21-24. (a) How did the Supreme Court of Canada come to make a remarkable decision regarding minors and the use of blood? (b) How might this case encourage young servants of Jehovah?
21 Canada. Generally, courts recognize the rights of parents to determine the best medical care for their children. At times, courts have even ruled that a mature minor should be accorded respect when it comes to making medical decisions. That was true of April Cadoreth. At the age of 14, April was admitted to a hospital with severe internal bleeding. A few months earlier, she had completed an Advance Medical Directive card with written instructions that blood transfusions should not be administered to her even in the event of an emergency. The attending physician chose to ignore April’s clearly expressed wishes and sought a court order to give her blood. She was forcibly transfused with three units of packed red blood cells. April later likened the experience to rape.
22 April and her parents turned to the courts for justice. After two years, the case came before the Supreme Court of Canada. Though April technically lost her constitutional challenge, the Court awarded her legal costs and ruled in favor of her and other mature minors who seek to exercise their right to decide for themselves their own medical treatment. The Court stated: “In the context of medical treatment, young people under 16 should be permitted to attempt to demonstrate that their views about a particular medical treatment decision reflect a sufficient degree of independence of thought and maturity.”
23 This case is significant in that the Supreme Court addressed the constitutional rights of mature minors. Before this ruling, a Canadian court could authorize medical treatment on a child under 16 as long as the court felt that the treatment was in the best interests of the child. But after this ruling, a court cannot authorize any treatment against the will of young people under the age of 16 without first offering them the chance to prove that they are mature enough to make their own decisions.
“To know that I’ve had a small part in trying to glorify God’s name and prove Satan a liar has truly made me happy”
24 Was the three-year battle worth the effort? According to April, “Yes!” Now a regular pioneer and in good health, she says: “To know that I’ve had a small part in trying to glorify God’s name and prove Satan a liar has truly made me happy.” April’s experience shows that our young ones can take a courageous stand, proving themselves genuine citizens of God’s Kingdom.—Matt. 21:16.