Court Order concerning an unborn child

 
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In Sydney Children’s Hospital Network, The Application of [2018] NSWSC 1259, F was heavily pregnant with B. B was diagnosed in utero with a condition where the aorta and the pulmonary artery were transposed. If not corrected, the condition would lead to B’s death within a short time of birth. B’s parents were practising Jehovah’s Witnesses. They opposed on religious grounds the use of donor blood or donor blood products, and couldn’t consent to the medical procedure if those products were used. The treating doctors offered to transfer F to another hospital. This was declined.

The doctors proposed to undertake the operation on the basis that the use of donor blood and donor blood products would be avoided if that was possible. However, they wished to retain the ability, in the exercise of medical judgment in the course of carrying out the operation, to resort to donor blood or donor blood products.

The Court identified the critical issue as the assessment of B’s best interests. The Court observed that the surgery was necessary to save B’s life. It authorised the hospital, conditional upon the live birth of B, to perform the medical procedure and any associated intervention, care or treatment using products considered to be desirable or necessary in the exercise of medical judgment.

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