Jehovah's Witnesses now trying to infiltrate a Hospital

by Watchtower-Free 7 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Watchtower-Free

    JACKSON — Some time ago Judith Schmitt left a hospital patient's room feeling inspired and changed for the better.

    She can't remember the patient's name or recollect why he was sick, but she can recall their half-hour conversation about religion and the Plains Indians.

    "We had a wonderful talk about belief and faith," Schmitt said. "I walked out of there and felt just great."

    Schmitt's life-altering exchange with the man is one of many she has had at the St. John's Medical Center.

    As a Spiritual Care volunteer Schmitt heads to the hospital once a week to visit with patients. She has listened to and supported very sick people, welcomed babies to the world and witnessed someone's last breath.

    Even though she often encounters grieving families and unexpected tragedies, Schmitt never feels hopeless or sad when she leaves her volunteer shifts. She instead feels compassionate and blessed.

    "Sometimes the patients do more for me than I do for them," she said. "You walk out of there and think they are brave and wonderful. They build up your spirits."

    But the point of Schmitt's visits isn't to make herself feel better. The idea is to encourage, support and understand people who need it most.

    "I feel it's a gift to listen to people and not push yourself on them," Schmitt said. "It's not an ego trip. It's not for you. It's for them."

    Schmitt is one of about 20 people in the Spiritual Care volunteer program. Some of the volunteers have been making rounds at the hospital since 1992. Back then they were called lay chaplains.

    "I think there are a lot of people out there who don't know what "lay" means," said Kathy Kjellgren, the hospital's volunteer coordinator. "Patients would hear the word "chaplain" and think these people are going to preach."

    Although Schmitt is a practicing Episcopalian she doesn't proselytize when she speaks with patients. That's not the intention of the program, she said.

    The Spiritual Care program is nondenominational and respects all cultures and religions. And anyone, religious or not, can volunteer.

    "On our contact list we have Quakers and Jehovah's Witnesses," Kjellgren said. "And at one point we had a Buddhist."

    Though of different faiths the volunteers share one goal: to give patients some sort of spiritual guidance. Sometimes that guidance is listening to a person's needs. Other times it is saying a prayer.

    Each volunteer must follow a protocol when giving spiritual care.

    When Schmitt makes her weekly trip she first goes to the nurse's station to see if there is anyone who doesn't want a visitor. Then she starts her rounds.

    "I knock on the door and walk in," Schmitt said. "I'll introduce myself. I usually start off by asking them how they are feeling and if they need anything."

    If Schmitt feels the person she is talking to is need of a prayer, she will ask if it's OK to pray with him or her.

    She said a lot of patients are receptive to hearing prayers. It lets them know someone cares, she said.

    Reid Jackson received a prayer from a Spiritual Care volunteer when he was being treated for an infection with flu-like symptoms.

    He said the man who prayed with him made his stay more comfortable.

    "It was mainly a matter of stopping by, seeing how I was doing and offering a prayer," Jackson said. "I don't see how anyone could refuse that."

    Volunteers don't always pray with the people they offer care to.

    "If they say no, it's fine," Schmitt said. "You can walk out of there and say a prayer for them with hopes the healing process goes well."

    Schmitt, like other Spiritual Care volunteers, was trained.

    Ben Pascal, senior pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Jackson Hole, is in charge of readying future volunteers. A link between St. John's Medical Center and the leaders of Jackson's faith communities, Pascal was nominated for that role by the Interfaith Group of Jackson Hole.

    Each volunteer goes to a daylong training session.

    "We teach them the art of visiting people," Pascal said. "A lot is learning about the importance of presence and how to let patients lead the conversation."

    Pascal also talks about bedside manner. He tells soon-to-be volunteers not to loom over somebody or sit on a patient's bed.

    He also tells trainees it is important to respect privacy and to not focus on the person's condition.

    Learning how to lead a prayer is also important, Pascal said.

    "It's nice to have tools in your tool belt," he said. "There are great scriptures from the Bible or Book of Psalms that will resonate with people of the Jewish faith, Christian faith or any faith for that matter."

    After Pascal informs people of the program's guidelines he puts them in pairs to practice the art of listening.

    Once trainees have completed the day of role-playing and mastered program guidelines, they are asked to come back for a short follow-up.

    Prepared with the quintessential know-how, beginners enter the next phase of training by shadowing a practicing volunteer.

    "You follow three different people on three different days," Schmitt said. "You learn what it is all about, how to approach the patient and what you say to them."

    Pascal and Schmitt believe spiritual care is an important part of the healing process.

    "I think patients need to know that there is a group here in the hospital that has nothing to do with the medical side of things," Schmitt said. "We just care about them."

    Volunteers are required to go to the hospital once a month and to attend a monthly meeting, which is held at noon on the second Thursday of each month.

  • blondie

    We have 4 major hospitals in this area. All have jw elders assigned to a committee (now called the Patient Visitation Group) to visit jws at the hospital and this has been in place for years. One hospital is of Catholic origin and while the nuns who act as nurses, there is a chaplain on staff and a chapel for family.

