Judge grants JW guardian right to refuse him dialysis tretament

by IWillBeDubbedNoMore 9 Replies latest jw friends

  • IWillBeDubbedNoMore


    August 06, 2009

    Article from: Australian Associated Press

    A DYING man has been granted the right to refuse life-saving medical treatment on the grounds of his religious beliefs.

    The man, aged in his 70s and known only as "Mr A", was unconscious when admitted to the emergency unit of a hospital run by the Hunter and New England Area Health Service on July 1. He was suffering from septic shock and respiratory failure.

    Despite receiving treatment, he developed renal failure and by July 14 was being kept alive by mechanical ventilation and kidney dialysis.

    On that day a document prepared on August 19, 2008, and signed by Mr A surfaced in which he indicated he would refuse dialysis.

    The hospital took the matter to the NSW Supreme Court to ensure the man's refusal of medical treatment was legal.

    Today, Justice Robert McDougall found Mr A's directives should be followed "even if the likely consequence of giving effect to Mr A's wishes ... is that he will die".

    In the documents, Mr A stated: "As one of Jehovah's Witnesses I direct my guardian to refuse consent for a transfusion of whole blood, red cells, white cells, platelets, or blood plasma to be given to me under any circumstances even if heath-care providers believe that such are necessary to preserve my life."

    A member of Mr A's congregation, who he had appointed guardian and is known only as Mr T, agreed dialysis was not something his friend would have wanted.

    "(Mr A) was a simple man with an uncomplicated way of living. However, he was adamant about the things he didn't want," he told the Sydney court.

    Justice McDougall said he could not make a determination as to whether, according to beliefs held by Jehovah's Witnesses, there was any biblical proscription of the treatment.

    But he said as a competent adult Mr A had a right to chose what medical treatments he received.

    "A valid refusal may be based upon religious, social or moral grounds or indeed upon no apparent rational grounds; and is entitled to respect regardless," he said in his written judgment.
    "(But) the hospital acted rightly in taking steps to preserve his life whilst seeking the court's decision."

  • IWillBeDubbedNoMore

    Over the years I have helped people fill out their Health care proxies. The man in the article reminds me of an elderly brother that I went over the proxy with. He was so afraid of doing something wrong in God's eyes that he wanted no marked down on everything. Even if it was a conscience matter. If the Society had indorsed any of thise conscience matters, I am sure he would have had them marked yes.

    The man in the article is especially upsetting to me because I was on dialysis for over 12 years. When I think of someone dying when there is a way to keep them alive it breaks my heart. It is even worse when it is a child.

  • 504deist

    actually, i'm glad the courts allowed him to make his decision. even though i don't agree with his views, i believe he has a right to make them. i think the only time a court should be allowed to intervene is when innocent children are victims of the watchtower. otherwise, the court has no right to tell people what treatment they can and cannot take.

  • IWillBeDubbedNoMore

    I agree with you completely. Except when children are involved. What makes me sick is this man only refused treatment because of a false teaching of a few men in Brooklyn claiming to speak for God.

  • blondie

    The WTS speaks out of both sides its mouth on this one. I can see why older jws would rather die than make a "mistake."

    *** w78 6/15 p. 30 Questions From Readers ***

    What about a device such as a heart-lung pump or a dialysis (artificial kidney) machine? Might a Christian use such?

    There are Christian witnesses of Jehovah who, with a good conscience, have allowed these devices to be used, provided that the machines were primed with a nonblood fluid, such as Ringer’s lactate solution.

    When this sort of device is operating, the patient’s blood flows from a blood vessel through tubing and the machine (where it is pumped, oxygenated and/or filtered) and then flows back into his circulatory system. The machine temporarily performs some of the functions normally handled by the patient’s own organs.

    Some Christians have conscientiously reasoned that the blood is flowing continuously and that the external circuit might be viewed as an extension of the circulatory system. They have considered it comparable to a piece of tubing that might be implanted in the body to shunt blood around a blockage in a vessel.

    Of course, each Christian should weigh what is involved in the use of these and similar devices. He could consider whether he views the blood involved to be blood that clearly has left his body and so should be disposed of or as blood that, basically, is still part of his circulatory system.(Deut. 12:16) Then he can make a decision that will leave him with a clear conscience before God.—1 Pet. 3:16.

  • 504deist

    i know it's false and so do you. but, look at it like this, if you decided to refuse a treatment based on your beliefs, would you want the government forcing it on you. weather it was religious or other personal beliefs, they have no right to make up your mind for you.

  • IWillBeDubbedNoMore

    Blondie - Thank you for the quote. The Society can't just say it is a matter of conscience and leave well enough alone. They as you say speak out of both side of their mouth. When you search the article for what is the right choice, it isn't there and then you are afraid to do accept the treatment.

    504deist - We are on the same page. I also am glad that the Judge ruled that way. I wasn't upset about the Judge's decision. I am angry that this man made this decision because of articles like the one Blondie quoted. I doubt he would have come to the same conclusion if it weren't for these articles.

  • 504deist

    i hear ya. no problem.

  • straightshooter

    And sometimes it is how the brothers in the congregation view matters. Sometimes the brothers in the congregation may be zealously conservative in their views and will lead the flock in that direction.

    An example was two elders in the congregation stated in a question and answer part that any celebrations, gatherings, etc. that have any connection with Christendom in even the smallest way is wrong. So the congregation will feel that going to weddings or funerals that are not jw arrangements would be wrong, even though the WTS does not currently say this.

    Another example is on a meeting part on blood and the conducting elder said that it was wrong to take fractions. But the WTS book did not say that. So if you just took the conductors word for this, then the congregation will have their conscience lean in a conservative way.

    Sadly this brother may also have been influenced in his thinking by the elders opinions on this subject and not by what he read.

  • IWillBeDubbedNoMore

    straightshooter - That certainly could have been a factor. The Elders have a great influence over the congregation and whatever their personal views are will affect how they direct a congregation. Like you said, some congregations are more conservative than others and perhaps that is one of the reasons why the Society writes so vaguely.

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