Question of the day

Should parents be able to refuse medical treatments for their children?

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5 Responses to Question of the day

  1. SKL says:

    I think it depends on the treatment and why it’s being refused, but generally, yes. Parents know their children best, and sometimes their instincts correctly tell them that there is a better solution than the “conventional treatment” that should at least be given a try. Also, when it comes to the point of choosing extreme suffering over death, where the patient isn’t cognizant enough to make the choice, it should be made by the person closest to him – not some medical professional who isn’t close enough to really sense the patient’s pain or weigh the value of his place in the family. Of course for more minor stuff that is not life-threatening, that’s a no-brainer: parents should approve or disapprove. Abortion too.

    The only exception I can think of would be where a treatment for a deadly disease/injury has a high success rate with relatively low risks, where the parents don’t put forth a good explanation for refusing treatment.

  2. Joy says:

    I pretty much agree with SKL. We know our children better than anyone else and even though we may not agree, we should have that right. It must be a very hard decision if you really have issues. Jason was sick when he was two and they first thought he had leukemia and I’d have done anything I had to to save him.

  3. Nikki says:

    SKL said it best, so I’ll say…refer to SKL’s answer. 🙂

  4. Laura says:

    The biggest problem I have with the “let the parents decide” thing is in extreme situations – like a religious group that doesn’t believe in medical intervention. The way I’ve always looked at it is that God gave everybody a certain kind of talent… and he gave doctors their talent for healing. It’s like the old joke about the guy in the flood, sitting on top of the house, begging God to send him help… “Please God, help me!!” A guy in a canoe comes by and offers the man a ride. Man refuses, saying, “God will help me.” Another guy in a motorboat offers, with the same result. Coast Guard comes by, same result again. The guy continues to pray, “God, help me!” Finally God shouts down, “I sent you THREE BOATS!! What more do you want?”

    I see the religious refusals in much the same way. If a kid is suffering with whatever, it is the parent’s job to see to it that he gets the medical help necessary.

    That said, it’s a complicated issue, and as the child grows older, and becomes able to rationally interject his opinion into the conversation, he should be allowed to help decide.

    BUT, all things said… the decision ultimately belongs with the parents. If they’re foolish to look a potentially God-sent cure in the face and refuse, then it’s on them.

  5. SKL says:

    I do agree personally that one of God’s gifts is medicine. However, doctors, etc. are human and do make mistakes, and they are biased and have agendas and so on. I can think of many, many stories I personally know of where a mother’s instinct has told her that the medical advice of the day was not best for her child – sometimes before the fact, sometimes after. And I think the biggest problems occur when a medical professional holds the view that he doesn’t need to listen to the lowly, ignorant parents’ concerns.

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