Post # 1
Another thread posted by a Jehova’s Witness really got me thinking about how far religion can be taken. I’m talking life or death here. Personally I’m not a very religious person but I do believe in some kind of higher power, whatever that might be. I would never ever consider “my” religion to be more important then the life of another human, my child or not.
To keep a long story short, do you think that medical professionals should be able to intervene and save the life of a child with blood transfusion when the parents of the child are Jehova’s Witnesses? It’s pretty well known the JW’s do not accept blood from other people, even if it’s a life or death matter.
One woman in another thread claimed she would allow her child to die instead of giving him/her the life saving blood transfusion because she believes it would please God and that it’s her right as the child’s mother to decide what her child believes/dies for.
Personally I think that in itself is barbaric and horrifying. I think just because a child is technically “yours” does not give you the right to end his/her life for something you believe in. How does anyone know that the poor kid even WANTS to be a JW or follow that specific religion when he/she is older? What if he/she wants to be atheist, catholic, or another religion? Why is it acceptable to let a child die for religious beliefs but not for them to make their own choice on it?
I think 9 times out of 10 a child, if asked, would say they want to LIVE and not be left to die without a blood transfusion because of their parent’s religion. I know JW’S have certain beliefs and that’s fine but when it comes to another person’s life, I don’t think you should have the right to decide if they live or die by witholding medical treatment. That’s a bit like “playing god” if you ask me.
What does everyone else think? Should a medical professional be allowed give a child a life-saving blood transfusion no matter what the parent’s religion is? Why/Why Not?
Post # 3
@PinkMermaid: well…I agree with you. But I did vote no because functionally it’s like all other decisions a parent must make for their child. I don’t personally agree with it but until a child is an adult, their parents are responsible to make decisions on their behalf. I think it’s awful but we can’t just start letting doctors make decisions for their patients against their wishes.
Post # 4
I used to think it was barbaric but then it was explained to me. To people who hold this belief – the way I understand it – the use of blood that is not theirs (in any way) is against God’s will. If they accept a blood transfusion they wlll be denied eternal life which is – in their eyes – a fate worse than death. The family would be reunited in heaven to spend eternity together but if they were to receive blood they would have a little longer on earth together but would be denied the opportunity to spend eternity with those loved ones.
I do not hold those beliefs, but if this was the system of faith I was raised in I can’t imagine someone deciding that they were going to strip that right from me just because they disagreed.
Post # 5
@PinkMermaid: I’m a Christian and I do not believe in a god who would deny a child life over ONE INTERPRETATION of scripture. A HUMAN interpretation. I don’t believe any denomination has a final answer as far as scripture goes. Only god can know gods will. We can *TRY* to live according to it, but we can never know or understand it fully.
Post # 6
I also, don’t agree that it’s fair. But in the medical system a doctor can never perform a procedure/administer a treatment without a parents concent unless a court had ruled the parents unfit to make the decision. It would be a slippery slope if doctors were allowed to make that decision irregardless of a parents wishes.
Post # 7
In the very few instances where a blood transfusion could potentially save a life, I would take the issue to my hospital’s ethics committee and fight for a court order.
However, I’d never do anything willingly to counteract a parent’s belief, except in a life or death situation.
I don’t think that a doctor, or health professional should just be given the blind “Okay, do what you gotta do” in every situation; there’s a reason we have courts and ethics committees. These committees take into account the opinion of the child, as well.
So…I didn’t vote in your poll. It is not up to me and my belief system. We have systems in place to address this, and I will fight to advocate for my patient within the confines of the law and my ethical code.
Post # 8
I voted yes, because I think that until the child is old enough to make their own decisions, religion is not a good enough reason to let a child die.
I don’t think life saving surgery should ever be optional UNLESS the patient is the one to decide against it (the only exception IMO should be if the patient’s preferences have been discussed with their next of kin and they would want to die rather than have a life saving operation). Really the only reason I think is suitable to let someone die, other than if that’s what they wish for, would be if their quality of life would be very poor (and even then I think they really need to have told their next of kin their preferences).
Post # 9
I think it’s barbaric because a child is too young to fully understand their religion. I don’t support religious indoctrination to begin with in children, but that’s an entirely different post. We would lose our minds if a non JW parent refused to allow their child to have a life-saving surgery. I don’t think religion is an excuse for that. An adult has the right to end their life. I don’t think that a child does.
Post # 10
You might find this article, written in 1995 about Christian Scientists, interesting. I know I did! It’s also interesting to read the letters sent in to the Atlantic in response (there is a link at the bottom). http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/unbound/flashbks/xsci/suffer.htm
While I can understand why parents might not want their children to be treated because of eternal damnation or something, I think it should be against the law to refuse treatment on the basis of religion. The child did not choose that religion; the parents did.
Post # 11
@BlondeMissMolly: I see what you’re saying buI there are cases where the government takes children away from agents because they are in harm’s way.
Doctors shouldn’t be able to make the decision on a whim but yes, there was a highly publicized case in my province of the government intervening and taking the right of decision away from parents of these twin babies who needed a blood transfusion to live.
On the other hand I have personally had a patient who choose to die rather than receive a blood transfusion, but she was an adult.
Post # 12
Doctors do not easily go ahead and give blood against the parents’ will. In Canada they have to make an application to the court, even in Emergency situations. The child is apprehended by The Ministry of Children and Families and the ok is then given to go ahead with a transfusion.
It also provides an “out” for the parents when they are not the ones who consented to the transfusion. Keep in mind that that this rarely happens. We do not give transfusions to anyone as readily as we used to. Research has shown that people can recover from much greater blood loss than we previously thought.
Post # 13
Yes absolutely. Just like a doctor should give a baby formula if that baby is being starved by parents who are feeding it juice because they are vegan (yes this was a real story I read recently)
Post # 14
I voted yes. Just because a parent believes something does not mean they get to impose it on a child. what if I beleived the only way god would let my daughter into heaven was if I beat her? or cut off her arm? people practice female genital mutilation for religious reasons and that is illegal in the Us, as it should be. I think that is is disgusting that a parent would be allowed to deny their child a blood tranfusion or any other life saving procedure based on religion. My mother was raised JW and the main reason she left was because her best friend died when she was 12 because her parents denied her a blood transfusion.
Post # 15
@PinkMermaid: the same argument could be made for abortion I guess (I will not disclose whether I am pro life or pro choice). Just because he child is technically “yours”…
I would never allow a child to die because of my religious beliefs. Nor do I think most parents would. Then again it is the law, the ultimate ethical dilemma if you are a doctor.
Post # 16
Hospitals and emergency medical professionals are usually well trained and acquainted with bloodless procedures. JW’s are not the only religion that doesn’t believe in transfusions. I believe medical professionals can and should abide by the parents medical orders. To me, it would be no different than any other medical order parents have left for the care of a child.