Court or Tribunal: 
Catchwords: Blood Transfusions, Cancer, Medical, Parens Patriae, Parental Responsibility, Parental Rights, Religious Beliefs, Special Medical Procedure
Judges:  White J

Background: A 10 year-old South Australian boy was suffering from an aggressive form of cancer that doctors feared would spread throughout his entire body if not treated with an intense 39-week regime of chemotherapy and surgery. The speed of that process would not have allow his blood cells time to regenerate, require blood transfusions so that the chemotherapy can continue to be effective. In a statement read to the court, the boy said transfusions carried spiritual consequences. "The doctors have told me I might die and I don't want to - but I don't want blood," he said. "The blood will change me... when you take blood, you are taking someone else's life. "I really don't want this and my heart is ripping apart." On May 10, doctors discovered a tumour in his left leg. The boy co 
  [Legal Issue]The hospital asked the Supreme Court of South Australia to invoke its power of parens patriae, allowing it to look after those incapable of looking after themselves, in order to rule on behalf of the child in this dilemma between religious beliefs and the very real risk of death if a blood transfusion was not permitted, despite the child's parents objections to the blood transfusion.   [Court Orders]In a South Australian legal first, the Supreme Court gave the Women's and Children's Hospital the right to give a 10-year-old boy - a member of the Jehovah's Witness faith - transfusions as part of his cancer treatment, despite the objections from the boy's family. The decision, in line with similar rulings from around the world, paves the way for hospitals to take action in future debates with religious parents.     

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