"Life For Ruth" McGoohan Film About Blood Transfusion 1962

by cabasilas 6 Replies latest watchtower medical

  • cabasilas

    I saw this film many long years ago under a different title. In America it was released about 1965 as "Walk in the Shadows." It's one of Patrick McGoohan's (The Prisoner) early films. It's now available on DVD. From a review:


    Life For Ruth is set in early 60s Durham - not really kitchensink, but with enough realism to make it very believable. The tale revolves around Ruth, an eight-year-old girl and daughter of John Harris (Michael Craig) and Pat Harris (Janet Munro). Playing on the beach, Ruth loses her ball and sets out in a rowing boat with a friend to retrieve it. John Harris spots them in danger, swims out to rescue the pair, but only succeeds in saving the boy - his daughter Ruth is rushed to hospital.

    A blood transfusion could save Ruth, but John refuses - he is a member of an unnamed religion that opposes such a thing. Despite the protestations of Doctor Brown (Patrick McGoohan), he maintains that his daughter cannot have blood, fearing it will stop his daughter from enjoying eternal life. Ruth dies - and the doctor wants John Harris to face charges for his actions. The case does go to court, with the jury asked to decide between the legal obligation of a parent to his child or the moral obligation Harris feels towards his religious beliefs.

    There's a You Tube selection up:


    It's been so long since I saw this that I don't really remember what I thought at the time. I was a JW then so my viewpoint would be different now. I thought, though, it'd be of interest to some here and perhaps others have seen this and can comment on it.

  • Billy the Ex-Bethelite
    Billy the Ex-Bethelite

    I saw "Life for Ruth" about 20 years ago on PBS. I didn't think it was very realistic, of course it was made in the 60s and I was watching it in the 80s. Might it have been realistic in the 60s or even been a true story? Maybe, but to me, it was just scripted actors. It was clearly intended to cast the dubs in the worst light possible. And as I recall, it proposed blood transfusion as the ultimate tonic that would guarantee her survival.

    What made the timing ironic was that around that same time we saw that movie, Red Cross was making major requests for blood donations in our area since their blood supply was massively drained by one case of a young girl with internal bleeding that they just kept giving more and more and more pints of blood without any recovery, finally dying. With that in mind, I was thinking that poor Ruth would die anyway since the doctor isn't doing anything to stop the bleeding, just pump in more blood until the girl finally dies.

    For me at the time, I saw it as anti-JW propaganda.

    It would have been much more interesting if instead of making emotional appeals that blood would save the little girl, if it would have been setup in such a way that a Jew would have been on hand to explain why the Hebrew scriptures on butchering animals don't apply to life-saving medical treatment for humans. And if someone else would have been on-hand to explain other points on the "first century governing body" not recommending medical negligence for parents, something like that would have been truly enlightening. Something like that would have made a younger dubster like me sit up and say, "WTF, they're right! It isn't biblical!" I had to wait another 20 years to figure that out.

    B the X

  • Gayle

    47 years since that film came out..How sad the numbers are that have died prematurely in all this time. It is amazing that the Watchtower Society can be considered a religion in most countries.

  • cabasilas

    It probably does suffer from some accuracy issues but major bleeding usually requires blood transfusions.

    I was thinking tonight that a good script writer knowledgeable on JW blood issues could craft a good story for a new movie. Not only do you have the maze of rules on what's acceptable and not acceptable, there's the whole hospital liason committee and the fear of becoming disassociated.

  • darkspilver


    Life for Ruth

    A 1962 British drama film produced by Michael Relph directed by Basil Dearden and starring Michael Craig, Patrick McGoohan and Janet Munro.

    John Harris finds himself ostracized and placed on trial for allowing his daughter Ruth to die. His religious beliefs forbade him to give consent for a blood transfusion that would have saved her life. Doctor Brown is determined to seek justice for what he sees as the needless death of a young girl.

    READ MORE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_for_Ruth



  • darkspilver
  • pale.emperor

    Oh wow! Just watched this movie now. Remarkably accurate (for the time) and well made. A must watch for all of us.

    If only todays JWs would watch it.

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