An urgent hearing next Tuesday seeks to settle a dispute between health agency Health NZ and the parents of a four-month-old baby in need of heart surgery, New Zealand media reported on Wednesday (Nov 30).
Health NZ is seeking medical guardianship of the baby after his parents refused to allow him to receive donated blood from people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
The parents had said they were “extremely concerned” that blood donated by vaccinated people would adversely affect their child, NZ Stuff reported.
They added they had lined up their own “screened” donors, but doctors insisted on using blood from the country’s blood service, NZ Blood.
The parents’ lawyer, Sue Grey, said that the case was different from other medical guardianship cases involving parents refusing medical care.
They want better care than what the state is offering, the New Zealand Herald reported her as saying.
“Because they label my clients as conspiracy theorists, (their position) is that anything my clients say can be ignored,” she told the court.
Dr Mike Shepherd, Health NZ Auckland’s interim director, told NZ Stuff that “the decision to make an application (for medical guardianship) to the court is always made with the best interests of the child in mind”.
During an administrative hearing at the High Court in Auckland, the date for the hearing between Health NZ and the couple was set.
Supporters of the parents gathered outside the court, holding placards and loudhailers.
Some had to be turned away from the small courtroom after the public gallery filled up, according to the New Zealand Herald.
The couple were in attendance, along with their baby.
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