Pediatric Bioethics Conference To Feature JW Minors and Blood Transfusion Issue

by gladimout 9 Replies latest jw friends

  • gladimout

    2013 Conference: Cases That Keep Us Awake at Night: Challenges in Pediatric Bioethics

    July 19 and 20, 2013, Bell Harbor International Conference Center, Seattle
    Registration opens in mid-January

    Clinical ethics seeks to address the ethical issues that arise in the care of individual patients. Clinicians and families may seek advice from the clinical ethics consultant or ethics committee when cases present difficult issues or significant conflicts over values. These situations must be resolved, but may leave those involved feeling unsettled and uncertain about whether the best resolution was achieved. The focus of this conference will be those cases that keep clinical ethics consultants and ethics committee members awake at night and test their moral values:

    • Should a teenager be allowed to refuse a lifesaving blood transfusion on religious grounds?
    • Should an organ transplant be performed over a family’s objections?
    • Should Child Protective Services intervene when a family fails to address the eating habits of a morbidly obese child?

    Renowned leaders in the field of pediatric bioethics will come together to discuss these issues July 19 and 20, 2013, in Seattle. Come join us and add your voice and perspective as we grapple with these ethical questions through presentations and panel discussions.

    You can look forward to a stimulating program set in one of the country’s most vibrant and beautiful cities. We hope you can attend.

  • Phizzy

    I think these kind of conferences are valuable, ethics have to change with time.

    I wonder if they are up to speed with the concept that there is no such thing as a Muslim child, or a Catholic child, or a Jehovah's Witness child.

    The child's (not legally adult) parent's beliefs and religious affiliations are not relevant, except that the parents may have influenced the child's thoughts and decisions. The parents themselves will probably never have considered different points of view, or even all the facts.

    Given that the child has grown up in those circumstances, how can the poor innocent make a decision that may end their life ?

    Why should any such decision, based on nothing real, be respected to the point of allowing the suicide of this young person? can this be Ethical ?

  • gladimout

    I wonder if they are up to speed with the concept that there is no such thing as a Muslim child, or a Catholic child, or a Jehovah's Witness child

    If only your statement were true Phizzy. The courts can declare that an adolescent has the decision-making abilities of an adult and is independently able to consent (or refuse) for religious reasons. In essence, that child can be a Muslim, Catholic, JW, etc.

    The Lindberg case will be discussed at the confererence. Here is an excerpt from a local paper concerrning the case:

    With the transfusions and other treatment, Lindberg had been given a 70 percent chance of surviving the next five years, Meyer said in court, based on what the boy's doctors told him. Without them, he was likely to die. But his decision in what the judge called a "stunning case, which brings into play issues including, but not confined to, religious freedoms," was based strictly on facts.

    "I don't believe Dennis' decision is the result of any coercion. He is mature and understands the consequences of his decision," Meyer said during Wednesday's court proceedings.

    "I don't think Dennis is trying to commit suicide. This isn't something Dennis just came upon, and he believes with the transfusion he would be unclean and unworthy."

    Parents and classmates of the boy, who had lived with his aunt for the past four years, cried in disbelief at the judge's decision. Wherry fled the courtroom in tears.

    Mincin has repeatedly declined to speak about her nephew's ordeal. For legal privacy reasons, doctors and officials at Children's also have declined to speak about the boy's condition.

    Read more:


    gladimout - thanks for bringing this to our attention. It would be great to get updates on this and how it plays out in the media.

    I'm still amazed that the blood issue isn't a bigger deal - that senior JW's are not in prison for the murder of children through their cultish policies. In terms of religious freedom would a modern Maya culture be allowed to sacrifice their children? Would it be tolerated?


  • Phizzy

    Thanks Gladimout, I am well aware of the Legal position , and of sad cases such as the one you bring to our attention. I just keep on thinking that from an ethical point of view it is wrong to simply roll over and accept that a minor has made the decision whilst certain facts and beliefs are witheld from him or her.

    Is it ethical then to let a minor risk his or her life say finding a clear path through a minefield for his Taliban friends, because he or she has been told it is God's will ? If the opportunity was there to say to the minor that alternative ways at looking at things are available, would it not be ethical to present that way of thinking to the minor before he or she risked their life ?

    I know this is a crass example , but it is all I can think of on the hoof, we all know the situation of the born-in JW and the information they have received about the Blood Doctrine, they have only had the W.T version, and more than likely not even an up to date version of that.

    If the Judge really knew how the mind-control and behaviour control had been achieved, by a cult, coercion it is, and the near total ignorance of the religious issues involved that is the minors plight, he would not be so happy that the minor was making a life threatening religious decision on such scant grounds.

    In such cases the Judge is never really presented with all the facts, and the minor is making his/her decision whilst in virtual ignorance.

  • Billy the Ex-Bethelite
    Billy the Ex-Bethelite

    From an ethics point of view, I would think that the teenager should be exposed to some facts before their refusal of blood would be taken seriously. In particular, JWs need to be informed that the biblical law is simply a dietary restriction which nobody was ever killed for. And the blood was only a sacred representation of life that should be poured on the ground if the blood was coming from a dead body. All donated blood comes from living donors, so doesn't have the same context as scriptural commands. And although JWs also would point at the command to "abstain from blood", the same verse says to "abstain from things sacrificed to idols." Only a couple of years later, Paul changed that to be a matter of conscience. Food sacrificed to idols was never really a matter of life and death, it was a matter of convenience and practicality. In modern times, donated blood can be a matter of life and death, wouldn't it even more become a matter of conscience? Wasn't the saving of a life more important than obeying sabbath restrictions?

    And so much other information that teens are never exposed to in WT indoctrination.

  • skeeter1

    What if the teenager's attorney is from the religion, and even an elder in the religion who "puts Jehovah first" and will move to have hte child/family disfellowshipped if they waiver in teh blood tenets?

  • gladimout

    It would be great to get updates on this and how it plays out in the media.

    I doubt the conference will get much media attention because the bioethical universe is pretty small. However, I will be attending the conference, and I will update the board as to the discussions surrounding the issue.

  • LoisLane looking for Superman
    LoisLane looking for Superman



    Just Lois

  • gladimout


    The conference with be filmed, archived, and made available on Katz' website.

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