Click here: U-turn on blood policy
U-turn on blood policy
Jehovah's Witnesses are now allowed to accept blood transfusions without facing excommunication from their faith.
Following a secret meeting of the following's 12 member global governing body at their New York headquarters, a change in practice was decreed and blood transfusion was officially downgraded to a "non-disfellowshipping event." Jehovah's Witnesses may now consent to and accept blood transfusions in life or death situations without facing expulsion from the movement. This is the biggest stepdown in policy made at the Watchtower (the collective name of the movement's headquarters) since their predicted Armageddon failed to occur in 1975. It is, however, being dismissed as a "slight adjustment" to the rules by senior representatives of the organisation.
Jehovah's Witnesses may now accept blood transfusions in emergencies (JANE HWANG/AP PHOTO)
Until now, anyone who accepted blood or consented to transfusion for their child, even under life or death conditions, faced excommunication from the religion. In what is seen as a dramatic turnaround, elders announced the decision in the wake of some high profile cases where patients have died or come close to death as a result of their faith. One such case was that of Brent Bond from Nottingham in June this year. Mr Bond was the victim of a machete attack and lost 2.8 litres of blood from his wounds. He renounced his faith as a Jehovah's Witness seconds before passing out so that he could have a lifesaving blood transfusion. Beverley Matthews, a 33 year old mother from Stockport, died following her refusal of an emergency blood transfusion.
Paul Gillies, speaking for the British Jehovah's Witnesses headquarters in Mill Hill, north London, said, "It is quite possible that someone who was under pressure on an operating table would take a blood transfusion because they did not want to die. The next day they might say they regretted this decision. We would then give them spiritual comfort and help. No action would be taken against them. We would just view it as a moment of weakness." He stated that the principle of not taking blood was still a "core value" of the religion.
Navin Chohan London
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