People ex rel. Wallace v. Labrenz, No. 32094

CourtSupreme Court of Illinois
Writing for the CourtSCHAEFER
Citation411 Ill. 618,30 A.L.R.2d 1132,104 N.E.2d 769
Parties, 30 A.L.R.2d 1132 PEOPLE ex rel. WALLACE et al. v. LABRENZ et al.
Docket NumberNo. 32094
Decision Date20 March 1952

Page 769

104 N.E.2d 769
411 Ill. 618, 30 A.L.R.2d 1132
PEOPLE ex rel. WALLACE et al.
v.
LABRENZ et al.
No. 32094.
Supreme Court of Illinois.
March 20, 1952.

[411 Ill. 619]

Page 771

Karl M. Milgrom, of Chicago, and Hayden C. Covington, of Brooklyn, N. Y., for plaintiffs in error.

Ivan A. Elliott, Atty. Gen., and John S. Boyle, State's Atty., of Chicago (Edwin T. Breen, John T. Gallagher, Rudolph L. Janega, Arthur F. Manning, and William J. McGah, Jr., all of Chicago, of counsel), for defendants in error.

SCHAEFER, Justice.

After a hearing upon a petition filed in the circuit court of Cook County, an order was entered finding that Cheryl Linn Labrenz, an infant then eight days old, was a dependent[411 Ill. 620] child whose life was endangered by the refusal of her parents to consent to a necessary blood transfusion. The court appointed a guardian for the child and authorized the guardian to consent to a blood transfusion. The propriety of that action is challenged here upon a writ of error raising constitutional issues.

The petition was filed on April 17, 1951. It alleged that Cheryl Linn Labrenz was born on April 11, 1951, that she was then in a hospital in Chicago, and that her parents, Darrell and Rhoda Labrenz, were wholly unwilling to care for and protect her, so that she had become a dependent child. The petition prayed that the child be taken from its parents and placed under the guardianship of a suitable person to be appointed by the court.

At the hearing which was had on this petition on April 18, 1951, the evidence showed that the child suffered from erythrobastosis fetalis (commonly called the RH blood condition,) a disease in which the red blood cells are destroyed by antibodies, or poisons. Hospital records and medical testimony established that the child's blood count had been dropping steadily since her birth; that the normal blood count of a child of her age was about 5,000,000, whereas her blood count was 1,950,000; that antibodies in the baby's blood stream were gradually destroying all of the red blood cells; that her blood-supplying system was unable to furnish a supply of its own blood adequate to overcome the condition, and that a blood transfusion was necessary.

There doctors testified. Two were certain that the child would die unless a transfusion was administered. The third doctor testified that the child had a slim chance to live without a transfusion, but that even if she did live, without a transfusion her brain would probably be so injured that she would be mentally impaired for life. The medical testimony also dealt with the degree of risk involved in a blood transfusion. One doctor testified that there would be no more hazard in a transfusion than in taking an aspirin. [411 Ill. 621] While all three doctors testified that there would be risks involved if diseased or mistyped blood was used in the transfusion, all of them agreed that such risk as existed was due to the impossibility of eliminating completely the chance of human error, and that, properly conducted, a transfusion would not involve any serious hazard.

The parents of the child testified that their refusal to consent to a transfusion was based upon religious grounds. Darrell Labrenz, the child's father, testified: 'it is my belief that the commandment given us in Genesis, Chapter 9, Verse 4, and subsequent commandment of Leviticus, Chapter 17, Verse 14, and also in the testimony after Christ's time and recorded in Acts, 15th Chapter, it is my opinion that any use of the blood is prohibited whether it be for food or whether it be for, as modern medical science puts it, for injections into the blood

Page 772

stream and as such I object to it. The life is in the blood and the life belongs to our father, Jehovah, and it is only his to give or take; it isn't ours, and as such I object to the using of the blood in connection with this case.'

Rhoda Labrenz, the mother, testified that 'we believe it would be breaking God's commandment to take away blood which he told us to eat of the flesh but should not take of the blood into our systems. The life is in the blood and blood should not be drained out. We feel that we would be breaking God's commandment, also destroying the baby's life for the future, not only this life, in case the baby should die and breaks the commandment, not only destroys our chances but also the baby's chances for future life. We feel it is more important than this life.'

