Ethical Care of the Children of Jehovah’s Witnesses
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The right of adults with full decision-making capacity to refuse specific treatments such as a blood transfusion is well-established in the legal and ethical realms. In adults who have lost their decision-making capacity, the principle of substituted judgment has also been well-defined. However, in the case of parents or guardians who refuse a child’s recommended medical treatments for religious or other reasons, conflicts may arise. In this chapter, we examine the clinical case of an adolescent with a malignancy requiring surgery and, quite likely, a blood transfusion whose parents are some of Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW). We also discuss the ethical, legal and medical ramifications of this clinical situation.
KeywordsCapacity Consent Assent Jehovah’s Witness (Refusal of) Transfusion Decision-Making Pediatric
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