14-year old dies after refusing a blood transfusion
Fourteen-year old Jehovah's Witness Dennis Lindberg passed away this past Wednesday after refusing a blood transfusion. His decision to decline the transfusion was based on religious grounds and was supported by a judge.
The judge in the case, John Meyer, said eigth-grader Dennis was mature enough to make the decision to decline the transfusion and did not believe the boy was coerced into making a decision that Mayer states was essentially "....a death sentence."
Dennis' parents, who do not have custody of the young teen, feel differently. They believe Dennis' aunt Dianna Mincin, who is also a Jehovah's Witness and Dennis' legal guardian, may have influenced him into making his decision.
Dennis suffered from leukemia that was diagnosed last November. He did accept chemotherapy as treatment, but felt the blood transfusion would make him "unclean and unworthy." I'm not familiar enough with the Jehovah's Witness religion to know one way or the other, but it seems strange to me that he would decline one type of treatment and accept another.
However, as I said, knowing next to nothing about the religion, it's hard to make a case about it either way. What strikes me is that Dennis was so young. As a parent, I would think that the law would side with the parents over a child. Fourteen seems awfully young to be making a life-changing decision. At that age one can't drive or vote or anything else.
I remember being fourteen years old. Regardless of whether that judge felt Dennis was mature enough to make such a decision I don't know that anyone is at fourteen years of age. not having met the boy, though, I can't really say. Perhaps he was more mature than others. Perhaps he didn't want to suffer anymore, even though doctors said with the treatment his survival rate over the next five years would be 70%.
That said, the parents in this case were not the legal guardians, the aunt was. I guess she supported Dennis' decision. Dennis' parents decided to go along with it after it was determined that Dennis, who'd been unconcious since Tuesday, had probably suffered brain damage.
Pic of safe blood by denn.