Jehovah’s Witness Girl Missing After Court Orders Blood Transfusion

A 14-year-old Canadian Jehovah’s Witness has disappeared after a court ruled doctors can force her to get a blood transfusion in violation of her faith.

Missing girl who is a Jehovah’s Witness, needs blood transfusion (Medical News Today)

Police in Canada say they are looking for a girl who has disappeared with her parents after a court ruled she must accept a possible blood transfusion after receiving chemotherapy. The girl is 14 and has cancer (a cancerous tumour in her leg). She is a Jehovah’s Witness, as are her parents. The girl does not want a blood transfusion. People who follow the Jehovah’s Witness faith oppose blood transfusions.

The girl, who cannot be named, is part of an ongoing legal battle. When a cancer patient has chemotherapy, the body is often unable to produce enough red blood cells – a blood transfusion is a common part of treatment. The British Columbia Supreme Court ruled that doctors are authorised to give the girl a blood transfusion if her life is under threat.

Canadian police have been instructed to find the girl. The girl’s lawyer says she is seeking a second medical opinion and has not gone into hiding. The province of British Columbia does not recognize an individual of an age less than 19 to be able to make an informed consent medical decision. The Children’s Aid Society was informed and did not object to the family leaving the province to get another medical opinion.

I would tend to agree that a 14-year-old lacks the maturity to make such decisions. Even beyond the age issue, there are no easy answers in balancing societal norms against the rights of out-of-mainstream religious sects that reject basic premises of modernity.

Update (0627): So much for the extensive manhunt:

B.C. Jehovah’s Witness family seen in Toronto (CTV)

A cancer-stricken B.C. Jehovah’s Witness girl who’s fighting a blood transfusion order will appear in an Ontario court on Tuesday.

[…]

While Brady didn’t return phone calls from CTV News Toronto, he did send out a fax saying reports the girl needed an urgent transfusion were “grossly unfounded.” He said B.C. child care officials knew the family was seeking a second medical opinion in Toronto at the Hospital for Sick Children. They hope to find an alternative treatment to a blood transfusion. However, they left when the hospital urged them to return to B.C. for treatment, CTV News Toronto’s Janice Golding reported. The girl and her parents were last seen in a west Toronto neighborhood.

Brady told The Canadian Press that authorities such as the Children’s Aid Society knew his client’s whereabouts. There is an apprehension order issued by the B.C. courts which remains on police computers, but Toronto police have said they aren’t actively seeking the girl. Brady said the girl and her parents will be in court Tuesday.

FILED UNDER: Health, Law and the Courts, Religion,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Rick DeMent says:

    so much for the “culture of life”, where are the protesters?

  2. McGehee says:

    I’ll bet Rick hates it when reality contradicts his trolling.

  3. Say Anything says:

    Ugly Situation

  4. Bithead says:

    I am unaware of there being a significant “Life” movement in the liberal paradise of Canada.

  5. Jacob Brown says:

    I do agree that some 13 and 14 year olds are not old enough to make such a decision some are consumed with just having fun. However, i was a mature 13 year old. I made a lot of big decisions at 13. I had a mind and an opinion of my own which did not always coincide with my parent’s views. If the courts say that she is mature enough to make a decision. I think her person, her being, should be RESPECTED! Whether i agree with her views or not. It would be a violation of human rights not to. (The courts says she is mature enough. It means just that.) Her views should be respected just as much as my grandmother’s. My grandmother died because she refused to amputate her leg. She had developed gangrene. Of course, i would prefer that she amputated her leg, but she didn’t want to look in the mirror and see herself with a leg cut off. She felt that once the doctors started cutting they wouldn’t stop–then the next leg or arm. She didn’t want to go through it. Was her argument well-founded? Or was it just PRIDE??? I feel it was mostly PRIDE! Regardless, it was her decision, and i respect that. My grandmother was the hallmark of my life. But she made a hallmark decision. It was her body, her life and nobody or court could tell her what to do with it.

  6. Missing Jehovah Witness 14 year old Canadian girl needs a Blood Transfusion.

    Why Jehovah’s Witnesses reject Blood transfusions.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses have a non negotiable tenet of their belief system to reject Blood products.

    The origin of this dogma comes from their founding father Joseph Rutherford in the early 20th century.The consumption (eating) of blood was strictly forbidden under old testament Kosher law.The Watchtower leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses saw fit to extend this prohibition over to their belief system.

    Many children have died since rejecting life saving blood transfusions.Learn why they will maintain adherence to their faith at all cost.

    Danny Haszard: Jehovah’s Witness X 33 years and 3rd generation.

  7. Peter says:

    The beliefs about avoid blood transfussion is not fuonded by JR Rutherford, but from The Bible: Genesis: 9:4,5. Leviticus 17:10. Deutronomy 12:17,23 and 15:23. 1 Samuel 14:32,33. Ezekiel 33:25. Acts 15:20,29 and 21:25.