Proving perhaps that Ian McEwan was on to something, a recent case out of Connecticut seems to be playing out the drama of McEwan’s novel The Children Act:
The girl, identified in court papers as Cassandra C., learned that she had Hodgkin’s lymphoma in September. Ever since, she and her mother have been entangled in a legal battle with the state of Connecticut over whether Cassandra, who is still a minor, can refuse the chemotherapy that doctors say is likely to save her life. Without it, the girl’s doctors say, she will die.
I wonder if the Connecticut judge struggled with the decision as much as the judge in the novel did. Certainly, in The Children Act, the kid refusing cancer treatment had a much more compelling argument, citing his strong religious objections—a Jehovah’s Witness, he didn’t want a blood transfusion—while the teen and her mother here don’t seem to have any particularly good reason to refuse chemotherapy in this situation (but more about their reasoning might not have made it into the story) other than the general complaints about individual freedom.
On a related note, you can read my review of The Children Act here.