AWESOME! New Article on Blood and Canadian Sextuplets

by V 44 Replies latest watchtower medical

  • V
    V

    Ethicist says B.C. blood feud may save children and Jehovah's Witness parents

    Published: Thursday, February 1, 2007 | 8:46 PM ET
    Canadian Press: SCOTT SUTHERLAND AND DIRK MEISSNER
    Source: http://www.cbc.ca/cp/health/070201/x020115A.html

    VICTORIA (CP) - Four babies are struggling to live while a furious debate rages outside their hospital room about religious freedom and the power of the state to protect its citizens.

    The four babies are the survivors of Vancouver sextuplets born last month almost three months premature. The parents are Jehovah's Witnesses who say they were horrified when the government seized custody of three of them and gave two blood transfusions, a procedure their religion forbids.

    The B.C. government said it was obligated by law to temporarily seize the babies and administer the blood transfusions for health reasons against the wishes of their parents.

    It's gut-wrenching, emotion-churning territory, all while the lives of four children hang in the balance, says Dr. Juliet Guichon, a medical ethicist at the University of Calgary who has monitored other clashes between Jehovah's Witnesses and government.

    But the blood battle has the potential to end happily for the parents and their babies, she said.

    Ironically, it all depends on how hard they fight the government.

    "(It) could be seen as liberating because it takes the parents out of an impossible social situation," said Guichon.

    The parents, who risk being shunned for life by the church because their children received the transfusions, can now plead they abided by the blood ban, but couldn't stop the government, she said.

    "They can hold their head up among the Jehovah's Witness community and say, 'We protested, we went to court."'

    The church and the parents know deep down the government will step in to save the children, even if it means blood transfusions, Guichon said.

    Two medical experts helped advise the B.C. government to seize the children.

    The Canadian Press has learned the government used the medical experts' advice to apply a section of the B.C. Child, Family and Community Service Act in taking custody of the children.

    Section 30 allowed the government to act before the parents had a hearing, even though one was scheduled for later this month.

    That section says the province's regional director of child welfare doesn't need a court order to move in as long as there are "reasonable grounds" to believe the child's health or safety is in immediate danger.

    "(My wife) and I could not bear to be at the hospital while they were violating our little girl," the father of the sextuplets said in a court affidavit.

    "We took our immense sadness and grief and tried to console each other in private."

    The parents, who cannot be identified under a court order, have refused to speak to the media since their children were born in the first week of January almost three months premature.

    Two of the sextuplets have since died and the rest have remained in hospital.

    Last Friday, the government took custody of three of the remaining children and the blood transfusions were done. On Wednesday, the government withdrew the seizure order and the parents regained custody.

    However, the act allows the province to move in once again if the circumstances are repeated.

    The group that speaks for the Christian sect in Canada was inundated with calls Thursday from reporters wanting to know its response to the current controversy and seeking clarification on why Jehovah's Witnesses refuse blood transfusions.

    The release also said hospitals in Canada and the United States have treated extremely premature infants without blood transfusions by taking smaller samples of blood and accepting lower hemoglobin levels, among other things.

    "It is important for the media and others to avoid making stereotypical assumptions regarding Jehovah's Witnesses," the statement said.

    When asked why the sect refuses blood transfusions, spokesman Mark Ruge directed reporters to the Jehovah's Witnesses website.

    On it, the group cites Bible passages to back up their belief. They include Leviticus 17:10-14, which reads in part:

    "And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people."

    The group also cites Acts 15:19-20, which states that God's followers must "abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood."

    But Jehovah's Witnesses are not barred from receiving organ transplants or from using blood products.

    "Since the Bible makes no clear statement about the use of minor blood fractions or the immediate reinfusion of a patient's own blood during surgery, a medical process known as blood salvaging, the use of such treatments is a matter of personal choice," the site says.

    Similarly, the faith has no problem with vaccines, some of which contain blood products.

    A former Jehovah's Witness said the blood ban isn't always as strict as it appears.

    "The word is symantics," said Kerry Louderback-Wood, of Fort Myers, Florida.

    "A rose by another name smells sweeter. On one hand, we do not take blood in any form. On the other hand, 'Oh, you can have albumen, hemoglobin, by personal decision."'

    Louderback-Wood, 38 and almost nine months pregnant, said her mother died of a heart attack after she refused a blood transfusion late in her life.

    Earlier in her life, she accepted blood after hemorrhaging while giving birth to one of her children, she said.

    Louderback-Wood said she remembers her mother telling her there were some things in life that should be kept from the church.

    She said she quit being a Jehovah's Witness in her teens when she realized her university aspirations would be frowned on by the church.

    She said in a later e-mail that Jehovah's Witness doctrine has shifted over the years. For example, she said in the 1960s, organ transplants weren't allowed, but they are now.

    "What's sad is think of all the people who died or came down with polio/other diseases because of these bans that were later lifted.

    "Why should the baby's die, when Jehovah may change his stance on blood in the future."

