Should doctors tell JW patients that there is disagreement about Watchtower's blood policy.

by Lee Elder 46 Replies latest watchtower medical

  • Diogenesister

    I remember years ago having haemophiliac witnesses taking blood fractions in the form of factor 8 and I would always wonder if they knew how much blood had been donated to manufacture that stuff. I feared explaining it to them in case they refused treatment . JW always have so many visitors as a rule and I would drive them away if my patient was having factor 8 in case any of them made trouble. Back to the op....are doctors aware of UNDUE influence???? And the absolute RUBBISH jw spout about how many deaths are caused by transfusions's an example of the sort of out of date misleading info Witnesses are given/proliferate on the blood issue..any REFUTATIONS to the last one would be very welcome...

    Using faulty and misleading information, enemies of Witnesses claim that "thousands" have supposedly died because of refusing blood, yet how does this compare to the millions who have died from being given blood in the same period of time?!
    The facts show that there is absolutely no proof that anyone has ever died because of refusing blood.
    "The bloodletting of yore has been superseded by blood transfusion. Of all the ridiculous medical practices of the past and present times, this present blood craze is the worst." - -Dr. G. Boni and Dr. P.Lafarge, "Let's Live", March 1970

    "If blood was a new drug it wouldn't receive a product licence."--Tom Lennard, Royal Victoria Infirmary
    "Initially in the acute stage the exact fluid chosen, provided that it is not positively harmful, is relatively unimportant. Later, once the circulatory volume has been expanded, the specific requirements for a particular case must be taken into consideration."--Anaesthesia, July 1968, p. 416.
  • wannaexit
    I can imagine any doctor going to such length to try and dissuade their patients to see the other side of the blood issue. Generally they are happy if you sign a consent form and it's out of their hands.
  • Incognito

    It is the doctors responsibility to provide the patient (or their alternate decision maker) the treatment options. That may involve correcting any misunderstanding the patient may have been lead to understand.

    Regardless of something dictated by WT or because of something she/he read in a fortune cookie, a patient having attained the age of majority, capable of understanding and who has been provided informed consent, has the right to accept or deny treatment.

    Whether you agree with refusing a blood transfusion or not, think about yourself being forced to decide on a treatment option which for whatever reason, you are devoutly against. Should you be forced to receive that treatment?

  • slimboyfat

    Things I'd suggest doctors should say:

    1. If you want to take blood no one else needs to find out. You have absolute right to privacy we would do our best to uphold.

    2. Many blood fractions are allowed by Watchtower rules and JWs takes them all the time.

    3. Many JWs choose to take whole blood and keep the matter private. That's up to them and we respect their decision.

    4. These are the real clinical risks of complications of death in your case. What you've been told about the dangers of blood in general are another matter, these are the facts in your case, so you have full accurate information.

    Things doctors shouldn't say to patients:

    1. Hey haven't you read this scripture and how can you think it's literal when you cross reference it with that scripture and David ate the blah and the verb used in Acts 15... doh!

    2. Hey don't you know the Watchtower banned organ transplants in the 1960s you don't want to be a fool and listen to people who change their minds all the time do you?

    3. Did you know the Watchtower is a false prophet and have you accepted Jesus as your mediator?

    4. I'm not accepting no for an answer until you've read Crisis of Conscience okay.

    5. You're a deluded cult member just listen to what I'm telling you.

  • NVR2L8

    As many of us experienced when trying to challenge a JW's beliefs, doctors and medical staff quickly realize that's it's impossible to reason with a person who is in cult mode and can't listen to reason. It is even worse when such a patient has the support of his family and cult leaders (hospital liaison elder). The patient is convinced he is right even before he speaks to the doctors. If he dies the patient will be seen as a hero by his surviving peers and is guaranteed a resurrection. This patient can only be treated on his terms and most doctors view this as the lesser of two evels...the other being watching the person die.

  • Crazyguy

    I think the doctor should be proactive and try to educate his patient. He could inform them that in every drop of breast milk there's 1 million white blood cells, so if God really said not to eat blood the way the WT says then why is there blood in the milk. And if your to pour out your blood again like the WT says then why do they allow blood fractions which are obtained from donated blood. These are questions and comments that may get a JW thinking, and the doctor could finish off by saying "are you really sure your leader's are correct on this matter so much so that your willing to die? Because in 1967 they told their followers not to have organ transplants even if it meant death, then 13 years later they changed their minds"

    As the doctor I would hope this would get the patient thinking and then do to the pressure of imminent death maybe change their minds after planting these doubts.

  • Simon

    I would be surprised if many doctors knew all the nuances of the JW beliefs and WTS control.

    Ultimately though I don't believe someone is making a truly "informed choice" if they have refused (or been denied) the chance to hear the counter arguments against their choice. This should include all the doctrinal flip-flops on medical matters from the WTS history which makes them look like complete tin-foil-hat clowns.

