(Closed) Should a doctor give a child a blood transfusion even if parents are JW'S?

posted 5 years ago in Wellness
  • poll: Should a doctor give a child a lifesaving blood transfusion even if parents deny it due to religion?
    Yes- A child shouldn't die for someone elses religious reasons, no matter what. : (241 votes)
    80 %
    No- Medical treatment should never get in the way of the parent's religion even if life saving. : (60 votes)
    20 %
  • Post # 3
    5400 posts
    Bee Keeper

    @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
    11657 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: May 2014

    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
    738 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: June 2013

    @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
    229 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: February 2015

    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
    750 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: December 2014

    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
    1347 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: January 2014

    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
    130 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: December 2012

    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
    9916 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: June 2013

    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
    394 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: July 2014

    @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
    46675 posts
    Honey Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    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
    2902 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: March 2014

    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
    923 posts
    Busy bee

    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
    5189 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: February 2013

    @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
    14494 posts
    Honey Beekeeper
    • Wedding: June 2011

    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. 

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