View Poll Results: At what age should a person be allowed to refuse medical treatment?

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Thread: At what age should a person be allowed to refuse medical treatment?

  1. #31
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    Re: At what age should a person be allowed to refuse medical treatment?

    I feel two ways about this: in theory and in principle, I believe adolescents are basically adults and should have a lot more rights than they currently have, attaining them gradually throughout adolescence rather than having none on their 17th birthday and then being slapped with all of them on their 18th.

    As a mom of young adults who were recently teens, however, I'm aware that teenagers can be both ignorant and full of bravado. Sometimes they do not fully comprehend why a particular medical treatment is necessary, or what the consequences of refusing it might be.

    I found that when my kids were being medically noncompliant and all my pleading was merely making them more stubborn and obstinate, they would listen to a doctor (or a nurse, or any medical personnel), and would then comply with whatever treatment was being recommended.

    If that hadn't been the case, however, and even doctors had been able to persuade them to comply with treatment... then I don't know. It's a really tough situation, much more complex than it seems, on the surface.
    One would hope that when it's a potentially life-threatening matter, teens could be somehow persuaded to follow medical recommendations. I'd hate to see them forced. Whether I'd support forcing them would really depend on what their reasons were for refusing.

    With things like metastatic cancer, it's a different matter.
    Many adults refuse treatment as well, as the odds of a complete cure are extremely negligible.

    But if it's something like a teen who has cut himself on rusty metal refusing a tetanus shot... I'd almost be inclined to advocate force, if they were refusing only out of defiance, bravado, or a belief that they were immortal and nothing bad could ever happen to them.

  2. #32
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    Re: At what age should a person be allowed to refuse medical treatment?

    Quote Originally Posted by O_Guru View Post
    if thats whats needed, this is ALREADY done to adults found to have a unsound mind although most times they are sedated but this already goes on with adults and parents already do this to children in other ways already. 18 is the age unless they have separated themselves from their parents under which ever laws cover this.
    I seriously doubt that you could enforce this on a teenager. You are incorrect regarding the most likely scenario for a teen, which would likely be cancer treatments. Obviously, if they're unconscious and on life support, someone else will be making that decision for them. If the teen is an inpatient and refusing a procedure, seriously, I can't envision the healthcare team strapping down a post pubescent young person.

  3. #33
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    Re: At what age should a person be allowed to refuse medical treatment?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyOwnDrum View Post
    I seriously doubt that you could enforce this on a teenager. You are incorrect regarding the most likely scenario for a teen, which would likely be cancer treatments. Obviously, if they're unconscious and on life support, someone else will be making that decision for them. If the teen is an inpatient and refusing a procedure, seriously, I can't envision the healthcare team strapping down a post pubescent young person.
    Like i said this is already done in some cases now so no im not incorrect.
    No whether it should be done? we can debate that of course but it is in fact done alread to children and adults alike.
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  4. #34
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    Re: At what age should a person be allowed to refuse medical treatment?

    Quote Originally Posted by O_Guru View Post
    Like i said this is already done in some cases now so no im not incorrect.
    No whether it should be done? we can debate that of course but it is in fact done alread to children and adults alike.
    Provide a link to show me a case where a teenager was forced to take chemo against his or her will. I'd like to see how they managed to enforce that.

  5. #35
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    Re: At what age should a person be allowed to refuse medical treatment?

    18, as others have said. I believe that parents should be able to refuse treatment at any age. If a doctor believes treatment necessary, however, the parents should have to sign a waiver indicating that they are opening themselves up to prosecution if their child dies or is permanently harmed by their refusal.

  6. #36
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    Re: At what age should a person be allowed to refuse medical treatment?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kernel Sanders View Post
    18, as others have said. I believe that parents should be able to refuse treatment at any age. If a doctor believes treatment necessary, however, the parents should have to sign a waiver indicating that they are opening themselves up to prosecution if their child dies or is permanently harmed by their refusal.
    And do you support the medical community's current policy of conveying pseudo-adult status upon minor parents (those under the age of 18), and allowing them to refuse/ dictate the course of treatment both for themselves and for their children?

  7. #37
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    Re: At what age should a person be allowed to refuse medical treatment?

    Quote Originally Posted by 1069 View Post
    And do you support the medical community's current policy of conveying pseudo-adult status upon minor parents (those under the age of 18), and allowing them to refuse/ dictate the course of treatment both for themselves and for their children?
    That's another hairy situation. Yet, on the other hand, for some reason the law gives full adult status to any pregnant girl, no matter how young, in deciding to abort her baby. That is a glaring inconsistency IMO.

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    Re: At what age should a person be allowed to refuse medical treatment?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyOwnDrum View Post
    That's another hairy situation. Yet, on the other hand, for some reason the law gives full adult status to any pregnant girl, no matter how young, in deciding to abort her baby. That is a glaring inconsistency IMO.
    It goes far beyond that.
    A girl in labor, of any age, makes her own labor and delivery plan.
    It's not like her parents can intervene and say, "Nope, no Demerol for her. No episiotomy. No epidural."
    After her child is born, she- not her parents- must make decisions about circumcision, etc.
    And all future medical decisions, from there on out, for herself and her child. Future contraception for herself, if any. Immunizations for the child. Etc.
    Last edited by 1069; 05-31-10 at 02:58 PM.

  9. #39
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    Re: At what age should a person be allowed to refuse medical treatment?

    Quote Originally Posted by 1069 View Post
    And do you support the medical community's current policy of conveying pseudo-adult status upon minor parents (those under the age of 18), and allowing them to refuse/ dictate the course of treatment both for themselves and for their children?
    I don't know enough about how those cases are handled to give you an intelligent answer. If you know where I can find some information I'd appreciate it.

  10. #40
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    Re: At what age should a person be allowed to refuse medical treatment?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kernel Sanders View Post
    18, as others have said. I believe that parents should be able to refuse treatment at any age. If a doctor believes treatment necessary, however, the parents should have to sign a waiver indicating that they are opening themselves up to prosecution if their child dies or is permanently harmed by their refusal.
    Prosecuting the parents isn't going to bring the child back to life. Why should the state wait for a tragedy to occur before it prosecutes criminal negligence?
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