Hannah’s change of heart

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hannah_jonesDo you remember this little girl, Hannah Jones? I do. I remember seeing her incredible story a few months ago. Hannah has had a horrible battle with cancer that has left her with a hole in her heart.

To survive she needed a heart transplant. This 14 year old girl decided that she didn’t want to go on the transplant list for a donor heart and her parents backed her decision.

There was an outcry along the lines of someone this young shouldn’t have the right to make such a huge decision about life and death. From memory, Hannah’s family had a legal battle on their hands for Hannah to be able to refuse a donor heart. At the time I too was on Hannah’s side and saw in this little girl’s face the ordeal she must have already gone through and understood (in only a way one can who hasn’t had cancer), that she just didn’t want anymore operations.

And so the story continues this morning as reported on www.ninemsn.com.au that Hannah has changed her mind.

From ninemsn:

A terminally ill British teenager who demanded the right to die has suddenly changed her mind. Hannah Jones, 14, has put her name back on the transplant list for a donor heart, eight months after rejecting the offer of a new heart.

The teenager originally turned down the new organ because she believed she had already suffered “too much trauma” following a battle with cancer that left her with a heart defect.

But after suffering partial kidney failure nine days ago, Hannah has now agreed to the surgery after being informed that she cannot receive dialysis until she receives the heart.

“The right side of my heart isn’t beating at all, and after lots of tests I realised there were more benefits to having a new heart to staying like I was,” the Daily Mail reported Hannah as saying.

“If I had a new heart, I’d be on less tablets than I am at the moment. I take 27, but afterwards it would only be about 12.

“I know I decided I definitely didn’t want this, but everyone’s entitled to change their mind.”

Hannah has been placed back on the top of the transplant list at Hereford Hospital.

The girl’s mother, who is an ex-nurse, has expressed relief at her daughter’s about face.

“I’m absolutely happy to leave the decision to her … but I’m glad she made this decision,” Kirsty Jones said.

“Hannah’s incredibly brave and we are behind her decision 100 percent.”

The girl was left with a hole in her heart after a successful battle with leukaemia at just four years of age. Hearts for children her age are reportedly rare and she could be waiting several months for the transplant.

So this story raises a very difficult but interesting question. At what age do you allow someone the right to make their own decisions? Can a 14 year old make the right decision about their own life, and I use the term right decision, very loosely. I understand that every person is different and we all grow and mature differently. But are you surprised that this seemingly very mature 14 year old girl has changed her mind after a scare? The thought of dying is a scary thought for anyone of any age.

What’s your opinion?

1 Comment
  • Ben Holmes
    July 22, 2009

    Everybody has a right to change their mind, no matter what their age. and especially in an instance like this, and nobody should really criticise her for making it. However what it probably does also show is that we should probably be pushing for life saving surgery on all patients that need it. People are always up in arms about how persons have the right to die if they wish. But i wonder just how many have gone past the point of no return, only to find a reason to live for?

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