Health Sciences Building, 155 College Street, Room 106
  • March 30, 2016 from 4:10pm to 5:30pm

Speaker: Andrew Franklin-Hall, Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy; Faculty Affiliate, Joint Centre for Bioethics, University of Toronto

Bioethics orthodoxy says that treatment ought to be administered to competent patients only with their informed consent. Historically, minors have been presumed to lack the minimal understanding and maturity necessary for competence, so the authority to consent on their behalf has vested in others, typically parents. However, many jurisdictions now embrace some version of the idea that individual minors may be deemed sufficiently mature for competence in particular circumstances. But should mature minors have the same latitude in medical decision-making as adults? We frequently assume that ordinary adults, so long as they are informed, have the right to make what seem to be foolish decisions—particularly in refusing treatment. Should patient autonomy for mature minors extend that far? I will explain why it should not.