You Be the Judge
Until recently, Tyrell Dueck was a normal eighth grader in Canada, hoping that his favorite team would win the Stanley Cup for the third time. Then, early in the school year, he slipped climbing out of the shower an discovered a lump on his leg. He was then diagnosed with bone cancer.
After receiving two rounds of chemotherapy and being told that further therapy would mean the amputation of his leg, he announced that he wanted therapy stopped. He and his parents, devout fundamentalist Christians, decided to leave his health in God’s hands and seek alternative therapy. The decision sparked a court battle between his parents, who supported Tyrell’s decision, and the health care team, who sought to compel continued medical treatment and the planned amputation. The battle ultimately ended when doctors said that his cancer had spread to his lungs and there was little more that could be done for Tyrell.
1. Whose rights should take precedence?
2. Does a child (specifically, this competent 14-year-old) have the right to determine what will happen to him?
3. Should Tyrell ethically have the right to make the decision regarding his health care?