Medicine, religion clash at Bronx hospital: Patient's family members are JWs

by behemot 5 Replies latest watchtower medical

  • behemot

    A Bronx woman with internal bleeding was on the verge of death, and doctors wanted to save her with a transfusion.

    The only problem was the incapacitated patient's family wouldn't allow it because they are Jehovah's Witnesses who believe her fate is in God's hands.

    The clash of modern medicine and religion led doctors at St. Barnabas Hospital to rush into court for an emergency order - granted Tuesday by Judge Faviola Soto.

    "The attending physician felt it was urgent that if she didn't get a transfusion, she would die," said St. Barnabas spokesman Steven Clark. "Hopefully, the patient will be okay now."

    The patient, Jean Leslie, 55, is a stroke victim who had been living in the St. Barnabas Nursing Home since 2008.

    She was admitted to the hospital on May 21 when doctors noticed a problem with some blood tests, according to court papers. Dr. Edgar Pimentel believed Leslie was suffering from internal bleeding and asked a gastroenterologist to perform a colonoscopy - but her mother wouldn't allow it.

    "Ossien Leslie has refused consent on the grounds that God alone and prayer will save her daughter," the hospital wrote.

    St. Barnabas filed emergency papers on Friday, declaring that Leslie needs the colonoscopy and a life-saving blood transfusion before June 2. Clark said it was the first time the hospital has had to go to court for an emergency medical hearing in at least eight years.

    Although her mother and sister Sharon are devout Witnesses, the hospital said the patient's religious beliefs are unknown.

    Jean Leslie is conscious "but unable to conduct a conversation, and most of her speech is limited to short outbursts of vulgarities," according to court papers.

    Efforts to reach Ossien and Sharon Leslie were unsuccessful.

    According to the Jehovah's Witnesses' Web site, the religion bars blood transfusions because of a biblical command that Christians must "abstain from... blood."


  • tec

    Be interested to know if she is a JW, after she wakes and is coherent.

  • PSacramento

    I guess the "abstain from blood" trumps that commandment NOT TO KILL.

  • Bystander39

    Why would "devout Witnesses" have their daughter/sister at a place called "St Barnabas?"

  • Scully

    A case like this outlines why it is SOOOOOOO important to have someone you know who will respect your wishes to be appointed as your Power of Attorney for Health Care / Proxy / Substitute Decision Maker (the title depends on your jurisdiction).

    There's no way I'd want a JW to assume responsibility for my care if I was incapacitated.

    I also wonder whether the patient's care in the nursing home is costing these JWs anything, and they have an ulterior motive in "letting her go". If there was such as issue, and they knew the patient wouldn't have made the decision they are trying to impose to refuse blood transfusions, I'd like to see these people be charged with 2nd degree murder or negiligent homicide.

  • AudeSapere

    Why would "devout Witnesses" have their daughter/sister at a place called "St Barnabas?"

    Good catch!

    My guess is that they are unable to care for her themselves (interferes with Kingdom Interests) and that hospital probably accepts Medicare.


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