A Jehovah's Witness being treated at St. Vincent's Medical Center was administered a blood transfusion despite his explicit request not to be given that procedure, which violates his religious beliefs. The Watchtower, September 15, 1961, p. 558, Durable Power of Attorney form, published by Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, January 2001 p. 1, The Watchtower, February 15, 1964, p. 127-128, The Watchtower, November 15, 1964, p. 680-683, Letter to All Presiding Overseers and Secretaries in the United States, Watchtower May 3, 2001, and Enclosure, Letter to All Presiding Overseers and Secretaries in the United States, Watchtower December 20, 2001, The Watchtower, September 15, 1961, p. 563-564. It is appropriate to have a frank, confidential discussion with the patient about the potential risks of their decision and the possible alternatives to transfusion, but the freely expressed wish of a competent adult must always be respected. [66] Regarding Jehovah's Witnesses’ acceptance of the organization's official position on blood, Drs Cynthia Gyamfi and Richard Berkowitz state, "It is naïve to assume that all people in any religious group share the exact same beliefs, regardless of doctrine. Blood donation strictly for purpose of further fractionation of red cells, white cells, platelets or plasma for either allogeneic or autologous transfusion. He claims such organizational pressure compromises the autonomy of Witness patients and interferes with their privacy and confidentiality. Judge orders doctors to give Jehovah’s Witness girl blood transfusion against her parents’ wishes. [117], Kerry Louderback-Wood alleges that by labeling the currently acceptable blood fractions as "minute" in relation to whole blood, the Watch Tower organization causes followers to misunderstand the scope and extent of allowed fractions. He says loving God means obeying commandments, not disobeying them and hiding one's disobedience from others. The High Court heard doctors must go ahead with the procedure because, although the 15-year-old is intelligent and able to make her own decisions, she should not be allowed to die. Watch Tower Society publications frequently claim negative consequences of blood transfusions: Opposition to the Watch Tower doctrines on blood transfusions has come from both members and non-members. Watch Tower publications state that some products derived from one of the four primary components may be so similar to the function of the whole component and carry on such a life-sustaining role in the body that "most Christians would find them objectionable". Case reports reveal JW patients have changed their earlier decision to accept blood treatment after a visit from the elders." "[87], In 1964, Jehovah's Witnesses were prohibited from obtaining transfusions for pets, from using fertilizer containing blood, and were even advised (if their conscience troubled them) to write to dog food manufacturers to verify that their products were blood-free. [111][112][113], Watch Tower spokesman Donald T. Ridley says neither elders nor HLC members are instructed or encouraged to probe into the health care decisions of Witness patients and do not involve themselves in patient hospitalisations unless patients request their assistance. [49], Annually since 2004, Jehovah's Witnesses in the United States have been informed that "with your consent, the law allows for the elders to learn of your admission [to hospital] and provide spiritual encouragement",[51] but that "elders serving on a Patient Visitation Group [could] have access to your name" only if patients made their wishes known according to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). In fact, bloodless treatments developed to help Witness patients are now being used to benefit all in the community. Donald T. Ridley, "Jehovah's Witnesses' refusal of blood: obedience to scripture and religious conscience", "OK Kosher Certification — Salting of Meat", "SCT in Jehovah's Witnesses: the bloodless transplant", "Bloodless cardiac surgery: not just possible, but preferable", "Blood Transfusion or Not: A Literature Review of Bloodless Interventions to Treat Cancer Related Anemia". ", "Bioethics of the refusal of blood by Jehovah's Witnesses: Part 2. Would he be obedient if he quit drinking alcohol but had it put directly into his veins? "Jehovah's Witnesses, Blood Transfusions and the Tort of Misrepresentation", Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, Criticism of Jehovah's Witnesses § Blood, "Jehovah's Witnesses: Official Statement to the Media on Blood Transfusions", "More doctors honor religious objections to blood transfusions", "Bioethics of the refusal of blood by Jehovah's Witnesses: Part 3. What Bible view do Jehovah’s Witnesses hold regarding life, and what questions does this raise? The researchers noted that contact details of the respondents were provided by congregation elders, which may have influenced the responses given. "[122], Osamu Muramoto says the Watch Tower Society relies on discarded, centuries-old medical beliefs to support its assertion that blood transfusions are the same as eating blood. [38], In some countries, including Canada and the United Kingdom, a parent or guardian's decision can be legally overruled by medical staff. An adult Jehovah’s Witness who is unable to consent to or refuse treatment . 