Facing Blood Shortage, Hospitals Turn To Jehovah's Witnesses
Recruiting efforts expected to decrease need for transfusions
BROOKLYN, NY--Human rights activists and religious groups are in an uproar over the latest tactic being used by some hospitals in an attempt to weather the nation's latest shortage of blood.
|Recruting Efforts Underway |
Jehovah's Witnesses, long known for their unique stance on blood transfusions - they do not accept them for religious reasons - are sitting side-by-side with blood drive volunteers at hospitals throughout the New York Tri-state region, placed there by officials in a strategy some are calling "brilliant."
Wanda Whitaker, a health care administrator, praised the recruiting efforts as "a stroke of genius, nothing less. Every person who comes by, whether they donate blood, or become a Jehovah's Witness, it's that much less we have to worry about there not being enough blood to go around."
Others disagree. "It's morally offensive," says Stephen Hensley, a Long Island resident. "They want people to convert, join a cult, for the sole reason of saving blood? That's crazy."
Brooklyn Medical Center officials, however, have sanctioned the project. "We expect there to be 10-20 new Jehovah's Witnesses recruited per week," says Wendy Gamboa, a spokesperson for the hospital. "None of these people, and potentially their children too, are going to be needing blood anytime soon."
"Look," she continues, "we're not saying, become a Jehovah's Witness so you don't have to use up our blood. We're saying, here's some options for you, think about it, if you think it's right for you, then great, and if not, wouldn't you like to donate blood today?"
Nevertheless, many healthcare authorities are disturbed by the situation. "They're just playing with people's minds," said one, on condition of anonymity. "This is not a real religion."
Hospitals are hoping increased recruiting by Christian Science evangelists will further help reduce usage of healthcare resources all-around.http://www.qfever.com/issues/20021101/jehovahs.htm