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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 200963 Find in a Library
Title: Religious Issues (From Child Abuse and Neglect: Guidelines for Identification, Assessment, and Case Management, P 181-184, 2003, Marilyn Strachan Peterson and Michael Durfee, eds. -- See NCJ-200932)
Author(s): Seth Asser M.D.
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 4
Sponsoring Agency: Volcano Press, Inc
Volcano, CA 95689
Sale Source: Volcano Press, Inc
P.O. Box 270
Volcano, CA 95689
United States of America
Type: Instructional Material; Issue Overview
Format: Book (Softbound)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter discusses legal and medical issues that may arise when the medical treatment needed by a child is impeded or denied by parents because of their religious beliefs.
Abstract: There are two types of religious organizations that refuse medical care based upon their beliefs. Jehovah's Witnesses do not have a prohibition against medical treatment but oppose blood transfusion. Christian Scientists and some Pentecostal fundamentalist sects rely exclusively on faith healing while avoiding medical treatment for themselves and their children. In virtually all cases involving Jehovah's Witnesses in which blood transfusion or component therapy is necessary to prevent disability or to save the life of a child, courts will order the necessary medical care. The need to avoid all but the most essential transfusions has become generally accepted in the medical community, and research is being pursued to develop blood substitutes and other alternative therapies. Children from families that practice an exclusive reliance on faith healing present a special problem because they rarely come into contact with the medical-care system, and then usually only after death. It is imperative that community leaders who have focused on child abuse and neglect take a firm stand against religious-exemption laws at the State and Federal level, such that there can be no legal entanglements that might delay or prevent children from receiving medical help because of their parents' exclusive reliance on faith healing. When faced with cases of parental religious refusal of medical treatment for a child, medical personnel should be gently persistent. Should this not be sufficient to cause the parents to change their position, then legal intervention on behalf of the child should be pursued. A case study with accompanying questions is provided. 6 suggested readings
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Child neglect causes; Neglectful parents; Physician child abuse neglect role; Religion; Religious freedom
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