High Court orders baby in UK to have blood transfusion against parents’ wishes

Birmingham Children's Hospital, where the baby is being treated

Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where the baby is being treated

The High Court in the UK has ruled that a sick baby who is only a few weeks old will receive blood despite the beliefs of its Jehovah’s Witness parents, according to the Mirror newspaper.

Jehovah’s Witnesses are instructed to refuse whole blood treatment due to their leaders’ insistence that this contravenes commands in the bible, which ban the injestion of blood.

But an unidentified child of Witness parents who is being treated by surgeons at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital will now be receiving blood irrespective of his parents’ religious views.

In delivering the ruling, Mr Justice Keehan said: “I entirely understand and sympathise with the stance of these parents. Their objection is on the basis of their religious beliefs as Jehovah’s Witnesses. They cannot consent to (their son) receiving blood products during surgery.”

However, Mr Justice Keehan recognized that the child’s medical needs are paramount. “Standing back and looking at (the baby’s) best interests, I am in no doubt whatsoever it is in his best interests to undergo the surgery that is proposed,” he said.

Specialists had already concluded that the child would have no “long-term prospect of survival” without the surgery, which the parents had consented to provided no blood was used. The hospital therefore applied to the High Court so that the surgery could proceed irrespective of their stipulations.

Two similar cases, in Australia and New Zealand, have already been reported in the last few months.

Dissent among conscientious Witnesses

More than 1,500 respondents have so far taken part in this website’s 2014 Global Survey of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Of these, 258 active Witnesses have answered the following question…

Chart_Q35_140307It is noteworthy that at least 62.4% of active Witnesses taking part in our survey have voted to say that they would personally not allow their child to die if a blood transfusion were the only option for survival.

Young children are incapable of fully grasping the religious beliefs of their parents, and should therefore not be treated as though they are bound by them – especially when life is in the balance.

Even so, there will always be Witnesses for whom the commands of their leaders supercede the sanctity of human life. When such ones become embroiled in these situations, it is reassuring that doctors, with the backing of the legal system, have the ability and willingness to impose common sense and thus save lives.









Further reading…

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67 Responses to High Court orders baby in UK to have blood transfusion against parents’ wishes

  1. JB says:

    Hakizimana, I am one of those who see a great value in many parts of the Bible, but I am also convinced that many people tried to twist things (not only recently via GB, etc – but way back too) to make things as complex to understand as possible and so that this fits to some agendas and also give a different impression of God and His laws. Even about “Jehovah’s thinking” Paul urges Timothy to follow “these rules” in front of God and Jesus Christ … I thought that Jesus said enough about the way we all should follow.

    After saying this, I hope my argument about referring to the scriptures won’t sound contradictory. My main argument is, even the verses referred in support about the transfusion issue wouldn’t really justify the current practice against the blood transfusions.

    I think the way the Bible looks today gives a much different idea of a God of Love than what I can see observing the nature and my own logic. I’m not totally sure to what extent the things said in the Bible support any purpose for us understanding God. I also think that parts of scriptures were not considered “inspired” upon the appreciation of men, so they are not in the canon. If someone wants to get access to everything, it would take quite some reading, but before that, it’s important to know that such additional parts exist.

    If someone chooses to believe in God, I’m not sure if a literal reading of the Bible, and a determined conviction that all of it is “God’s word” would help her/him understand who really God is …

  2. Cozy says:

    Demons are real they control the political kingdoms of the world.James 2:19 You believe there is one God, do you? You are doing quite well. And yet the demons believe and shudder.

  3. Rowland Nelken says:

    Thanks for your kind words, Hakzimana!

  4. JBob says:

    And, this is the consummate demonstration of being a “cultural JW”–appreciate the structure and heritage, but awakened to the flaws and weak points.

    I have seen this in practice where openly the Witness declares “no blood” but oops, the practitioners slipped a transfusion in with no detrimental impact on health of individual. Or, because an external stakeholder–courts, non-Witness relatives, etc–intervened the transfusion was mandated as a life-saver.

    The joy of being law-abiding–so many loopholes.

  5. cozy says:

    2 Timothy 3:16 say: All scriptures is inspired by GOD)’ this talk about God’s word not the Koran or any other pagan religious book. or your circular chicken reasoning.

