In Washington state, the same law that allows transgender teens to take hormones without their parents’ permission and allows pregnant girls to have an abortion without parental consent, also allowed a boy to refuse medical treatment for his leukemia because he was a Jehovah’s Witness. The law is known as the “mature minor doctrine,” though “mature” is always in the eye of the beholder.
Dennis Lindberg was 14 when he told doctors he didn’t want to undergo a blood transfusion that had a good chance of saving his life. A judge eventually gave him the authority to make the final decision about his own care… and Dennis died not long after that.
Reporter Isolde Raftery wrote about Dennis several years ago, and she just published a follow-up story in which she explores whether people involved in his care made the right decision. It may have been what Dennis wanted, but should they have complied?