At the conclusion of the evidence offered on behalf of the State, and again at the conclusion of all the evidence, a motion to dismiss the petition was overruled. The court appointed its chief probation officer to be guardian of the person of Chery Linn Labrenz, directed him to consent to a blood transfusion, and retained jurisdiction for the [411 Ill. 622] purpose of making further orders for the welfare of the child. On May 4, 1951, the guardian reported to the court that a transfusion had been administered on April 18, 1951, and that the child's health had greatly improved. The court then ordered that the child be released from the hospital and returned to the custody of her parents but refused to discharge the guardian because it found that further periodic medical examinations would be necessary...

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270 practice notes
  • Sloan v. Greenville County, No. 3704.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • December 8, 2003
    ...the exception to the rule of rejection without decision of academic questions articulated in Ashmore); People ex rel. Wallace v. Labrenz, 411 Ill. 618, 622, 104 N.E.2d 769, 772 (1952) (Among the criteria considered in determining the existence of the requisite degree of public interest are ......
  • Alton & So. Ry. Co. v. International Ass'n of Mach. & AW, No. 24217.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • April 11, 1972
    ...Dist., 66 Wash.2d 14, 19-20, 400 P.2d 778, 781-782 (1965), quoting Justice Schaefer in People ex rel. Wallace v. Labrenz, 411 Ill.2d 618, 104 N.E.2d 769, 772, 30 A.L.R. 2d 1132 (1952) ("well-recognized exception" applied in blood transfusion 9 The public interest in preventing an agency fro......
  • Bykofsky v. Borough of Middletown, Civ. No. 75-74.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Pennsylvania
    • August 22, 1975
    ...1883, 12 L.Ed.2d 746; In re Sampson, 1972, 29 N.Y.2d 900, 328 N.Y. S.2d 686, 278 N.E.2d 918; People ex rel. Wallace v. Labrenz, 1952, 411 Ill. 618, 104 N.E.2d 769, cert. denied, 1952, 344 U.S. 824, 73 S.Ct. 24, 97 L.Ed. 642; Raleigh Fitkin-Paul Memorial Hospital v. Anderson, 1964, 42 N.J. 4......
  • People v. Brown, Cr. 6655
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • December 22, 1960
    ...387, 390, 210 P.2d 503; Walling v. Mutual Wholesale Food & Supply Co., 8 Cir., 141 F.2d 331, 334-335; People ex rel. Wallace v. Labrenz, 411 Ill. 618, 104 N.E.2d 769, 772, 30 A.L.R.2d 1132; State ex rel. Smith v. Smith, 197 Or. 96, 252 P.2d 550, 563; 103 U. of Pa.L.Rev. 772, 783, 787-793; 1......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
271 cases
  • Sloan v. Greenville County, No. 3704.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • December 8, 2003
    ...the exception to the rule of rejection without decision of academic questions articulated in Ashmore); People ex rel. Wallace v. Labrenz, 411 Ill. 618, 622, 104 N.E.2d 769, 772 (1952) (Among the criteria considered in determining the existence of the requisite degree of public interest are ......
  • Alton & So. Ry. Co. v. International Ass'n of Mach. & AW, No. 24217.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • April 11, 1972
    ...Dist., 66 Wash.2d 14, 19-20, 400 P.2d 778, 781-782 (1965), quoting Justice Schaefer in People ex rel. Wallace v. Labrenz, 411 Ill.2d 618, 104 N.E.2d 769, 772, 30 A.L.R. 2d 1132 (1952) ("well-recognized exception" applied in blood transfusion 9 The public interest in preventing an agency fro......
  • Bykofsky v. Borough of Middletown, Civ. No. 75-74.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Pennsylvania
    • August 22, 1975
    ...1883, 12 L.Ed.2d 746; In re Sampson, 1972, 29 N.Y.2d 900, 328 N.Y. S.2d 686, 278 N.E.2d 918; People ex rel. Wallace v. Labrenz, 1952, 411 Ill. 618, 104 N.E.2d 769, cert. denied, 1952, 344 U.S. 824, 73 S.Ct. 24, 97 L.Ed. 642; Raleigh Fitkin-Paul Memorial Hospital v. Anderson, 1964, 42 N.J. 4......
  • People v. Brown, Cr. 6655
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • December 22, 1960
    ...387, 390, 210 P.2d 503; Walling v. Mutual Wholesale Food & Supply Co., 8 Cir., 141 F.2d 331, 334-335; People ex rel. Wallace v. Labrenz, 411 Ill. 618, 104 N.E.2d 769, 772, 30 A.L.R.2d 1132; State ex rel. Smith v. Smith, 197 Or. 96, 252 P.2d 550, 563; 103 U. of Pa.L.Rev. 772, 783, 787-793; 1......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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