Connecticut Supreme Court rules 17-year-old cannot refuse chemotherapy

Connecticut Supreme Court rules 17-year-old cannot refuse chemotherapy

[JURIST] The Connecticut Supreme Court [official website] ruled [order, PDF] Thursday that a 17-year-old is not mature enough to reject chemotherapy for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The teen, Cassandra, and her mother refused chemotherapy after two initial treatments because they believe chemotherapy is a poison causing more harm than good and would like to seek alternative treatments. Lawyers for Cassandra and her mother asked [CBS report] the court to consider the “mature minor doctrine,” which is recognized in some states to allow teenagers who demonstrate maturity to make medical decisions for themselves. The mature minor doctrine is used in 17 states, usually when minors wish to consent to treatment against their parents’ wishes. Hodgkin’s Lymphoma [NIH backgrounder] is considered “one of the most curable cancers,” with an 85 percent chance [AP Report] of survival after chemotherapy.

Accross the US, the use or lack of medical treatments have required court and state action in the last year concerning children immunizations, medical marijuana and hormone treatments. The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit [official website] on Wednesday upheld [JURIST report] a New York state rule barring unimmunized children from public schools unless a physician states the medication is detrimental to a child’s health or the parents’ religious beliefs are contrary to the required practices. Florida Governor Rick Scott [official website] signed The Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act in June allowing [JURIST report] a non-euphoric strain of marijuana to be used for the treatment of epilepsy, cancer and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). And a judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio [official website] in May ordered the permanent reinstatement of hormone treatments for a transgender Ohio prison inmate after the state stopped her treatments in 2012.