Lee Elder: I would like to hear what your experiences with HLC have been like.
My experience with the "HLC" dates back to the days before they were known as such.
I had an encounter with those men in the days that the HLC was being piloted in Canada. 1974. The year after the "Alternatives to Blood Transfusion for Pediatrics" was published by all those devout and well-meaning 'interested' Jehovah's Witnesses down in eastern Canada. Published by all those interested JW doctors, pharmacists, etc. and distributed to hospitals across Canada.
I don't have very many memories of those JW men who were immediately called to the hospital and likely were waiting by their phones - they arrived lickety split after my mother signed the no blood order for my newborn infant son. I suspect that they had already been alerted to a potential blood transfusion issue with a JW baby. Only thing is...that baby (my baby) was NOT a JW baby.
Not only was my baby not a JW, I wasn't a JW and neither was my mother a JW. She had been disfellowshipped four years before that no blood order got signed by her. And the JW men that were called to the hospital? Neither my mother or I had ever seen or met them before. Of course we hadn't - neither one of us had stepped foot inside a Kingdom Hall for years and the congregation we had attended was way out in the rural country, nowhere near the big city where my son was in the hospital.
To this day, I do not know why the doctors and the hospital didn't step up to the plate and give me mature minor support so that my wishes for my baby were respected. I wanted him to have a blood transfusion if he needed one but the minute that the white shirts and shiny shoes turned up at the consulting room, I was immediately ushered out of the room and the negotiations that occurred happened between my mother, the doctors and the JW men. I sat outside in the hall while they decided to cut my tiny, newborn baby open and try alternative procedures on him instead of a simple blood transfusion.
My suspicions? The JWs had done their groundwork really, really well. The doctors at the hospital were fully cooperative, in fact so cooperative that a newborn baby was seen as a gold mine that had fell into their lap. A precious, tiny little guinea pig. One that could be used for those alternative procedures that the JW men had already promoted in that hospital.
My impressions of those pilot HLC men? Shiny shoes, white shirts, and the power to stop me from talking to the doctors. Me. The baby's mother. I was 16 years old and kicked out of the consulting room by those shiny shoes. I will hate them until the day I die. And beyond. Forever.