    So if jws want spiritual support, they indicate they are jws on their file.

    Every hospital has an area available for a spiritual side, and volunteer ministers or others who list their names as being available.

    jws have been there for years for jws.

    *** km 9/08 p. 3 Announcements ***

    If you are admitted to a hospital and want visiting local elders and, in larger cities, elders serving on a Patient Visitation Group to have access to your name, what must you do? When identifying yourself as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, you should also explain that you are willing to have a minister of Jehovah’s Witnesses visit you. A federal law, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), protects your privacy, but with your consent, the law allows for the elders to learn of your admission and provide spiritual encouragement.

  • Mad Irishman
    Mad Irishman

    JW's do this in prisons as well and they've been doing it in hospitals for a long time. I'd rather be told I could live on a paradise earth than burn in hell. Although, depending on which day it is or who you're sharing a hospital room with that might not be the case.

    Funny thing is: I've heard many a story of non-Witnesses who don't want blood transfusions say they are witnesses to their doctors so they will use other methods. And if a witness goes and talks to that person, because the docs say they are a witness too, lo-and-behold they are not. Very strange.

  • Vidiot
    I realize it's not much comparison, but for some reason, this actually reminds me of Scientology's "Operation Snow White".
  • James Mixon
    James Mixon

    Conversation between A JW and a none JW patient.

    Hello sir, I'm here to provide some spiritual comfort.

    Patient: thanks I can use some, they tell me I have a few months.

    JW: so sorry. What faith are you?

    Patient: Catholic.

    JW: well you know you have been worshipping Satan.

    Patient: say what!

    JW: yes there is only one true religion and one God, Jehovah.

    Patient: But sir how can that be, I don't know anything about JW's.

    JW: well sir have you seen us on the street corners?

    Patient: Yes, but I have never talked to any JW.

    JW: that's no excuse.

    Patient: So you are saying if I don't become a JW, this is it for me, no

    coming back?

    JW; I'm afraid so.

    Patient: nurse, nurse please get this fool out of my room..

  • Doubting Bro
    Doubting Bro

    I was on one of those probably 10 years or so ago. As Blondie described, we would work with the local hospital (in my case it was a Catholic hospital) and I actually got a clergy parking pass (LOL - I think I still have it, never used it but I thought it was funny). On the week I was assigned, I'd call the chaplain to ask if any JWs were in the hospital and needed a visit every other day. I'd pop down there, check to see if their elders had been visiting them. Sometimes they would say no and being the uber zealous elder I was I would find out what congregation they were in and call the PO. It wasn't a big deal, I'd do the daily text or something with them and then offer a prayer. 10 minute visit tops unless they really needed something which in most cases they had family or folks from the hall already helping them.

    Honestly, most weeks there would be no one on the list. That's why I started calling the chaplain (great guy by the way) instead of wasting time going to the hospital.

    We only visited those who specifically requested a visit from a JW minister. Since it was a Catholic hospital, I think in that case the chaplain did most of the visiting but had a list of other religions with ministers available to met their patients needs.

    Overall I thought it was a nice program.

  • OrphanCrow

    The JWs have been 'infiltrating' hospitals for many years. The protoype for the HLCs were trialed in Canada starting back around 1970.

    Visiting groups for JWs in hospitals were in place long before that. This is not something new.

    I am not alarmed by the visiting groups established to offer support for JW patients. I see nothing untoward about it.

    However, what does alarm me is the number of JWs who are working in hospitals trying to influence the medical community on blood management.

    Here is a JW who has taken their affiliation with the Watchtower and transformed the blood doctrine into an opportunity to influence the medical care of the population at large.

    Some of Edward Blakeney's experience (visit link to find more):

    Blood Conservation Program Coordinator

    Tenet Healthcare

    August 2009 – Present (5 years 8 months)Hired to create, oversee, and market the Blood Conservation Program. Blood utilization was reduced and the patient population increased as a result of the program.
    Managed Program at two hospital campuses
    Developed Policies and Procedures
    Created new patient forms
    Wrote marketing brochures
    Established Anemia Clinic
    Facilitated contract with Jehovah's Witnesses Headquarters
    Featured on Channel 10's Health Beat report
    Serve as patient advocate and physician referral
    Speak at employee orientations, department in-services
    Market program at community functions
    Arrange program content, guest speakers, location
    Participate in Health Fairs
    Present lectures to corporations, groups
    Interviewed for print publications, published in Miami News
    Served on Ethics Committee

    Edward Blakeney is only one of the many JWs who work in the medical field influencing health decisions at the administrative level.

    The field of blood management is infiltrated by JWs all over the world.

    And let's not forget about Shannon Farmer and Axel Hoffman et al who have successfully influenced and infiltrated a whole country's hospital system in Australia.

  • greenhornet
    About 6 years ago I was visiting a dying friend. One of the elders came by and said a prayer in front of all the JW family. He then took a turn for the worst and the Chaplain came in and gave him Last rights. I cried is was a wonderful prayer. The Elders prayer sounded like a infomercial.

Share this