Today, on BBC Radio 2’s Jimmy Young Show (weekdays, 12 – 2), a listener posed the following question for Jimmy’s regular guest, Mark Stephens, The Legal Eagle:
“I live next door to a family of Jehovah’s witnesses. There are 3 children in this family, and I would like to know what the legal implications would be if one of the children were to be involved in an accident and required a blood transfusion. Who would decide what treatment the children would receive in a life-threatening situation?”
This is the gist of the Legal Eagle’s reply. Once a child is 16 he is legally entitled to make his own decisions about what treatment he wants or doesn’t want. But there is now an exception to this rule because of a 1986 ruling in the House of Lords. This refers to whether a girl below the age of sexual consent (16) would be able to legally obtain a prescription from her doctor for the contraceptive pill despite her being legally under age to consent to sex. The Lords ruled that providing a child is reasonably lucid and mature, it would be proper for a child under 16 to be able to decide for him/herself what treatment the child is given and that the parents do not necessarily have to be consulted.
The Legal Eagle then went on to say that it is customary for a hospital to obtain a Court Order that gives the hospital the legal right to transfuse blood into a child if the child was deemed to be in danger. That was it.
Now, wouldn’t it be good if we Brits were to email Radio 2’s legal dept about shunning? Jimmy’s show has over 6 million listeners in the UK, there is all the info needed to do this at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/shows/jimmy_young/
Bring on the dancing girls!