43 p. 668, Transfusion-Free Medicine, edited by Dr Nicolas Jabbour, 2005 p. 13. [105] He has questioned why white blood cells (1 per cent of blood volume) and platelets (0.17 per cent) are forbidden, yet albumin (2.2 per cent of blood volume) is permitted. "[123] Muramoto says the analogy is false, explaining: "Orally ingested alcohol is absorbed as alcohol and circulated as such in the blood, whereas orally eaten blood is digested and does not enter the circulation as blood. He has criticized the "controlling intervention" of the Watch Tower Society by means of what he claims is information control and its policy of penalising members who accept blood transfusions or advocate freedom to choose blood-based treatment. The court said: "The freedom to accept or refuse specific medical treatment, or to select an alternative form of treatment, is vital to the principles of self-determination and personal autonomy. In many countries, any patient can now choose to avoid blood-transfusion risks, such as blood-borne diseases, immune-system reactions, and human errors. Jehovah’s Witness Liaison Committee Contact Mike Murphy 0114 247 2175 or mobile 07952 651164 mikemurphy@tiscali.co.uk Reference - Clinical strategies for managing haemorrhage and anaemia without blood transfusion (2003) Hospital information services for Jehovah’s Witnesses Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the Bible prohibits Christians from accepting blood transfusions. [52], Jehovah's Witnesses' branch offices communicate directly with congregations regarding "ways to benefit from the activities of the Hospital Liaison Committee (HLC) and the Patient Visitation Group (PVG). Buber states the Jehovah's Witness prisoners all ate blood sausage, until around 1943. [32] As of 2006, there are 1,535 Hospital Liaison Committees worldwide coordinating communication between 110,000 physicians. [124] Muramoto says the view that blood is nourishment—still espoused in Watch Tower publications[125]—was abandoned by modern medicine many decades ago. They have consistently refused donor blood ever since transfusions began to be widely used in civilian medical practice in the 1940s, and this scriptural position has not changed. [123] A 1990 Watch Tower brochure on blood quoted a 17th-century anatomist to support its view. Reform group: The "Associated Jehovah's Witnesses for Reform on Blood" [AJWRB] describes themselves as "a diverse group of Witnesses from many countries, including elders and other organization officials, Hospital Liaison Committee members, Doctors, and members of the general public who have volunteered their time and energies in an effort to bring about an end to a tragic and … Labeling or Tagging, blood is withdrawn, mixed with medicine, and then returned to the patient by transfusion. [59], Watch Tower publications have noted that within religions, the personal beliefs of members often differ from official doctrine. Buber, M., Under Two Dictators, 1949 pp. Thus, current extreme blood management strategies do not appear to place patients at heightened risk for reduced long-term survival." Jehovah’s witnesses are not permitted to accept blood products or blood. [120], Douglas E. Cowan, an academic in the sociology of religion, has claimed that members of the Christian countercult movement who criticize the Watch Tower Society, make selective use of information themselves. He has advocated a policy in which the Watch Tower organization and congregation elders would not question patients on the details of their medical care and patients would not disclose such information. [50] It disseminates information about treatment options to local Hospital Liaison Committees, and to doctors and hospitals. In the lawsuit Geyer filed in Superior Court, he contends he has suffered extreme emotional and physical trauma as a result of the transfusion. The revised 2001 documents were active until December 20, 2001. Likewise, increased clinical experience with hemoglobin-based oxygen carriers in Jehovah's Witnesses with critical anemia has provided new insights into their potential benefits and pitfalls. "[110], Muramoto has claimed the intervention of Hospital Liaison Committees can add to "organisational pressure" applied by family members, friends and congregation members on Witness patients to refuse blood-based treatment. [11][105][109] In one particular case involving a Russian district court decision, however, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) found nothing in the judgments to suggest that any form of improper pressure or undue influence was applied. [31] Many physicians have expressed a willingness to respect patients' preferences and provide bloodless treatment[32][need quotation to verify] and about 200 hospitals offer bloodless medicine and surgery programs for patients who wish to avoid or limit blood transfusions. A small group of people belonging to a certain religion, called Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW) do not accept blood transfusion or blood products, based on biblical readings. Those in the medical field and many others regard the transfer of blood from one human to another as an accepted therapeutic method.