Adolescent Consent for Transplantation and Ethical Uncertainty
One of the most obvious and troubling features of the Santillan case was the fact that the central actor, Jesica, remained silent and unconscious throughout most of the events. This chapter highlights problem of adolescent agency in the case of medical consent and the cultural ideologies that may have determined Jesica's personal narrative. It argues that Jesica's treatment narrative was shaped by four powerful cultural beliefs about the body and medicine: it is rational to want to preserve the body at any cost; all medical interventions reduce suffering; adults are better able to determine what medical interventions will enhance a mature minor's quality of life; and physicians are the authorities when it comes to determining when a parent or patient is making a rational medical choice.
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