Autonomy in Treatment of Minors-Diamond

For the debate I have decided to argue against teens/minors to be able to say whether or not they would like treatment.  I believe minors should not be able to say whether they would like medical help or not.

In a case in Connecticut that caught many peoples eyes was a teen who was appointed by the state’s supreme court that she must undergo chemotherapy against her wishes. This was an ongoing case that caught headlines. 18 year old Cassandra was diagnosed with  Hodgkin’s lymphoma which has an 85% survival rate. Many are cured within the 6 months of their chemotherapy. However, Cassandra refused treatment and says it was because she was looking into alternatives. As stated by the physicians this was the best way and while the case was going Cassandra ran away which showed that she was incapable of making her own decisions and the state was given temporary custody. In cases such as ones like Cassandra who are only thinking of themselves and not the people around them as well is a reason that many minors are unable to make their own decisions. It may be there body and it should be their decision but not everything is fully developed yet.

With minors studies have shown that the brain is not fully developed yet and is incapable of making decisions because of the fact that it is not fully developed. For example the amygdala is a region of the brain that develops earlier. However, the frontal cortex develops later and is still changing and maturing well into adulthood. Many minors act on impulse of what they believe is right, while the parent already knows what is right because their brain is much more mature and developed.

There is much more to be said about this on going discussion that is bringing more attention to the media. Many reasons such as the brain not developing, minors not being old enough, etc are the reason on why I believe that minors should not have the right to refuse medication.


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