    I doubt most JWs could actually give an accurate and precise account of the current WTS position on blood and factions unless they reviewed and studied the material before-hand. Most simply know the basic "no blood" in the same way that their biblical knowledge only covers to the basics of Christianity ("Jesus is God's son and died for us")

  • Giordano

    If they want to ask questions then answer them, but don't force stuff on them whether they ask for it or not.

    I wouldn't discuss theology with them but I do think they should have the best facts available as they Have been forced, or encouraged or coerced to avoid blood their entire lives by the WTBTS which is a real estate holding and publishing company. And been encouraged by their JW Moms and Dads, friends and Elders in the congregation.

    Considering that and a pre medical emergency....... if possible, the patient should be thoroughly informed about the risks of not accepting blood should it be needed.

    We went through this crap with the Christian Scientist religion who opted for their faith and praying healing them or their sick children while entertaining a burst appendix or whatever.

    If someone with advanced knowledge that a blood transfusion would save them and refuses then suicide might be appropriate for cause of death..

  • GrreatTeacher

    I have just been through this with both my parents within the last few weeks who were in an auto accident. Their treatment and injuries were different, though they both came into the hospital as "traumas."

    My father had a dislocated hip and needed surgery to repair the socket in his pelvis. He was not bleeding when he came into Emergency. The blood issue came about because of the hip repair surgery which happened a few days later. The surgeon was great. He asked my dad if several treatments were okay, mentioning that he thought other JWs had accepted them, but asked my dad to do any research he needed to do, including talking to the HLC, to determine if these treatments would be okay with him. Dad accepted a cellsaver during surgery (recycles your blood), an internal tourniquet to block blood flow temporarily to the surgery site and Epigen for several days before surgery to build up his red blood cell count. He was respectful, gave dad options, and worked with him to find solutions. The blood loss during surgery was minimal and dad is recovering well. The key was that this was PLANNED surgery.

    My mom came into Emergency actively bleeding. This is much more dangerous because there is no time for planning or research. She was upset that the HLC hadn't told the doctors what was acceptable and what their medical plan was. She clearly knew nothing other than NO BLOOD! When she finally talked with the HLC and they made their "recommendations, " she was angry with the trauma doctor that told her that her need was acute and these interventions take time to work, so they wouldn't be useful to her. Her hemoglobin dropped into the 7s and continued to drop into the 6s until she refused to have anymore blood drawn, both because she didn't want to know and she thought she couldn't afford to lose even a vial of blood. The only thing she would accept was iron. The nurse told us that her refusal of blood was causing lots of issues with fainting and fatigue. This would just make her recovery all the more slow. She has been recovering much more slowly than my dad. Her hemoglobin numbers are slowly coming up, but she talked to a JW friend of hers who is a nurse and told her that she lost about half of her red blood cells and it would take several months for her to build them back up. This was the first person whom she actually believed about her medical condition and it shook her up.

    So, I guess the point I'm making is that there are different scenarios with the blood issue. If there is planned surgery, there is time to work out mutually agreed upon solutions between the surgeon and the patient. If you come into Emergency actively bleeding, then the JW acceptable treatments don't have time to work and all a doctor can do is point out the dangers of not accepting blood. There's no time to have a debate and a critical patient does not have the ability, likely, to weigh options and make decisions in such a fast-paced emergency type situation.

    Also, the surgeon who worked with my dad told me, pointing to my year old nephew, that if he needed blood, he'd have a court order in a minute.

  • Fisherman

    If someone with advanced knowledge that a blood transfusion would save them and refuses then suicide might be appropriate for cause of death..

    Years ago, before HIV was identified, a lot of doctors thought that they knew that a blood transfusion would save a patient wound up killing them. Also, a lot of people wound up getting infections in their liver from infected blood resulting that they die a slow torturous death. A lot of these people did not actually need blood and those people would have been saved if they would not have gotten blood transfusions. From a medical position BT had risks and still do, but if death is imminent without one then a patient has no choice if he wants to live, or at least have a fighting chance.

    From a JW position, the position is religious. Medical risks are reasons JW give to support their religious position and to show and persuade non JW that their religious position is not fanatical, but also to convince JW too of the reasonableness of the stand, never-the less, even if it was possible to administer 100 percent safe blood without any risks whatsoever to a JW, a JW could not accept.

    If a JW knows for a fact that God does not want him to take blood as the WT teaches then the JW is obeying God when he refuses a blood transfusion or refuses anti-venom or certain vaccines,...etc. But if it came down to it and his refusal of blood carried a risk of probable death and he did not know for a fact that God did not want him to take blood as the WT teaches and he refuses because of what he believes the Bible is saying from how the WT interprets the Bible, then his refusal is in obedience of the WT if he is refusing for religious reasons.

    In survival situations a person may have to eat rat or roaches or snakes or human flesh, etc. Some people would choose to die. In some situations when a person is threatened unless they submit to the demands of their captors, some people would also choose to die.

    JW are conditioned mentally to disgust blood but to the average joe that never gave it a thought, do not feel any repulsion to have quarts or gallons of some dude's bloody blood and dna and fluids, etc transfused into their body.

Share this