Stage 4 Cancer, Stem Cell Transplant and Blood Transfusions

by NJ501 19 Replies latest watchtower medical

  • NJ501

    Hi all,

    Today, I received a call from my oncologist nurse. She informed me that I will need to sign a consent form for a blood transfusion. The doctor will see me next Wednesday to go through the consent form with me.

    Because I will be having intense chemotherapy treatment and a stem cell transplant my blood counts will drop to a low level and I'll need red blood and platelet transfusions.

    I've been POMO for about 5yrs now, but I feel guilty and uneasy accepting a blood transfusion. Especially, when my parents are Pimi and my father is a elder. I fear all the consequences that have been taught all my life about accepting a blood transfusion. Diseases, destruction at Armageddon, losing my family etc.

    Does anyone have any personal experiences, advice or tips on how to overcome the guilt?


  • Ron.W.
    Are Transfusions Equivalent to Eating Blood?
    The whole position of the Jehovah’s Witnesses hinges on the assertion that blood transfusions are just another form of eating blood. They contend straightforwardly that you are still sustaining yourself by putting another living thing’s blood in your body. The fact that you are not doing this through the digestive system is mere semantic quibbling. When someone cannot eat due to illness or injury, we feed them intravenously, so how is this really any different? They reinforce this with analogies like that of a man whose doctor tells him to abstain from alcohol. Would it be okay for the man to stop drinking, but to inject alcohol directly into his veins? In this way they attempt to show that, behind the apparent differences, eating blood and receiving a blood transfusion are in fact variations of the same thing.
    Medically this is not at all the case. If you eat blood, you break it down into nutrients, which your body then uses. What makes it to your own bloodstream is not blood at all. It has been completely broken down like any other food. That is what eating something is. Jesus Himself speaks of eating in Mark 7:19 specifically and necessarily as “what goes into the stomach and is eliminated” (or literally, “passed out into the latrine”). A transfusion is quite different. The blood stays blood. It does not nourish you. It does what your blood does. It carries oxygen that your body receives from your lungs and nutrients that your body receives from food and takes them throughout your body, but the blood does not provide you anything from itself. In this way, it is different even from “feeding” through an IV, which puts simple nutrients straight into your blood to be carried about and used. Notice that even this kind of “feeding” is not actually food at all, but rather substitutes what food would normally provide for you. You could not liquefy chicken, spinach, or carrots and inject them into your veins. That would kill you. Food needs to be digested. That’s what it means to eat. Intravenous “feeding” is not really feeding at all, but a temporary substitute for feeding. How much less, then, can a blood transfusion be considered eating, which does not even so much as a substitute for eating at all! For all these reasons, medically speaking, eating blood, and transfusing blood are not remotely the same thing.
    They are not the same thing by intent either. The alcoholic in the Jehovah’s Witness’s example, who tries to get around his doctor’s orders by injecting alcohol into his veins, is attempting to accomplish the same thing as drinking alcohol. The patient receiving a blood transfusion, however, is not seeking a meal. He is not satisfying his hunger. The situation is completely different. Yes, you could say very generally that both are using blood to sustain their body, but this is far too vague to be meaningful. If I go to a doctor for surgery, his hands will literally enter my body to cure me of some ailment. I am using the doctor to sustain my body. That, however, does not make surgery the same as cannibalism. I did not eat the doctor’s hands, even though his hands entered my body to sustain me. The situation is simply not comparable.
    Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the Scriptures root the command in the sacredness of life, not in the sacredness of blood in its own right. Genesis 9 allows animals’ blood to be shed, but we must not eat the blood. We can only eat the meat. Human blood, however, must not be shed at all, all of this is because life is in the blood. Now, let’s return again to the idea of surgery. If a doctor cuts a man open, causing him to bleed, but does so out of true necessity to save his life, is this a violation of Genesis 9? Is this what it means to sin by shedding a man’s blood? Of course not! The issue here has to do with violence and slaughter. If I slaughter an animal to eat it, one can argue that the command is still in force saying that I must not eat its blood. This command, however, is certainly not saying that I cannot freely give some of my own blood, at no harm or injury to myself, to save another man’s life. Neither life suffers violence, but rather one life is saved at no harm to the other. If we were killing men and draining their blood to save others, that would be another matter, but the process of some living men freely giving of their own lifeblood so that other men can stay alive does not equate to violence, slaughter, or the desecration of life. If anything, it upholds the sacredness of life and honors the great value of the dying person who is made in the image of God.
    It is a noble thing to be willing to die rather than do evil; however, it is a tragic thing when false teaching and misrepresentation of Scripture causes lives to be needlessly lost. This is, unfortunately, the case with the Jehovah’s Witness doctrine on blood transfusions. Scripture, not to mention medical science and common sense, teaches us that eating blood and receiving a blood transfusion are not practically or morally equivalent; they are, in fact, opposite. It is a heavy thing to consider how those who have promoted this false teaching will have to give an account before a holy God of the lives it has needlessly cost if they do not repent.

