A life or death question....

by lavendar 9 Replies latest jw friends

  • lavendar

    Our son is married to a JW gal. He's been "working toward" baptism (due to years of prodding by his wife), but we don't know if he is indeed baptized yet or not.

    My question is: If our son was in an accident (God forbid) rendering him unconscious, and in need of blood.......Could his wife prevent him from having a blood transfusion?? Could she prevent the transfusion even if he's not baptized yet?? What are the legalities?

    I just thought of this possible horrible situation today, and NEED TO KNOW where we, as his parents stand and what rights WE have.

    As a mother, if anyone (daughter-in-law, Elders, etc.) tried to prevent our son from a life-saving procedure, I'D SCRATCH THEIR EYES OUT!! I'm not a violent person. On the contrary, I'm kinda quiet and peace-loving, but NO ONE is going to tell us our son has to DIE rather than get a blood transfusion!! It's like messing with a mother bear's cub. You would do ANYTHING to protect your child.

    Pleeeeease tell us the legalities are on OUR SIDE.



  • rebel8

    Yes the wife has the say on medical decisions if your son is unconscious/not able to make decisions. That is true regardless of religion.

    Google "advanced medical directives" then the name of your state to find out the laws applicable to your son. Each state sets their own laws.

    If the law allows and your son agrees, you may be able to get him to name you as the person to make decisions instead of his wife. Without documents, it usually goes to the spouse.

  • Mum

    Ask your son if he has a "blood card." Most JW's carry one in their wallet, and it specifically states that the person who is carrying it is not to have blood.

    Can you steal your son's wallet when he's not looking and discard the card? I don't usually advocate this kind of behavior, but desperate situations sometimes warrant desperate action.

    I hope for everyone's sake that he is not baptized.

  • greendawn

    I can understand your anguish on the issue, it's just ridiculous that anyone would be coerced into dying by refusing blood willingly donated by a fellow human being precisely for the purpose of saving a life.

    Even more they keep changing this doctrine making it ever less restrictive, blood fractions that could have saved lives in the past and were not allowed are allowed now.

  • lavendar

    A million thanks, rebel, mum & greendawn!! I will talk to our son and see if he'll name US as the medical decision makers.....and I'll find out if he has a "blood card" too.

    I really appreciate your help, because I'm completely in the dark regarding this issue (but no longer, thanks to you).


  • troubled mind
    troubled mind

    This summer a case was in the local news about a situation like what you are now pondering. A young couple that had been studying ( the husband was baptized I think ,but wife wasn't yet.) She was in a coma and her family went to court to make sure IF she might need a blood transfusion while unconscious that they would be able to make the decision in her best interest and not because of husbands religious beliefs . The family won ...I don't know what finally became of her though.

    There was a thread about it on here .I am not real computer savy ,but I am sure someone here could find the link .The case was near Clinton ,Iowa .

  • Stealth453

    Yes...she would have the power to make that decision.

  • troubled mind
    troubled mind
    #1 (permalink)
    MThomasRN Registered User Join Date: Mar 2003 Posts: 66 Rep Power: 5 Jehovah's Witness barred from making decisions for comatose wife
    Thursday, August 17, 2006 4:26 AM CDT
    Jehovah's Witness barred from making decisions for comatose wife

    IOWA CITY (AP) --- A Jehovah's Witness who would not permit blood transfusions for his comatose wife has been barred from making her medical

    Tawnya Nissen, 28, of Clinton, who has been in a coma for about two weeks, will be under the guardianship of her father until she can make her own
    decisions, according to a ruling issued Wednesday by a Johnson County judge.

    "It's like our prayers have been answered," said Richard Reid Sr., Nissen's grandfather.

    Richard Reid Jr. sought temporary guardianship of his daughter last week after her husband claimed the couple's religion prohibits the sharing of

    Judge Marsha Beckelman ruled against the husband "in order to protect life," but she will allow him at meetings with doctors to discuss his wife's
    medical condition and treatment.

    "It is impossible ... for the court to definitively conclude that Ms. Nissen would either accept or decline blood transfusions, should it become
    necessary to save her life," Beckelman wrote.

    Nissen's family said she was not a member of the Jehovah's Witness church, and that her husband Chris Nissen had not allowed them access to
    information about her medical condition.

    Frank Santiago, the husband's attorney, said Tawnya Nissen does not have a living will but had a Jehovah's Witness identity card that instructs
    doctors not to administer blood transfusions.

    The card could not be produced for the court.

    Tawnya Nissen was hospitalized Aug. 4 with neuroleptic malignant syndrome, a condition caused by a reaction to diet pills.

    Her condition is improving, but her doctor testified in court this week that she may not be able to communicate her treatment wishes for up to six
    months. She could require a blood transfusion if her condition worsens or if she needs a surgical airway, said Dr. Alix Ashare.

    Santiago said Chris Nissen began barring the family from briefings with doctors after they began arguing about a possible blood transfusion.

    Reid Jr., 54, testified that his daughter had told him she would accept the treatment if it would save her life.

    Reid Sr. said his family's main concern is that his granddaughter receives proper medical care. He also criticized the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses,
    saying they put people at risk by denying them potentially life-saving treatment.

    Church officials deny the criticism, claiming that their stance against blood transfusions has helped doctors develop alternatives to the procedure.

    Greg Milakovich is the chairman of the Quad-Cities Hospital Liaison Committee for Jehovah's Witnesses, a volunteer group that works with area
    hospitals in addressing the needs of Jehovah's Witness patients.

    He said the church urges its members to document their wishes about their medical care, and fill out a durable power of attorney for health care form.

    Santiago said Chris Nissen was disappointed in the court's ruling but has not indicated a desire to appeal. He said Chris Nissen is focused on his
    wife's recovery.

    Copyright (c) 2006 Waterloo/Cedar Falls Courier
    For more of this story, click on or type the URL below:

    WCFCourier.com | The Waterloo Cedar-Falls Courier Online! __________________
    Michelle Thomas, RNC
  • lavendar

    Thank you, Troubled Mind, for that article.

    GOOD for that father and grandfather!

  • jaguarbass

    If our son was in an accident (God forbid) rendering him unconscious, and in need of blood.......Could his wife prevent him from having a blood transfusion?? Could she prevent the transfusion even if he's not baptized yet?? What are the legalities?

    Sounds like a question for a liar, I mean lawyer.

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