  • hawkaw
    hawkaw

    To: 'jmccarten@cp.org'
    Cc: xx

    Subject: The Sextuplets Case in B.C. and Your Company's February 1, 2007 Report

    February 2, 2007

    Hi James:

    Hope all is well in Toronto.

    Can you do me a favour? Can you pass this message on to Mr. Scott Sutherland and Dirk Meissner of CP and thank then for reporting Kerry Louderback-Wood’s comments on the JW blood issue in their February 1, 2006 report on the Sextuplets.

    As an advocate for many a JWs who has been hurt by this organization, I just wish to say Kerry is absolutely right with her comments. She has even published an excellent legal document on the blood issue which I sent to you.

    A lot of people do not realize that JWs can take one hundred percent of human or animal blood as long as it is in their leadership’s defined fractionated form or under their leadership’s approved medical procedures (www.ajwrb.org). In fact, if whole donated blood was 100 percent fractionated and then transfused completely back to the patient at the same time in its separate forms, the JW leadership would accept the procedure. Unfortunately the technique has not been mastered in the medical world to save Witness lives. On page 22 of the June 15, 2004 Watchtower magazine (official publication for the Witnesses), the leadership actually provides a chart of what is and what is not acceptable.

    Oddly, the leadership also allows Witnesses to take in white blood cells from another human during the course of a baby breast feeding from the mother but bans certain life saving white blood cell transfusions from the donated blood supply. The JW leadership does not discuss allowing white blood cell transfers during breast feeding while banning white blood cell transfers through transfusion therapy. You may wish to quiz the JW leadership or spokesperson on the issue.

    This leadership has been changing their doctrine many times (http://www.ajwrb.org/history/index.shtml#modern) and I am glad CP reported that point through Kerry’s comments.

    The leadership bases their interpretation on certain science and medicine literature. In support of its logic, the leadership sites the breakdown of blood in “Emergency Care" (a textbook for emergency medical technician students). The Associated Jehovah’s Witnesses for Reform on Blood (www.ajwrb.org) indicate that scientifically, the breakdown is neither authoritative nor definitive. Alternatively, consider the list of major blood components as listed in Modern Blood Banking and Transfusion Practices (pages 237-248, 1999) by Denise M. Harmening, Ph.D. "Red blood cells, RBC Aliquots, Leukocyte-reduced red blood cells, frozen - deglycerolized red blood cells, platelet concentrate, single donor plasma, cryoprecipitated antihemophilic factor, granulocyte concentrates, factor VIII concentrate, porcine factor VIII, factor IX concentrate (Prothrombin Complex), immune serum globulin, normal serum albumin, plasma protein fraction, Rho(D) immunoglobulin, antithrombin III concentrate”. It is noteworthy that of the sixteen major blood components listed in this definitive and widely respected textbook on transfusion medicine, nine are definitely permitted by Jehovah’s Witnesses policy.

    Just think about haemoglobin for a second. Ninety seven (97) percent by weight of a red blood cell (ie. haemoglobin) is allowed to be used by a JW in a medical procedure but add just three (3) more percent (ie. a membrane) and the product is banned.

    You may wish to ask the leadership where in the Bible does it state red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets or plasma are not approved blood therapies but haemoglobin, albumin and the many other blood therapy products or blood transfusion therapies such as Intraoperative Autotransfusion (http://www.ajwrb.org/basics/what.shtml ) are allowed?

    I assure you most JWs never mind the public has an appreciation for this unique and ever changing doctrine on blood.

    A lot of times the lawyers for the JW family (which in reality are from the Watchtower’s Georgetown Ontario complex) will comment about how blood is very dangerous or that it is not medically necessary. A lot of people buy into the argument. They miss the point that blood transfusions are life saving therapies that save thousands of lives every year and that the past stored blood crisis was not caused by the blood itself but by certain individuals who decided not to properly test the blood. Hell, there is even horseshoe crab blood in our life saving Intravenous (IV) solutions (http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/16/109245/1.ashx) but you don’t hear the JW leadership freaking over the use of Intravenous (IV) Solutions!

    Take care and feel free to contact me if you need something further,

  • V
    V

    BTT

  • SirNose586
    SirNose586

    With a quote from Kerry Louderback-Wood, that's a pretty damning article. Good find, V.

  • V
    V

    Removed, duplicate of Skeeter's post below...

  • skeeter1
    skeeter1

    Here's a different article....

    Biblical scholar says Jehovah's Witnesses wrong about blood transfusions

    Provided by: Canadian Press
    Written by: DIRK MEISSNER
    Feb. 2, 2007

    VICTORIA (CP) - A biblical scholar says he woke up Friday morning convinced he must wade into the blood battle in British Columbia involving four babies, their Jehovah's Witness parents, their church and the government.

    Religious scholars have evaded the Jehovah's Witness blood issue because they didn't believe it had academic merit, but it's a story that must be told, said Prof. Michael Duggan, who teaches biblical literature at St. Mary's University College in Calgary.

