Court orders Jehovah's Witness boy be given blood transfusion

The Herald-Sun, Australia/June 4, 2010

A hospital has won the right to give a child potentially life-saving blood transfusions despite the religious objections of the boy and his family.

In a South Australian legal first, the Supreme Court this afternoon gave the Women's and Children's Hospital the right to give a 10-year-old boy - a member of the Jehovah's Witness faith - transfusions as part of his cancer treatment.

The decision, in line with similar rulings from around the world, paves the way for hospitals to take action in future debates with religious parents.

The boy is suffering from an aggressive form of cancer that doctors fear will spread throughout his entire body if not treated with an intense 39-week regime of chemotherapy and surgery, Adelaide Now reported.

The speed of that process will not allow his blood cells time to regenerate, meaning he will require transfusions so that the chemotherapy can continue unabated.

In a statement read to the court, the boy said transfusions carried spiritual consequences.

"The doctors have told me I might die and I don't want to - but I don't want blood," he said.

"The blood will change me... when you take blood, you are taking someone else's life.

"I really don't want this and my heart is ripping apart."

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