Brazil: Judge authorizes blood transfusion in adult JW
Justice authorizes blood transfusion in Jehovah's Witness patient in ES
Painel Politico, Friday, September 15, 2017 (via Google Translate)
Religion does not allow the faithful to undergo the procedure, even in cases of emergency; The judge argues that the right to life overrides this
The Justiça do Espírito Santo has determined that a hospital located in the municipality of Serra, in the metropolitan region of Vitória, to perform blood transfusion in an elderly patient who is Jehovah's Witness - religion that does not allow its followers to receive blood from third parties, even in cases of medical emergency.
According to the process, the patient is hospitalized and needs to undergo an amputation surgery. Aebes (Associação Evangélica Beneficente Espírito Santense), which is the manager of the State Hospital Dr. Jayme dos Santos Neves, says that both the family and the patient witness of Jehovah himself do not allow the transfusion, even at the risk of death.
The lawsuit was filed by the association that manages the hospital, in which it requires, in anticipation of guardianship, that blood transfusion be authorized during the surgery of the elderly, as well as in the postoperative period, independently of the will of the patient's relatives .
According to the author of the action, the patient is elderly and is hospitalized in his unit because of the "need for transtibial amputation of the right lower limb", because he presents a leg injury without clinical conditions for outpatient treatment and that needs to be kept hospitalized with the consequent amputation. He also reports that since he is anemic, he will probably need a blood transfusion.
It turns out that the hospital was surprised by the family's refusal to allow transfusion for being faithful to the religion that rejects such a procedure.
"Right to life"
In the understanding of the Judge of the 4th Civil Court of the Serra, between the right to life and the right to religious belief, the right to life overlaps, and the State has a positive duty to act in relation to the preservation of it.
"The right to life, because the right to be born, to grow and to prolong its existence comes from the natural right inherent in human beings, which is undoubtedly the primary and antecedent of all other rights. Based on the above reasoning, I understand the requirements for granting urgent care and I authorize the applicant to use blood / blood products (blood transfusion) during the surgery, as well as in the postoperative period. ", the judge concluded, ordering Jehovah's witness patient to undergo the procedure.
No doubt the patient and his family will be secretly relieved by the order.
St George of England: No doubt the patient and his family will be secretly relieved by the order.
Looking at the wider ethical principle (rather than the 'blood issue') - why?
It appears that the judgement has been obtained beforehand, and the operation has not taken place yet.
In view of the judgement:
- Does the adult patient now refuse to consent to the operation?
- Should the hospital now force the adult patient to have the operation?
How may that work out in other instances when an adult patient wishes to refuse what a doctor deems to be a 'life-saving' operation.
The operation in the OP is an amputation.
Consider the case below from the UK - not blood, but an amputation:
Court of Protection upholds the right of a confused, lonely man to refuse treatment
The issue in this case was whether it would be lawful for the doctors treating Mr B, a diabetic with a severely infected leg, to amputate his foot against his wishes in order to save his life.
Having visited Mr B in hospital to get a clearer understanding of his needs and wishes, as well as to explain to him the consequences of foregoing the surgery, the judge concluded that the operation would not be lawful.
In the matter of no blood the witnesses do not obey, what they think to be, God's laws above man's laws.
I wonder what their justification is for this.
It's almost certain the elderly patient has other issues, he may be semi conscious or confused, which pretty common when the elderly become sick...or in a diabetic comma.Perhaps dementia?