Friday, November 21, 2008

13-year-old girl refuses life-sustaining treatment

This post from Britannica Blogs offers commentary on the case of a 13-year-old British girl who refused a surgery that would save her life. Administrators at the hospital eventually abandoned legal action that would force the girl to undergo surgery and allowed her to die, thereby granting her wishes and allowing her to die.

Is 13 old enough to make the decision to give up on treatment and die?

Should the hospital have forced treatment on her?

The blog does not mention her parents, but I did some more research, and it looks like she has both a mother and a father actively involved with her life. I can't find information on exactly where they stand, but they must support her ability to make her own decision because there is nothing about their attempts to interfere, and one article claims the local hospital accused the parents of trying to prevent their daughter's treatment.

It's a gut-wrenching reminder of how complicated and murky medical-ethics issues can be.

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