Managing Emergency Blood Transfusions for Minors

There are legal implications when dealing with blood transfusions for minors. It is not uncommon for Health and Medical Practitioners to face difficult situations when a child’s parent refuses a blood transfusion; such as on religious grounds. That is why there is legislation in each state and territory for a minor’s emergency treatment (like blood transfusions).

Medico-legal advice 24/7

As medical indemnity insurance providers in Australia, we are here to help you understand the rules regarding the care of children under 18. Our goal is to keep up to date with the rules and regulations in regards to all of  practice risks.

Medical Indemnity Insurance Australia

Here is what you need to know

Australian Capital Territory

A healthcare practitioner can administer a blood transfusion to a child (under 18) without parental consent if:

  • the child’s parent has refused to consent to the transfusion
  • the medical practitioner is of the opinion that it is not practicable to delay the administration of the transfusion until consent can be obtained.

New South Wales

“A  practitioner may carry out medical treatment( including a blood transfusion) on a person under 18 years of age without consent (of either the patient or their parents) if the medical practitioner is of the opinion that it is necessary,as a matter of urgency, in order to save their life or to prevent serious damage to their health.”

 Section 174, Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection Act 1998 Emergency

Northern Territory

A health practitioner can perform an operation (including a blood transfusion and the administering of unaesthetic) on a child under 18 years of age, without consent of the patient or if the medical practitioner and at least one other medical practitioner are of the opinion that:

  • The patient is in danger of suffering or dying from a permanent and critical disability
  • The operation is desirable to prevent death or disability.
  • Sections 2 and 3, Emergency Medical Operations Act 1973


Queensland legislation is consistent with the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania. In Queensland, the transfusion must be essential in preserving the child’s life and the decision has to be agreed upon by either a second medical practitioner or the medical superintendent.

As a Medical Practitioner with Tego Insurance

As medical indemnity insurance providers in Australia, we will cover your practice with medical indemnity insurance, medical malpractice insurance, doctors indemnity insurance, medical practice insurance, gp medical indemnity insurance, and more. Your medical indemnity insurance comes with 24/7 medico-legal advice and support to guide you through any medico-legal issue including the one we have explored here. 

This publication is general in nature and is not comprehensive or constitutes legal or medical advice. You should seek legal, medical or other professional advice before relying on any content, and practice proper clinical decision making with regard to individual circumstances. Persons implementing any recommendations contained in this publication must exercise their own independent skill or judgment or seek appropriate professional advice relevant to their own particular practice. Compliance with any recommendations will not in any way guarantee discharge of the duty of care owed to patients and others coming into contact with the health professional or practice. Tego Insurance Pty Ltd is not responsible to you or anyone else for any loss su­ffered in connection with the use of this information.