Curative or palliative treatment for child

Child & Adolescent Health Services v Kiszko [2016] FCWA 75 addressed a renewed application by the medical practitioners caring for a 6 year old child, such that the child should receive chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The parents of the child did not consent, seeking only palliative treatment. An independent lawyer appointed for the child submitted that the court should not make an order for curative treatment.

The court said at [82]:

The exercise by the Court of that decision-making responsibility and power is then informed not only by the medical evidence, but by all the other factors which influence a determination of what course of action is in the best interests of the individual child. Necessarily, that will include giving significant weight to the parental role. That is so, as regardless of the exercise of parental responsibility per se the child’s welfare and best interests are inextricably entwined with his role as a member of his family in any event.

Having regard to the best interests of the child, the court ruled in favour of palliative care (at [100]).