End- Of- Life Decisions And Minors: Do Minors Have The Right To Refuse Life Preserving Medical Treatment? A Comparative Study

Title

End- Of- Life Decisions And Minors: Do Minors Have The Right To Refuse Life Preserving Medical Treatment? A Comparative Study

Creator

Lemmens C

Publisher

Medicine & Law

Date

2009

Subject

Decision Making; Minors/lj [legislation & Jurisprudence]; Treatment Refusal/lj [legislation & Jurisprudence]; Adolescent; Canada; Child; Europe; Humans; Informed Consent/lj [legislation & Jurisprudence]; Terminally Ill/lj [legislation & Jurisprudence]; Treatment Refusal; United States

Description

The principles of the right to informed consent and informed refusal are quite clear for competent adult patients. The right of a competent adult patient to give his informed consent before medical treatment can be started, is a patients' right that is recognised all over the world. The logical corollary of the right to informed consent is the right to informed refusal. A competent adult patient also has the right to refuse medical treatment by simply withholding or withdrawing his consent. A physician who starts medical treatment without the informed consent of his patient will be held liable for battery. Can these same principles be applied to minors? In other words: do minors also have the right to refuse medical treatment? Can a minor refuse even life preserving care? The interests of the involved parties (minor, parents and state) have to be weighed against each other case by case. A thorough examination of the available case law shows that the best interests of the minor are paramount. This "best interests" standard guides judges in their making of a decision. However, this is certainly not always in accordance with reality. In fact, minors can be mature enough to refuse treatment at a much earlier time than the age of legal majority, whatever the consequences of that refusal may be.

Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. PedPalASCNET does not hold any rights over the resource listed here. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Citation List Month

May 2017 List

Citation

Lemmens C, “End- Of- Life Decisions And Minors: Do Minors Have The Right To Refuse Life Preserving Medical Treatment? A Comparative Study,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed August 1, 2021, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/10931.

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