JW mother loses custody of son for refusing blood

by jschwehm 5 Replies latest jw friends

  • jschwehm


    The Lincoln Journal Star has a story in it this morning about a JW mother in Omaha who lost custody of her son for refusing to allow a blood transfusion. Evidently her son has sickle cell anemia and his red blood cell count became extremely low. The young boy was complaining that he could not breathe.

    The newspaper does not have this story on the internet but the paper says it is an AP story.

    I thought you guys would want to know.

    Jeff S.

  • jschwehm

    I wrote the following letter to the editor of the Lincoln Journal Star. The last time they had an article on the JWs and blood they published my letter. We will see if they publish this one too.

    Jeff S.

    I would like to thank University hospital and the police for their action in making sure that the son of the Jehovah's Witness mother received the medical care needed to save his life. Jehovah's Witnesses' views on blood are controversial and difficult to understand. What most people do not realize is that there are Jehovah's Witnesses who disagree with the leaders of the Jehovah's Witnesses and their views on blood transfusions.

    Dissenting Jehovah's Witnesses have organized themselves into the Associated Jehovah's Witnesses for Reform on Blood. Their website is www.ajwrb.org. The following quote is from their website:

    Some Jehovah's Witnesses believe that a blood transfusion is a liquid tissue or organ transplant, not a meal, and hence does not violate the biblical admonition to "abstain from [eating] blood." The Watchtower Society attempts to deny these members a free choice in their medical care by means of controls and sanctions - namely enforced shunning by JW family members and friends.
    Medical confidentiality in dealing with these dissenting JW patients is essentially to prevent the church from retaliating against them through shunning. Also when a minor child is involved the state needs to protect these children from these damaging religious beliefs and I am glad that this occurred in this case.

    Jeffery M. Schwehm

  • Lee Elder
    Lee Elder

    Well done. Let's hope the letter is published.


  • hawkaw

    You may read the story here:


    OMAHA - A 7-year-old boy with sickle cell anemia has spent the last week in
    foster care after his mother refused to consent to a blood transfusion because
    of her religion.

    Martez LeFlore has been receiving blood transfusions twice a day after police
    took custody away from his mother, who would allow only alternative
    treatments because she and the boy are Jehovah's Witnesses.

    Members of the religion refuse blood transfusions as being against the Bible,
    citing passages that say it is wrong to ingest blood.

    Such beliefs are considered when it comes to emergency health care, but police
    still have authority on whether the child gets treatment.

    "Ultimately, we're responsible for making a life-and-death decision," said Lt.
    Mike Butera, who oversees Omaha medical neglect investigators. "When it
    comes down to it, we are going to do what we believe is legally in the best
    interest of the child."

    Anika LeFlore brought Martez to University Hospital on April 21 after the boy,
    who had been sick with flu symptoms for several days, complained he couldn't

    Doctors told her that Martez's heart was enlarged, his red-blood cell count was
    low and he needed a transfusion. LeFlore said she would allow other
    treatments, but not a transfusion.

    "I said 'no' to the end - 'no blood, no blood, no blood' - all the way to the end.
    I want these other treatments," LeFlore said.

    Doctors called police, who around 4 a.m. got the boy in foster care so he could
    be treated. Martez continues to get transfusions twice a day.

    LeFlore thinks police and social workers overstepped their bounds.

    "I don't want my child to die," the 31-year-old mother said. "I brought him to
    the hospital for treatment. I just want these alternative treatments."

    Martez has had sickle cell anemia since birth, his mother said. The disease
    causes red blood cells to be deformed, which can cause a variety of symptoms,
    including fatigue, dizziness and weakness.

    Alternative treatments such as medications, artificial blood and different surgical
    techniques are available but require planning, said Harlan Haupt, an overseer
    with the Jehovah's Witness Fontenelle congregation.

    Butera said police carefully consider whether the child could die, why the
    parent is refusing to consent and whether the child is old enough to have his or
    her own opinion.

    "This wasn't a rash decision just based on our hearts and our feelings," Butera
    said. "It was a rational decision that we made in consultation with others based
    on the medical personnel's opinion that death was imminent."

    The U.S. Supreme Court repeatedly has ruled that the child's health outweighs
    a parent's right to religion, said Catherine Brooks, a Creighton University
    professor specializing in children and family law.

    "The parents have a right to believe, the parents have a right to teach, the
    parents have a right to practice," she said, "but they can't impose that practice
    in cases in which the state believes the children's health to be at risk."

  • claudia

    Dont the jws say that children cannot join? so how can the parents decide? doesnt make sense, as usual they are speaking from both sides of their mouth. they suck

  • waiting
    The U.S. Supreme Court repeatedly has ruled that the child's health outweighs a parent's right to religion, said Catherine Brooks, a Creighton University professor specializing in children and family law.

    I wasn't aware of these rulings - anybody else have information on them?


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