Brief Fact Summary. Wons (Defendant), a Jehovah's Witness, refused to receive a blood transfusion while still conscious and competent.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. A competent adult has a lawful right to refuse, for religious reasons, a blood transfusion even though death may result without it.
These factors are: 1 Preservation of life, 2 protection of innocent third parties, 3 prevention of suicide, and 4 maintenance of the ethical integrity of the medical profession.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Does a competent adult have a lawful right to refuse, for religious reasons, a blood transfusion even though death may result without it?
Held. [Judge not stated in casebook excerpt.] Yes. A competent adult has a lawful right to refuse, for religious reasons, a blood transfusion even though death may result without it. The constitutional guarantees of religious freedom and privacy are sacred. Although it is important to the development of Won's (Defendant) two minor children to have the nurture and support of their mother, it is not enough to override her fundamental constitutional rights. In this case, Defendant made an informed choice, based upon her religious beliefs, and rejected the transfusion. Without a compelling state interest to show otherwise, she has a right to make the choice. Affirmed.
Discussion. A patient may not be prevented from participating in risky activities. The logical difference between refusing a medical treatment and climbing Mount Everest is small when evaluating the risk to the patient's life. Inconsistent intervention by the state cannot be easily tolerated when it tends to isolate specific groups on the basis of religious beliefs.
Black Letter Law: to view the black letter law, scroll down to the LexisNexis Headnotes of this case. What’s a headnote?