⁠ 1 * But there are people who do not accept blood transfusions. [80] The prohibition did not specify any punitive measures for accepting a transfusion, but by January 1961—in what was later described as an application of "increased strictness"[81]—it was ruled that it was a disfellowshipping offense to conscientiously accept a blood transfusion. This case echoes the 2017 movie, The Children Act, which is based on an Ian McEwan book. Jehovah’s Witnesses frequently carry a signed and witnessed Advance Decision Document listing the blood products and autologous procedures that are, or are not, acceptable to them. Where appropriate, the patient and clinical team may find it helpful to contact the local Hospital Liaison Committee for Jehovah’s Witnesses (contact details should be in the relevant local hospital policy document but can be obtained through the UK central coordinating office, Hospital Information Services – tel 02089062211 [24 hours] or via hid.gb@jw.org). Print; Summary. Useful resources to assist in the management of patients who refuse blood transfusions include: Joint United Kingdom (UK) Blood Transfusion and Tissue Transplantation Services Professional Advisory Committee, Care Pathways for the Management of Adult Patients Refusing Blood (including Jehovah’s Witnesses patients), Better Blood Transfusion Toolkit – Pre-op Assessment for Jehovah’s Witnesses, Code of Practice for the Surgical Management of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Developing a Blood Conservation Care Plan for Jehovah’s Witness Patients with Malignant Disease, 2. [105] He says the Society offers no biblical explanation for differentiating between prohibited treatments and those considered a "matter of conscience", explaining the distinction is based entirely on arbitrary decisions of the Governing Body, to which Witnesses must adhere strictly on the premise of them being Bible-based "truth". For example, Christian apologist Richard Abanes wrote that their ban on blood transfusions, "has led to countless Witness deaths over the years, including many children. They are Jehovah’s Witnesses. Jehovah’s Witnesses, Blood Transfusion and the legal and Ethical Dilemma – Agboola Peter. DEVELOPING A BLOOD CONSERVATION CARE PLAN . "[67], Ambivalence and rejection of the blood doctrine dates back to at least the 1940s. Larry J. Findley and Paul M. Redstone to evaluate individual belief in respect to blood among Jehovah's Witnesses. The following medical procedures are prohibited: The following procedures and products are not prohibited, and are left to the decision of individual members:[27], A variety of bloodless surgical techniques have been developed for use on patients who refuse blood transfusions for reasons that include concern about AIDS, hepatitis, and other blood-borne infections, or immune system reactions. [61], In 1958, The Watchtower reported on a particular member of Jehovah's Witnesses who voluntarily accepted blood transfusion, contrary to Watchtower doctrine. "[53] A Jehovah's Witnesses publication in 2000 reported that Argentina had fewer than a hundred HLC committeemen "giving vital information to the medical community", adding that "their work is complemented by hundreds of other self-sacrificing elders who make up Patient Visitation Groups that call on Witness patients to help and encourage them". Putney, Leeann J. WITH MALIGNANT DISEASE. Please destroy these items and make sure that they are not distributed to the publishers." Young adults also showed a willingness to accept blood transfusions. In a hospital, when a patient cannot eat through his mouth, he is fed intravenously. "Bridging the Gap Between Doctors and Witness Patients", January 3, 2006 Letter from Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses; To all Congregations, The Watchtower October 15, 1987 p. 14, "Three areas for attention were mentioned: secretly accepting a blood transfusion, masturbation, and alcohol abuse. "[77], In September 1945, representatives of the Watch Tower Society in the Netherlands commented on blood transfusion in the Dutch edition of Consolation. "[114] Nevertheless Ridley says Muramoto's suggestion that Witnesses should be free to disregard Watch Tower scriptural teachings and standards is preposterous. And ... organ transplants are now permitted by the WTS. Question: "Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse blood transfusions?" Nearly all Jehovah’s Witnesses abstain from transfusions (Picture: Getty Images) Sir James ruled the procedure should go ahead, as without a blood transfusion there was a … [54] Each branch office appoints PVG committeemen, who serve as volunteers. Cowan also says Abanes omits "critical issues" in an attempt to "present the most negative face possible." Jehovah’s Witnesses decline the use of blood transfusions as a matter of faith, however, and other patients do so for personal reasons. Some of them are Jehovah’s Witnesses, in spite of a strict edict against the practice in their faith. Hemodilution, a modified technique in which equipment is arranged in a circuit that is constantly linked to the patient's circulatory system. The researchers stated, "The members of this congregation are adamant in their refusal to accept all blood products... Not one of the members stated they would receive a blood transfusion even if their refusal meant death, Almost one third of the respondents had personally refused blood transfusions". [79], In 1945, the application of the doctrine on blood was expanded to prohibit blood transfusions of whole blood, whether allogeneic or autologous. Scroll Back To Top Write Comment. Jehovah’s Witnesses often point to the risk that one might contract a serious illness from a contaminated blood transfusion, but the same Consumer Reports article referenced above proved that the chances of this occurring are substantially less than being killed in an auto accident or a plane crash. [37] The Watch Tower Society has acknowledged that some members have died after refusing blood. [91] In 1990, a brochure entitled How Can Blood Save Your Life? [127], David Malyon, chairman of the English Hospital Liaison Committee in Luton, England, has claimed that Muramoto's discussion of the differences between consuming blood and alcohol is pedantic and says blood laws in the Bible are based upon the reverence for life and its association with blood, and that laws should be kept in the spirit as much as in the letter. 