    Duggan said he's been in Alberta hospitals telling doctors his academic perspective on what the Bible says about blood and what many Jehovah's Witnesses believe the biblical scriptures say about blood.

    But the message needs to be made more public, he said.

    "The point that I make to the physicians is none of these texts has to do with human blood," said Duggan. "Certainly, they never had to do with transfusions."

    "What they have to do with is the handling of animals that are slaughtered and the cooking and the procedures in cooking the meat so as to be free of contamination and disease."

    Four babies fighting for their survival in a Vancouver hospital are at the centre of a debate about religious freedom and the power of the government to protect its citizens.

    The babies are the surviving sextuplets born almost three months' premature in Vancouver last month. Two of the six babies have died.

    The parents are Jehovah's Witnesses who say they were horrified when the government seized custody of three of their children and gave two of them blood transfusions, a procedure their religion forbids.

    The B.C. government said it was obligated by law to temporarily seize the babies and administer the blood transfusions for health reasons against the wishes of their parents.

    Last week, the government took custody of three of the remaining children so doctors could perform transfusions. The government withdrew a seizure order Wednesday and the parents regained custody.

    But the government can legally move in again.

    The group that speaks for Jehovah's Witnesses in Canada issued a statement that said hospitals in Canada and the United States have treated extremely premature infants without blood transfusions by taking smaller samples of blood and accepting lower hemoglobin levels, among other things.

    Premature babies have extremely low blood volumes, are prone to anemia and require frequent blood tests.

    When asked why the religious denomination refuses blood transfusions, spokesman Mark Ruge pointed to the Jehovah's Witnesses website.

    On it, the organization cites Bible passages to back up the belief. They include Leviticus 17:10-14, which reads in part:

    "And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people."

    The group also cites Acts 15:19-20, which states that God's followers must "abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood."

    Duggan said the blood passages in the Hebrew Bible - Old Testament - often cited by Jehovah's Witnesses as their reasons to refuse blood transfusions are safe cooking instructions that date back to the 5th Century.

    "That needs to be said," Duggan said. "The way the Jehovah's Witnesses read the biblical text is simply wrong."

    The texts in the Hebrew Bible are mainly taken from Genesis 9:4-6 and from the book of Leviticus 17, he said.

    "They speak about the life being in the blood, but the blood they are talking about is the blood of animals," Duggan said.

    The case of the British Columbia sextuplets and other similar blood tranfusion battles in Alberta have him wanting to take on the Jehovah's Witnesses academically.

    "I'm just concerned that people don't get victimized any more by this," Duggan said. "I mean this is life and death for people."

    "It means I've got to write this article," he said. "As absurd as it seems to me to say this, I really do. I got up this morning realizing I have to do this."

    A former Jehovah's Witness said the blood ban isn't always as strict as it appears.

    Kerry Louderback-Wood, whose Jehovah's Witness mother died of a heart attack after refusing a blood transfusion late in her life, said the blood policy has shifted over the years.

    Organ transplants weren't allowed in the 1960s, but they are now, she said.

    Louderback-Wood, from Fort Myers, Florida, said the lives of the Vancouver babies should not be put at risk for a religious doctrine that has changed over the years and could likely change again.

    View more baby health news

  • DannyHaszard
  • Leolaia
    Leolaia

    skeeter1....Another article by a Bible scholar against the JW blood ban: http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/16/128401/1.ashx

  • DannyHaszard
    DannyHaszard

    IMO hardest hitting article EVER watchtower your doomed Parents don't get a moral pass
    Toronto Star, Canada - 30 minutes ago
    Even the discovery that their parents were devout Jehovah's Witnesses – and is there any other kind of Watchtower congregant? – raised only faint alarm ... Rosie DiMannordimann@thestar.cawrite the author
    VANCOUVER– Remember when the news about Canada's first sextuplets was all giddy and gurgling? Such a blessed event, the live birth of six tiny infants, so mini-me they could be held in the palm of an average adult's hand, their hearts the size of grapes. Effusive commentators gave unsolicited advice on bringing up babies, estimating that the brood would go through 500 diapers a week. It seemed churlish to question the ethics – medical and otherwise – of carrying half a dozen babes in the womb, complicating all their survival chances. Even the discovery that their parents were devout Jehovah's Witnesses – and is there any other kind of Watchtower congregant? – raised only faint alarm bells about the excruciating moral dilemmas that likely lay ahead, even as hospital officials released the most terse updates, that the newborns were in "fair" or "satisfactory" condition. Then the babies started dying. One ... two

  • Junction-Guy
    Junction-Guy

    Thanks Danny, you have been sending me news links just about every day to my email address, and I just havent had alot of spare time to get involved. Today I wrote the reporter from Victoria, and I will start writing more as the opportunities present themselves.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------I am glad these newspapers are willing to pick up on these stories, my local paper wont do any JW stories unless they are puff pieces. Its a good thing the Sextuplets werent born here, because the newspaper would shuffle it under and supress the coverage.

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