JW's poor attitude to medical staff

by Clam 24 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • truthsetsonefree

    In my congo there is someone in the hospital, one of the best hospitals in the area (a major metro area in the US). Yet I was amazed at how elders and many of the friends felt compelled to stay there to explain what the doctors were saying to the patient. And that despite the record snowstorm this weekend. Plus they made sure that the husband was left at home! I mean, what are the doctors and nurses doing? Aren't they trained professionals? Why do they need uninformed and uneducated JWs to be there to explain anything? I would say that all of this attitude stems from the GBs insistence on this blood doctrine. People try to explain and justify it to themselves and in the process end up making even more of a mess as they try to implement it.

  • Dr. Shaz
    Dr. Shaz

    This has not been my experience with JW's. Please consider the following with regard to attitude - both of a JW, and a Non JW.

    Hippocratic Oath -- Modern Version

    Commentary in red, my own thoughts with exception to some highlighting and underlining.I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

    I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

    I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.

    I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug.

    A true medical professional would seek to understand the reason for the choice, and to find a treatment that does not interfere with that reason. As that reason is justified by a patient's right.

    One must examine then examine the meaning of such words as "priorities" and "rights."

    What rights do doctors and patients have in the administration of medical care? To what extent is a patient obliged to be subject to the doctor's decision in receiving medical care, and to what extent may a doctor refuse to give the treatment the patient demands?

    What is an ethical demand? An ethical demand is an absolute and overriding demand. In any conflict, ethical demands override any non-ethical interest, such as those of knowledge or self-interest. They overrule our desires and wants. Typically, we forego some desired object to meet a commitment or a duty. Ordinary examples of ethical demands are keeping promises, obeying the law and helping one's neighbor. In effect, ethical demands are those that set priorities -that is, they provide criteria for determining which treatment or action we should undertake and determine how we rank the various requirements on time, effort and resources.

    A special class of ethical demands exists, often referred to as "rights." Rights are matters of justice, and override such ethical demands as simple benevolence. Rights involve duties, but these are different from other duties inasmuch as the law takes an interest in them. This means that not to perform such duties would be to violate someone's rights, and thereby to be subject to the entire apparatus of our legal institutions - the police, law, courts and perhaps even jail. In interpersonal relations, ethical demands are ultimate and absolute. In the ethical domain the demands of rights and justice override the others, even conscience.

    Regardless of their own personal thoughts and beliefs, Doctors must abide by their patients ethical demands.


  • A middle-aged Jehovah's Witness who sincerely believes in her faith is wounded badly in an accident. The attending physician insists on giving her a blood transfusion. A nurse asks, "Are you sure?" The doctor replies, "Of course; she will die if she does not get blood. Don't worry, she will thank me afterwards."
  • In this case some person or persons asserts that he has the right to impose his (their) beliefs and values on another. This is a conflict in ethical theory - between the idea that a knowing authority may determine what a person may do or must have done to him/her and the idea that this should be determined only by the person through the exercise of freedom and consent. The latter view asserts that no one has the right to exercise authority over another mature adult unless he/she has given voluntary consent to the exercise of authority. The former view contends that authority is based, not on consent, but on knowledge and ability. The following brings out the nature of the conflict:

    If one person, who is justified in believing he has superior knowledge and judgement, decides that another person would benefit by being compelled to undergo some treatment, does his superior knowledge justify the compulsion?

    Leslie A. Mulholland, PH DDepartment of Philosophy
    Memorial University of Newfoundland
    St. John's, Newfoundland A1C 5S7

    Let's flip this, granted most Jehovah's Witnesses do not go on to become Doctors due to conflict of interest and beliefs - what if you had a Jehovah's Witness Doctor? One that imposed his/her stand regarding blood on you?

    Would that not be in violation of YOUR rights? We know because of past experience with the Witnesses they would not violate this - they would pass the case onto a Doctor who would adhere to YOUR ethical demand.

    I will not be ashamed to say "I know not," nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient's recovery.

    Bloodless surgery to a large degree has advanced due to the adamant refusal of blood products by Jehovah's Witnesses. Non Jehovah's Witnesses are benefitting from these advances. The medical community has been forced to abandon certain methods of treatment, due to this demand. In the spirit of scientific discovery and technology advancement, surgeons have stepped up to the plate because they realize the value of a human life, and the right of that patient to adhere to their code ethics.
    I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

    If my patient believes that they are under oath to God, then who am I to intervene?

    I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.

    I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.

    I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.

    If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.

    Respect is a two way street. Doctor's and medical staff need to put aside their non-ethical interests when dealing with JW's. If they were able to do this, the hospital liasion committee would be unnecessary.

  • drew sagan
    drew sagan

    To put it in the most simple form, I think JW's (including the HLC) put themselves in the position of superiority because it helps prove the point that they are correct and everybody else is wrong. Instead of really looking at the issues at hand, they instead generalize everything to the point where they are simply giving themselves a pat on the back.

  • TD


    Don't overlook this jewel:

    The faith of Jehovah’s Witnesses is under attack from all sides—by the clergy of Christendom who hate the Kingdom message we take from house to house, by apostates who collaborate with Christendom’s clergy, by medical authorities who want to impose blood transfusions on us and our children, by atheistic scientists who reject belief in God and the creation, and by those who try to force us to compromise our neutrality. All this opposition is orchestrated by Satan, the ruler of darkness and ignorance, the enemy of accurate knowledge. --The Watchtower December 1, 1989 p. 12

    In the JW world, all medical personal are Satan's unwitting puppets.

  • greendawn

    Strange how the R&F JWs have been so blinded and how they can't see the significance of saving lives with blood voluntarily donated by their fellow humans. Those doctors and blood donors saved many lives, how can that be a sin?

  • stillAwitness

    From watchtower.org: Martin Luther pointed to the implications of the apostolic decree: "Now if we want to have a church that conforms to this council, . . . we must teach and insist that henceforth no prince, lord, burgher, or peasant eat geese, doe, stag, or pork cooked in blood . . . And burghers and peasants must abstain especially from red sausage and blood sausage."

    Hmmm..I wonder what's in between all those dot, dot, dots ???

  • DannyHaszard
    In the JW world, all medical personal are Satan's unwitting puppets.

    Roger that,i had 28 years of unrelenting bleeding chronic ulcerative colitis contracted at age 13 1970 and i heard all about how satan's doctors wanted me to stay sickly

  • jgnat

    Dr. Shaz, I would appreciate your comment on another ethical dillemma that I read recently.

    The JW patient refused blood transfusions, but also wished the medical personnel to take all possible action to extend her life. She had experienced a catastrophic and ultimately fatal loss of blood, which over the next couple of days, systematically destroyed her internal organs. Eventually her poor body failed.

    The medical team did all they could to make her comfortable, but were forbidden from providing the one element necessary to her survival. They were also forbidden from shortening her agonizing demise.

    The doctor who treated her in this case could not reconcile "faith" and "reverence for life" with the gruesome ending of this young woman's life. She respected the young woman's wishes, but could not help but feel that the poor lady was misinformed of the consequences of her "faith".

  • Shining One
    Shining One

    >by apostates who collaborate with Christendom’s clergy,

    Hey, that's me they're talking about!

  • TD

    Dr. Shaz,

    Have you read this article?


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