3, 4. [105] He has criticized an analogy commonly used by the Society[126] in which it states: "Consider a man who is told by the doctor that he must abstain from alcohol. According to this very rough estimate, based on old data (a 1993 medical study, 6.000.000 Witnesses worldwide instead of current 8.000.000) about 900 Witnesses die each year as a result of refusing blood … This includes the use of red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and blood plasma. [43] The department was given oversight of each branch office's Hospital Information Desk,[44][45][46] and of one hundred Hospital Liaison Committees established throughout the United States. At least lives will be save. [47][48] As of 2003, about 200 hospitals worldwide provide bloodless medical programs. Acts 15:20 says, "Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood." It noted: "On the contrary, it appears that many Jehovah's Witnesses have made a deliberate choice to refuse blood transfusions in advance, free from time constraints of an emergency situation." Blood leaving the body of a human or animal must be disposed of. 1 By blood transfusions, they mean whole blood, red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, or platelets. Quality in blood and tissue establishments and hospital blood banks, 3: Care and selection of whole blood and component donors (including donors of pre-deposit autologous blood), 4: Premises and quality assurance at blood donor sessions, 5: Collection of a blood or component donation, 6: Evaluation and manufacture of blood components, 8: Evaluation of novel blood components, production processes and blood packs: generic protocols, 9: Microbiology tests for donors and donations: general specifications for laboratory test procedures, 10: Investigation of suspected transfusion-transmitted infection, 12: Donation testing (red cell immunohaematology), 13: Patient testing (red cell immunohaematology), 14: Guidelines for the use of DNA/PCR techniques in Blood Establishments, 15: Molecular typing for red cell antigens, 21: Tissue banking: tissue retrieval and processing, 23: Specification for the uniform labelling of blood, blood components and blood donor samples, 24: Specification for the uniform labelling of human tissue products using ISBT 128, 25: Standards for electronic data interchange within the UK Blood Transfusion Services, 26: Specification for blood pack base labels, 27: Specification for labelling consumables used in therapeutic product production, Annex 1: Standards available from the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control, Annex 2: ISBT 128 check character calculation, Annex 5: Blood Components for Contingency Use, Bone Marrow and Peripheral Blood Stem Cell, 2: Basics of blood groups and antibodies, 4: Safe transfusion – right blood, right patient, right time and right place, 6: Alternatives and adjuncts to blood transfusion, 7: Effective transfusion in surgery and critical care, 8: Effective transfusion in medical patients, 9: EFFECTIVE transfusion in obstetric practice, 10: Effective transfusion in paediatric practice, 12: Management of patients who do not accept transfusion, Aide Memoir Interpretations\Clarifications, Principles of the EI Guidance Issued by the MHRA, 12.2: Jehovah’s Witnesses and blood transfusion, Safe transfusion – right blood, right patient, right time and right place, Alternatives and adjuncts to blood transfusion, Effective transfusion in surgery and critical care, Effective transfusion in medical patients, EFFECTIVE transfusion in obstetric practice, Effective transfusion in paediatric practice, Management of patients who do not accept transfusion, Anxiety about the risks of blood transfusion, Jehovah’s Witnesses and blood transfusion, Mental competence and refusal of transfusion, http://www.rcseng.ac.uk/publications/docs/jehovahs_witness.html. Jehovah’s Witnesses for a malignant condition where blood or blood component support would normally be part of the treatment plan. [113][115], Muramoto recommends doctors have a private meeting with patients to discuss their wishes, and that church elders and family members not be present, enabling patients to feel free of church pressure. [78], According to sociologist Richard Singelenbreg, the statement appearing in the Dutch edition of Consolation may have been published without knowledge of the doctrinal position published in the English July 1945 issue of Consolation by the Watch Tower Society's headquarters in the United States. A translation of their comments into English reads: .mw-parser-output .templatequote{overflow:hidden;margin:1em 0;padding:0 40px}.mw-parser-output .templatequote .templatequotecite{line-height:1.5em;text-align:left;padding-left:1.6em;margin-top:0}, When we lose our life because we refuse inoculations, that does not bear witness as a justification of Jehovah's name. There