Bone marrow transplant for child: Court approval not required

Re Joel [2013] NSWSC 1299 saw the Court consider an application for approval of a bone marrow transplant procedure, for a very young boy suffering from infantile malignant osteopetrosis, a rare genetic disorder. The treatment was said to be necessary in order avoid further loss of his vision.

The child was subject to an interim order for parental responsibility. The Director-General and the Minister accepted the need for the treatment, as did the parents.

In the circumstances the Court took the view that an order was unnecessary, saying at [12]:

The Court’s resistance to the making of an order in this case is because it is unnecessary. When the Court is exercising its parens patriae jurisdiction it must be careful not to intrude unnecessarily into matters. It is understandable that medical practitioners, parents, and those with parental responsibility, would want the imprimatur of a Court order, particularly where there is a fear that the treatment may be unsuccessful and the child may perish; but that is not the role of the Court in this particular application. However I should say that on the evidence, it seems to me that the Minister would be justified in consenting to this treatment.