Today the Family Court of Western Australia has followed the wishes of a terminally ill child’s parents in ordering against the provision of chemotherapy for a child who is suffering from a terminal brain tumour. The parents fought the Doctors because in their words they wanted their son “to live, not just be alive”. The Court instead ordered that palliative care only be provided.
Tragic in every sense of the word, this case highlights the jurisdiction of the Family Court of Australia in making decisions about medical procedures for children, be they for life saving surgery or procedures, or more complicated matters such as surgery for Gender Dysmorphia or sterilisation in severely handicapped children.
The Family Court has jurisdiction over such matters as a result of a parenting application being able to be made by any person concerned with the care, welfare and development of a child. In this case the child’s treating medical practitioners brought the Application.
Such Applications are most commonly brought by a parent who is in dispute with the other parent about more minor medical procedures such as vaccinations, as these are decisions which have to be made by parents jointly as a result of the presumption of shared parental responsibility.
If you need expert advice in relation to matters such as decision making for your child or children and their living arrangements or other specific issues, contact us at Marino Law for an appointment with our Family Law specialist.