Making Decisions

2015-0110 Debate

The debate intrigued me, and I think it will intrigue you too. The debate could be about almost any adversity. At what point do people have the right to refuse medical treatment. Does the answer depend on age, gender, nationality, geographic location, skin color, law, or some other factor? Is the decision subjective or objective? If the person who refuses treatment does so for moral, ethical, or religious reasons is the decision enforceable?

There are many people who believe all treatments, medicines, and vaccines have side effects. As such, they refuse treatment. There are also people who feel only God has the right to make life and death decisions.

Are the people who refuse medical treatment harming themselves, harming society, or making sound decisions?

Although the article does not address all of these questions, it did make me think. Perhaps, it will inspire you to share your comments.

Click here to read the article.

Click here to read another Beyond Injury post.


  1. Oddly enough she’s old enough to get an abortion. If it’s wrong for the government to control her medical choices there, why is it deemed okay here?

    1. Jen, that is an excellent question. I was thinking about the injustice in terms of just one state. I suspect that looking at the injustice in terms of other procedures will make the point even more clear. Why would the courts allow a person to control their own life in one situation, but not in another? Thank you.

  2. I am not a parent, survivor or sufferer of cancer. My current opinion is based on my limited experiences, perceptions and feelings on the subject.

    I don’t know if this teenager was considered of sound mind and body or what the other details were ? If those closest to her offered anything in the way of insight. At the age of 17 forced treatment, even if very uncomfortable could give this young person if successful or not; a possible year to think more about her decision,extra time to possibly acquire new knowledge, different perceptions of life, death, Etc.,and the possibility to live beyond the age of 18.

    1. Esther, you raised some important questions. The court has determined that because she is a minor, she must be incapable of making her own decision regardless of whether or not she can. I don’t know who she has talked with, whether or not her reasoning is sound, or whether her parents/guardian was consulted prior to the decision. All I know is that once she is forced to receive chemo, it is impossible to remove the chemo from her body. Shouldn’t she have the right to choose what goes into her body?

  3. I believe it is a matter of your perspective. I support freedom of choice provided the consequences do not adversely affect others.

    The example is optional & lengthy— When I was younger and worked for a hospital I had to be chased around during vaccination week. It took my supervisor sitting at my desk forcing me to produce proof of the mandatory shots if I wanted to return to work. When I was older and around high risk patients including my Dad I voluntarily subjected myself to the vaccine in order not to do harm

    1. Esther, I agree freedom of choice cannot harm others. However, if someone refuses treatment, does that decision “harm” others. What happens if someone refuses treatment and dies or is forced to receive treatment and dies? Conversely what happens if someone refuses treatment and lives? Many medical experts know only what they were taught? Perhaps, treatment is not a cure.

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