is mature and understands the consequences of his decision," he said, according to The Associated Press. "I don't think Dennis is trying to commit suicide. This isn't something Dennis just came upon, and he believes with the transfusion he would be unclean and unworthy."

Lindberg left school in early November when doctors diagnosed him with leukemia and began treating him with chemotherapy. They stopped the treatment, which often prevents the body from creating new red blood cells, a week ago because his blood count was too low, the Skagit Valley Herald reported.

But Lindberg refused a blood transfusion on religious grounds. Jehovah's Witnesses believe it is impure to receive a blood transfusion; they do not typically refuse other forms of medical care.

Lindberg's biological parents, Lindberg Sr. and Rachel Wherry, believed their son should have had the transfusion. Dennis' doctors supported his decision, but the state government sought a court order to force the transfusion.

Mincin did not return messages left by ABC News. She has previously declined to talk about the case.

The boy's father told the Post-Intelligencer that he decided not to appeal the court's ruling after visiting his son Wednesday. He said doctors told him Wednesday evening that the boy, unconscious since Tuesday, had likely suffered brain damage.

"Dennis was very strong in his beliefs," Patricia Shanander, a teacher and Lincoln Elementary School in Mount Vernon, where Dennis went to school, told ABC News. "He did what he felt was right."

With reporting from The Associated Press
I really don't know how I feel about this. On the one hand, this sort of thing--kids coming to harm because of DAMNED STUPID BELIEFS (religious or otherwise!)--makes me angrier than most other things do. But on the other hand... if a person doesn't have the right to make decisions about his own life and body, what meaningful rights DOES he have?

Regardless of how mature he felt the kid was, his law, his society, doesn't deem 14-y-olds mature enough to do all that many things. The judge's decision wasn't consistent with that position. But, that said... the alternative would have been, like, what, up to four years of what can in many ways be seen as abuse sanctioned by The Man??

I can understand why he made the decision he made.

I can't understand why Jehova's Witnesses aren't officially recognised as being unfit guardians, however.

Yuck, everything about this sucks.
Sometimes I think, sometimes I am

Offline FoiD

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14-y-o Jehova's Witness dies after refusing blood-transfusion
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2007, 02:02:43 PM »
Darwin award.
Save the world... have ur kids spayed or neutered!

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Wow, that was incrediblt rude, even by your standards.
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Offline Hunchback

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14-y-o Jehova's Witness dies after refusing blood-transfusion
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2007, 02:37:54 PM »
gg

PWNT BY GOD
"Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

Offline The Artist Formerly Known As Genome

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14-y-o Jehova's Witness dies after refusing blood-transfusion
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2007, 07:10:24 PM »


Now I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?

Offline Julius

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14-y-o Jehova's Witness dies after refusing blood-transfusion
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2007, 12:03:53 AM »
Old.
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Offline Mandie

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14-y-o Jehova's Witness dies after refusing blood-transfusion
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2007, 07:47:30 PM »
As athis was a case involving a young minor, I strongly disagree with the judge's choice. I'm all for religious freedom, however not at this young of an age. The vast majority of 14 year old children have no ability to do anything other than pleasing authority figures. Many JW children would make this same call at 14, but I assure you many leave that religion. Now that child will never have the chance. It's really sad.

Offline Hunchback

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14-y-o Jehova's Witness dies after refusing blood-transfusion
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2007, 01:26:35 AM »
That's why religion shouldn't be taught to children in the first place. Once the person is a grown-up he/she will decide if he WANTS to believe in something, rather than have his parents choice implied to him/her from day 1.
"Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

Offline AshtrayMonument

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14-y-o Jehova's Witness dies after refusing blood-transfusion
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2007, 04:54:14 AM »
Well the jokes on all of you because that kid got to go to Heaven, and all of you guys are going to Hell!

Or is heaven full according to these freaks?
People always tell me that they're crazy. Crazy people aren't so fucking boring.

Offline Nuada

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14-y-o Jehova's Witness dies after refusing blood-transfusion
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2007, 05:04:59 AM »
Quote from: Hunchback
That's why religion shouldn't be taught to children in the first place. Once the person is a grown-up he/she will decide if he WANTS to believe in something, rather than have his parents choice implied to him/her from day 1.
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