Jehovah's Witness, 15, crushed by car dies after refusing blood transfusion because of his faith
By Fay Schlesinger
A schoolboy died after refusing a blood transfusion following a car crash because he was a Jehovah’s Witness.
Joshua McAuley, 15, suffered life-threatening injuries to his legs and abdomen after being pinned against a shop front by an out-of-control car as he went to buy sweets.
He survived the crash in Smethwick, West Midlands, and remained conscious, but lost a massive amount of blood and was airlifted to hospital for a transfusion.
But Joshua died six hours later, after he refused to consent to the operation because of his faith, church representatives said.
Under medical law, doctors are required to decide whether a child under 16 is
competent enough to consent to or refuse medical treatment without the need for parental permission or knowledge.
Sources at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust suggested doctors followed this law, known as the Gillick competence test, before deciding Joshua was able to make his own decision.
It is unclear whether either of the boys’ parents were at the hospital at the time.
Last night members of his congregation described how he told doctors ‘no blood, no
blood, no blood’ after he was flown to Selly Oak Hospital, in Birmingham.
As a Jehovah’s Witness from a devout family, Joshua followed the belief that blood is sacred and transfusions are prohibited by the Bible.
Hospital staff are thought to have begged the teenager to change his mind, but he
Clive Parker, an elder at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses where Joshua and his family worshipped, said: ‘I believe he was conscious enough after the accident and he made a stand on the blood issue. He made the choice personally.’
Joshua, who was about to start his GCSEs at the local Shireland Academy, went to
buy sweets while out preaching to residents at 11.15am on Saturday, when the accident happened, friends said.
Firemen battled to free Joshua, as others trapped inside the shop feared the building would collapse.
Paramedics gave him pain relief and emergency treatment at the roadside, before
flying him to hospital. Four other pedestrians were hurt in the crash – one seriously.
The 28-year-old male driver, from Birmingham, has been bailed pending further
inquiries, West Midlands Police said.
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