Girl, 5, from Jehovah's Witness family can have blood transfusion, judge says
A HIGH Court judge has ruled that doctors can give a sick five-year-old girl from a Jehovah’s Witness family a blood transfusion.
The little girl’s parents said their religious beliefs would not allow them to consent to a blood transfusion.
But they said they would not object to a judge making the decision.
Mr Justice Hayden was told that the little girl was in a “grave” situation and could die or suffer a stroke if she did not have a transfusion.
The judge analysed evidence at a public hearing in the Family Division of the High Court (pictured) in London on Wednesday after hospital bosses asked him to make a decision as a matter of urgency.
He said bosses at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust had responsibility for the girl’s care and had made the application.
He said the girl was being treated at Leeds Children’s Hospital.
The judge heard evidence via a telephone link to the hospital.
A specialist told Mr Justice Hayden that the little girl was suffering from sickle cell disease, an inherited blood disorder, and that her condition had deteriorated.
He said he feared a “life-threatening event” if the girl was not given a blood transfusion soon.
The girl’s father broke down as he told the judge that he wanted his daughter to live but could not agree to a blood transfusion.
He said he and the girl’s mother could let the judge make the decision.
Mr Justice Hayden said the law allowed judges to make such rulings.
Jehovah’s Witnesses say their attitude to blood stems from Biblical teaching.
“Both the Old and New Testaments clearly command us to abstain from blood,” says the religion’s website, www.jw.org.
“God views blood as representing life.
“So we avoid taking blood not only in obedience to God but also out of respect for him as the Giver of life.”
The website highlights a number of Biblical references, including passages in Genesis, Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Acts.