is usually no objection to intraoperative cell salvage (ICS), apheresis, haemodialysis, cardiac bypass or normovolaemic haemodilution providing the equipment is primed with non-blood fluids. Five-year-old could die or suffer a stroke if not treated urgently, says hospital [105][108] He says the threat of being classified as a disassociated Witness and subsequently shunned by friends and relatives who are members coerces Jehovah's Witnesses to accept and obey the prohibition on blood transfusions. It will be a good development. In terms of the National Health Act, if an adult Jehovah’s Witness is unable to consent to or refuse the administration of a blood transfusion (ie, due to unconsciousness), a person who had been mandated by the patient, in writing, may consent to or refuse the blood transfusion on behalf of the patient. Transfusions of pre-operative self-donated (. stated, "certain blood fractions ... also come under the Scriptural ban". Share (show more) Listen (show more) Listen. The Royal College of Surgeons of England –. Jehovah's Witnesses Public Affairs Office press release, June 14, 2000. The High Court heard doctors must go … [39][40] In Japan, children under 15 can be administered blood transfusions against their and their parents' wishes, and children between the ages of 15 and 18 can be similarly treated provided they, or at least one of their legal guardians, consent to the procedure. [116] English HLC representative David Malyon has responded that Muramoto's suggested questions are an affront to coerce Jehovah's Witnesses with "complicated philosophical inquisition" and, if used by doctors, would be "an abusive transformation of the medical role of succour and care into that of devil's advocate and trickster". The researchers commented, "There is either some lack of understanding or refusal to follow doctrine among some members". Jehovah's Witnesses believe that it is not possible to abstain from blood and accept blood transfusions. [57][58][59] Those Jehovah's Witnesses who accept the blood doctrine typically hold strongly to their conviction. was released, outlining Jehovah's Witnesses' general doctrine on blood. Jehovah’s Witnesses, apparently alone among Christian groups, believe this verse, along with others, prohibits them from accepting blood transfusions, … Why should that not also be true of Jehovah's Witnesses? [118] Attorney and former Witness Kerry Louderback-Wood[119] also claims that Witness publications exaggerate the medical risks of taking blood and the efficiency of non-blood medical therapies in critical situations. Jehovah's Witnesses worldwide refuse blood transfusion because of Jehovah's instructions at Leviticus 17:11,12 and Acts 15:28,29 in part it says;'no soul must eat blood' and 'abstain from blood'...blood here includes animal and human blood. The Watch Tower Society then rescinded the revised document, stating, "After further review, it has been determined that the cards dated "md-E 6/01" and "ic-E 6/01" should not be used. The firm refusal of blood transfusion treatment by Jehovah's Witnesses has always caused some discomfort to physicians. The Jehovah’s Witnesses Society (JW), a fundamentalist Christian sect, is best known to laypersons and healthcare professionals for its refusal of blood products, even when such a refusal may result in death. [129][130] They say their principle of abstaining from blood as a display of respect is demonstrated by the fact that members are allowed to eat meat that still contains some blood. Other fractions derived from blood are not prohibited. He has described as "absurd literalism" the Witnesses' use of a scriptural prohibition on eating blood to prohibit the medical transfusion of human blood. "[105] He says the objection to blood transfusions on the basis of biblical proscriptions against eating blood is similar to the refusal of a heart transplant on the basis that a doctor warned a patient to abstain from eating meat because of his high cholesterol level. [32] Bloodless surgery has been successfully performed in significant procedures including open-heart surgery and total hip replacements. Transfusions of autologous blood part of a "current therapy". [48][49], Hospital Information Services researches medical journals to locate information on the availability and effectiveness of bloodless surgery methods. Details Publication Type Document Topic Policies and guidelines Date Published [92] Members were instructed to personally decide if accepting a fraction would violate the doctrine on blood. [104][105] Theologian Anthony Hoekema claims the blood prohibited in Levitical laws was not human, but animal. Lee Elder, The Associated Jehovah's Witnesses for Reform on Blood, "Why some Jehovah's Witnesses accept blood and conscientiously reject official Watchtower Society blood policy", Our Kingdom Ministry, November 2006 pages 3,4 para.1-6, Jehovah's Witness letter to Cliff Roche, July 30, 2001 (Published in the book, Farmer S, Webb D, Your Body Your Choice: The Layman's Complete Guide to Bloodless Medicine and Surgery, 2000; pages 11, 14, 75, Ariga et al., Legal Medicine, 5 (2003) S72-S75, Spence et al., Transfusion May 2003; Vol. Platelets or plasma for either allogeneic or autologous transfusion, current extreme blood management measures targeted! ] a 1925 issue of the treatment of life-threatening anemia blood prior to surgery transfusion treatment Jehovah... 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