B.C. teen takes transfusion fight to Toronto
CTV.ca News Staff
The fight over a blood transfusion has sent a 14-year-old British Columbia girl into hiding as she awaits a date in a Toronto courtroom.
The young girl, whose identity is protected by a court-ordered publication ban, has already undergone surgery to remove a tumor from her leg as well as several rounds of chemotherapy.
The treatment stripped her blood of red blood cells, prompting calls for a transfusion.
But, as a Jehovah's Witness, the girl's religious beliefs forbid her from receiving someone else's blood. On April 11, a B.C. judge nevertheless ruled that the girl must receive a medically-ordered transfusion.
Under B.C. law, a person must be at least 19-year-old before they can refuse medical treatment.
"The family is disappointed because the way they see the issue is that the question is: Can a capable person of any age make a decision?
"And (while) they appreciate the justice has looked at the matter, there, of course, is a difference of view in terms of the law."
Arguing that the transfusions would be a "violation of the Biblical command to abstain from blood," the girl's family have launched their own action in Ontario Superior Court, to challenge the B.C. ruling.
"Life and safety is at stake here -- and we need to make sure that she's going to be safe," said Theresa Lumsdon of B.C.'s ministry of children and family development.
The family's lawyer, Shane Brady, didn't return phone calls from CTV News Toronto, he did send out a fax saying reports the girl needed an urgent transfusion were "grossly unfounded."
He said B.C. child care officials knew the family was seeking a second medical opinion in Toronto at the Hospital for Sick Children. They hope to find an alternative treatment to a blood transfusion.
However, they left when the hospital urged them to return to B.C. for treatment, CTV News Toronto's Janice Golding reported.
The girl and her parents were last seen in a west Toronto neighborhood.
Brady told The Canadian Press that authorities such as the Children's Aid Society knew his client's whereabouts.
There is an apprehension order issued by the B.C. courts which remains on police computers, but Toronto police have said they aren't actively seeking the girl.
Brady said the girl and her parents will be in court Tuesday.
Until then, she's hiding out of reach of health-care officials, the court and police.
With reports from CTV News Toronto and The Canadian Press