  • tenyearsafter

    I agree with what Ron W. posted, which was very well said and succinct. JW's accept organ transplants with little or no issue. The reality is that a blood transfusion is an organ transplant...with all of the same risks as other organ transplants. Rejection and disease are possible in any transplant. If a JW had a heart or kidney transplant, it is almost certain that there will be residual blood transferred to the recipient during the procedure. A transfusion is no more a case of "eating" blood than a kidney transplant is cannibalism!

    If you are comfortable with the stem cell transplant, you should feel ok with a transfusion, even if it isn't the "right" fraction as prescribed by JW's. Hangover guilt hangs on, and I understand....old habits are hard to break!

  • Lee Marsh
    Lee Marsh

    When I was in university I took an Ethics course. One chapter in the textbook addressed Jehovah's Witnesses and the Blood Issue. I chose that to write my paper. At the time I was POMI.

    I went to McGill University's Medical Library which is huge. I looked up every article I could find that supported the JW belief in blood transfusions. There were a lot of them. And I got an A++ on the paper. My professor wanted me to get it published. I couldn't do it even though getting it published in a major medical journal would have been a real coup.

    It took me a few years and getting to POMO before I realized the problem with the paper.

    It was severely biased, one sided. No journal would have accepted it despite the mark I got from the professor.

    Good research requires that you look at BOTH sides of the issue. And I really didn't do that.

    So, why am I telling you this?

    Because the mountain of evidence that the WTS is wrong about the dangers of blood transfusions is completely false.

    Things happen which is why they ask you to sign a release. The Dr. will give you all the information you need and answer all your questions. Honestly.

    You can ask for no family to visit. That way they won't know what you are getting. Or depending on your relationship don't tell them anything. Just go get it done.

    But don't risk your life for a bunch of half-truths and out-right lies.

    Dangerous? Maybe. But so is crossing the street in some places. The medical profession does its very best to minimize the dangers.

    Save a life. Yours!

  • Lee Marsh
    Lee Marsh

    BTW. I just was told that I am clear of stage 4 colon cancer that had spread to my lungs.

    One year with no evidence of disease.

  • Ding

    Which is more important -- the symbol of life or life itself?

  • Ron.W.
    But don't risk your life for a bunch of half-truths and out-right lies.


  • Vanderhoven7

    The Bible says nothing about blood transfusions. And even if you are in the home of a pagan who cooks up things strangled, you need not ask questions of conscience. Even Jewish farmers under the law could eat animals found dead in their fields as long as they wash their clothes by evening. (Lev 11:39-40)

    39 “‘If an animal that you are allowed to eat dies, anyone who touches its carcass will be unclean till evening. 40 Anyone who eats some of its carcass must wash their clothes, and they will be unclean till evening. Anyone who picks up the carcass must wash their clothes, and they will be unclean till evening.

    (Lev 17:15-16)

    15 “‘Anyone, whether native-born or foreigner, who eats anything found dead or torn by wild animals must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be ceremonially unclean till evening; then they will be clean. 16 But if they do not wash their clothes and bathe themselves, they will be held responsible.’”

    The instructions in Acts 15 were designed to foster fellowship between Jews and Gentile converts.

  • Foolednomore

    Save yourself! Don't take what 8 Jackazzes who have no medical training make the decision for you. Care for yourself!

  • cofty

    Sorry to hear about your illness, I hope the treatment goes well.

    Please have a read at this post that shows why the organisation got it wrong about blood.

    Wishing you well.

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