  6. cozy says:

    your welcome.

  7. cozy says:

    I am sure they are inspired by demons.

  8. JB says:

    Cozy, for my part when I was asking about ALL scriptures, I wasn’t necessarily talking about Koran.

    Rather, scriptures like the Book of Enoch, the War Scroll, and many, many others that were found and translated, showing cross references with many ideas you can find in the bible. Those scriptures, are they inspired or not ? What is ALL scriptures ? Does it include those writings or not ?

    Another part of the scriptures (I think in the Revelations) it says nothing will be added or removed from these words, though you have no idea how much of it was done ever since.

    I’m convinced that if someone is looking for the Truth, it’s not going to come on a silver plate, one has to look out for it. Otherwise, under different circumstances, you might be claiming for the Koran to be God’s word and all the rest pagan writings.

    But maybe you did research on all of these and eventually came to the conclusion that apart from the Bible’s 66 books, anything else is pagan. In which case, I respect your opinion.

  9. Julia Orwell says:

    When that baby grows up, he or she will be so grateful for those professionals who fought to save his/her life. Hopefully it won’t be lost on him/her that complete strangers were willing to fight for his/her life where the parents were not.

  10. JBob says:

    Today, the churches and their ministers have lost the respect and support of the masses. In fact, many people believe that religion contributes to or causes conflict. An increasingly vocal and militant group of Western intellectuals is calling for the end of religion’s influence on society.(w12 6/15 p. 18 par. 16)!”

    guess this explains the empty Vactican St Peter’s Square during the papal coronation…… the empty stadiums at the Billy Graham crusades… the vast void around the Black Stone in Mecca… why you can hear echoes at the Wailing Wall… so many churches converted into nightclubs and gay clubs…. Okay, that last part is true, but… really? Churches are a growth industry, otherwise the Watchtower wouldn’t be in the business. Ordain yourself, hang out a cross or sign advertising a meeting in a small storefront or strip mall shop, and in a few years, you’re building yourself a Glass Cathedral and calling it a MEGA-church. Take the money, never mind the shepherding and pastoral calls.

  11. Gary says:

    Looking at it objectively. If God can use a humans blood to save lives then surely a blood transfusion is a matter of conscience?

  12. Mandelay says:

    Hey folks, Muslims believe the Koran is the word of God. According to them, it is God’s last message, the final edit. Unlike the wiki-esque, fragmented and composite Judeo-Christian Bible, the Koran boasts a unified integrity, wholly preserved for 1400 years, irrespective of what you may think of it.

    On the blood issue, look to the Jewish people. They clearly understand their history and Bible’s injunctions as applying only to the ingestion of animal blood. Human blood transfusions weren’t even thought of by the ancients, and the Jews have no taboos against life-saving tranfusions today. Glad to see JWs in the UK have a loop-hole, but time is time and sometimes these decisions have to made in a blink.

  13. Steve Read says:

    Unfortunately, what the WT.org will say is ‘That a refining is taking place’. Unworthy christians are the ones leaving over this. It’s never their problem, always someone else’s fault! That why I left. And to this day I have never received confirmation of my disassociation despite writing twice!

  14. deep-blue-sea says:

    I have been in for almost 50 years. We, with my super-elder husband, were so busy in the org, so stupidly devote, to never take the time to meditate, or reason with our own mind.
    We have now 3 adult children. When I think about, the transfusion and the blood teaching, I thank the ‘fate’ that we never had to face that problem.
    If it would have happen to lose a child because of refusing to him a transfusion, I would now, that I see clearly who is this organization, get crazy or mad .. would be a load too heavy to bear!

    Thanks Cedars for the opportunity to express our feelings!

    Regards, Claudia

  15. SE says:

    It worries me how misinformed we were as JW’s regarding blood. I would go so far as to say many JW’s are lacking capacity, not just because of the peer pressure to conform but due to the decades of misinformation about the need for blood and its risks.

    I was a pioneer, a bethelite and left due to being asked to stop attending following a night of asking elders questions I had long ignored. I am now a newly qualified doctor after 7 years of training and I am astounded at what I once told by my old religion. I don’t know how those writers sleep at night.

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