9 Jul 2008

Court saves baby's life after Jehovah's Witnesses parents refuse transfusion

News24 - South Africa
July 9, 2008

by Norman Silke | Die Burger

Port Elizabeth - Strict religious beliefs nearly claimed the life of a 14-day-old baby at the weekend.

The Legal Aid Board and Port Elizabeth High Court had to intervene on Friday night to save the life of a baby boy.

Dave McGlew of the Legal Aid Board in Port Elizabeth said the baby was born 10 weeks premature on June 23.

He had to have an urgent blood transfusion, but the religious beliefs of his parents, who are Jehovah's Witnesses, did not allow it.

Jehovah's Witnesses keep strictly to the Bible's decree that no form of blood may be eaten. They believe this is applicable also to the storage and transfusion of blood.

McGlew said Netcare Greenacres Hospital, where the baby was being treated, asked for legal aid and the case eventually ended up at the Legal Aid Board.

Court ordered transfusion

According to a statement, advocate Lilla Crouse of the Legal Aid Board had to act quickly to ensure that a judge, a registrar and a stenographer reported to the court at 18:00 to hear an urgent application and a paediatrician was asked to testify.

The court ordered at 19:00 that a blood transfusion should be done.

Parents are required to give permission for a blood transfusion for a minor. McGlew said the High Court, as supreme guardian of all minors, could give consent for a blood transfusion.

He emphasised that the parents did not oppose the application, but could not give consent themselves.

Crouse said: "My heart went out to the child's parents. The couple must've known that, with their decision, they were signing their child's death certificate."

Crouse's statement said that the paediatrician had explained that, without a blood transfusion, the child would have died on Friday night or Saturday morning.

The judge apparently went to a lot of trouble to explain to the parents, whose names were not allowed be publicised, why he ordered the blood transfusion.

'Some people die because of this belief'

Juvenal Coelho, an elder at the Jehovah's Witnesses church in South End, Port Elizabeth, quoted various passages from the Bible that forbade the eating of blood in any form.

According to him, this included the intake of blood through a person's veins.

He said: "Some people die because of this belief, but we believe in a resurrection in God's new paradise.

"What happened will not be held against the parents or the child; it wasn't their decision."

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1 comment:

  1. TRANSFUSION CONFUSION Simple fact-The Bible does not prohibit Blood transfusions.If you are bleeding to death it is more dangerous to refuse a blood transfusions than to take one.

    Bloodless surgeries are great if they can be elective.1/3rd of all trauma deaths are from blood loss. The Watchtower promotes and praises bloodless elective surgeries,this is a great advancement indeed.BUT it's no good to me if I am bleeding to death from a car crash and lose much of my blood volume and need EMERGENCY blood transfusion.

    Remember the Jehovah's Witnesses use thousands and thousands of pints of blood donated by others. The use 60% of the blood volume as broken down "fractions" then go on Bible thumping rants about how dangerous and sinful blood transfusions are. ( JW do allow organ transplants which has more risk than whole blood transfusions so their arguments of disease transmission is bogus)They are such HYPOCRITES!

    http://www.ajwrb.org/ Jehovah Witness blood policy reform site

    Will you die for a lie?