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image.pngApril Cadoreth

 (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?

 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.

 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.”

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”

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. source<<<click

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CBC NEWS CANADA

Girl's forced blood transfusion didn't violate rights: top court

Manitoba must pay her legal costs, estimated above $450,000

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The 14-year-old Jehovah's Witness, identified only as A.C., who said her rights were violated when she was forced to have a blood transfusion. ((CBC))

 

Canada's top court on Friday dismissed the case of a Manitoba girl — a Jehovah's Witness — who said her rights were violated when she was forced to get a blood transfusion against her will when she was a minor.

In a 6-1 ruling, the Supreme Court ruled that such medical interventions are constitutionally sound, striking a balance between the choice of the child and the state's protection of the child.

However, the ruling also said lower courts from now on must consider the maturity and decision-making skills of minors before deciding on enforced treatment.

"The more a court is satisfied that a child is capable of making a truly mature and independent decision on his or her own behalf, the greater the weight that must be given to his or her views when a court is exercising its discretion" regarding the best interests of the child, said Justice Rosalie Abella, writing for the majority.

"If, after a careful analysis of the young person's ability to exercise mature and independent judgment, the court is persuaded that the necessary level of maturity exists, the young person's views ought to be respected."

The court stressed that this in no way means that a child should be allowed to make a decision that might endanger his or her life.

"I don't want to die, which is why I went to the hospital for treatment. I just wanted the best medical treatment without blood …" the young woman, who is now 18, told CBC.

"There almost are no words to say just how brutal of an act [blood transfusion] is. I once compared it to almost being raped. There are no options for you, there's nothing you can do about it and it's very hard to deal with."

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Lawyer David Day speaks to media in Ottawa on Friday regarding the Supreme Court of Canada ruling. ((Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press))

 

David Day, the girl's lawyer, called the ruling a huge moral victory.

"For the past 38 months, my client … has been looking for respect in the Canadian courts for her medical treatment wishes. Today, she got respect," he told CBC.

They argued her case so convincingly that the Supreme Court awarded her costs so she doesn't have to pay for the pricey legal action. Instead, the government of Manitoba will have to pay her legal costs, which are reported to be at least $450,000.

"There aren't necessarily any winners or losers in a situation like this," Claudia Ash-Ponce of Manitoba Child and Family Services told CBC.

"We acted [in] protecting the best interests of the child and, in this case, the highest court … upheld our action and endorsed our legislation."

With regard to the court's direction to consider the maturity of children in future cases, Ash-Ponce said that is already being done.

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Claudia Ash-Ponce, of Manitoba Child and Family Services, said her agency worked in the best interests of the child. ((CBC))

 

"We've always as a province acted in a way that considers the wishes and desires of the child, whether they're over or under 16. We do hold that in high regard and it is an important piece that even in this case was considered."

The then-14-year-old Jehovah's Witness, identified only as A.C., received a court-ordered blood transfusion in 2006 at a Winnipeg hospital to treat internal bleeding from her bowel associated with Crohn's disease.

The girl and her parents opposed the transfusion, based on their religious belief that the Bible forbids ingesting blood.

A.C. had signed an advanced medical directive stating she didn't want a blood transfusion. Three psychiatrists who assessed her all concluded she understood her medical condition and the consequences of not getting a transfusion.

Under Manitoba law, people under the age of 16 can be given medical treatment against their will.

Believing the girl's life to be at risk, doctors contacted Child and Family Services, which deemed A.C. to be "a child in need of protection." After lawyers for the child welfare agency obtained an order from Manitoba's Court of Queen's Bench, the girl was given three units of blood.

The Manitoba Court of Appeal had also unanimously upheld the imposed transfusion.

source<<<click

 

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