vidiot: I often wondered, "shouldn't the Biblical injunction itself be enough? Why go to all that extra effort?"
Now I know why they did it.
In part. Things get waaaay more complicated than that. We are just getting started.
For an idea of what challenges in the courts were taking place in the States in the years leading up to the early 60s, this is a webpage with a lot of court cases listed (I ignore the commentary). This page just deals with the cases concerning minors:
So there is the legal aspect. That's complicated. But you can see how a 'scientific' view would be beneficial in trying to force the courts to allow babies and children to die.
WonderofYou: I am curious about the coming info about HLC. Are there HLC's in each cirlce, each country, each continent or only one worldwide? Are their HLC conventions each year. How do they update? What is their job in contrast to the physicians, the anaesthelogoist? Only talking about what the physicians already knows anyway? Translating jargon to non-expert patient? Producting - excuse me - "guinea pigs"?
All good questions. It's complicated. This will take a long time. The HLC has evolved and changed forms - from its "humble beginnings" to its present day status is quite the journey.
The Seeber/Shander duo present the formation of the HLC in simplistic terms:
In the early 1960s,
representatives of Jehovah’ s Witnesses started visiting
physicians to explain the reasons why transfusions were
refused by the Witness population. They often offered
literature that dealt with techniques that were acceptable
to Witness patients, informing physicians of the availability
of so - called transfusion alternatives. In 1979 the governing
body of the Jehovah’ s Witnesses announced the
formation of Hospital Liaison Committees (see Chapter
Chapter 20 is the one on Law and Ethics. And the one that defined the founding principle of blood management as "holy scripture". The current day HLC is described in more detail.
For now, I want to deal with that big gap - the one that leaps from the early '60s to 1979. It is very likely that Dr. Cooley's efforts resulted in networking among the Jehovah's Witnesses. That would account for the date that Seeber/Shander give as the 60s.
This practice of sharing information and networking moved across the border in the early 70s. James Penton, in his third edition of Apocalypse Delayed, speaks of the early "hospital committees" that were formed in Canada:
...In the early 70s a number of leading Canadian Witnesses (including Watch Tower officials at the Canadian branch) had organized "hospital committees" to act as chaplains for Witnesses in hospitals, nursing homes, and senior citizens' homes. Among other things, they were interested in developing contacts with doctors and hospitals so that Witness patients would not have to face the possibility of being forced to accept blood transfusions, a procedure which the society had long taught to be scripturally unacceptable to Jehovah's Witnesses. *
*note to the above:
*At the time of the establishment of the hospital committees, a number of large meetings were held in Toronto at which numerous prominent Canadian Witnesses were present. As a result of the "hospital work", three books containing photocopied articles from medical journals and the popular press were produced and bound at the society's Toronto branch. These were Jehovah's Witnesses - Alternatives to Blood Transfusions in Adults, Jehovah's Witnesses - Alternatives to Blood Transfusions in Minors, and Jehovah's Witnesses - Alternatives to Blood Transfusions. Most of the material in them was compiled by Alex Trost, a former Watchtower missionary and chemist from Hamilton, Ontario. Interestingly, in preparing these books, no attention was paid to copyright laws.
One of these volumes is now available for download:https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4oXVPm4nrmfcGVHako0OVZuSUU/view
This volume contains a variety of material - an introduction by Dr. Dixon, the WT doctor, which contains a subtle threat that if doctors chose not to let JWs refuse blood for themselves and their children, that they will face court action. And an article by Dr. Kevorkian in support of child sacrifice.And a bunch of newspaper clippings and medical studies. And WT publications.
In a short time, the idea of establishing such committees spread from Toronto to a number of Canadian cities, and "hospital" or "blood committees", as they were called, were generally very popular with local Witnesses. For the first time since the 1920s, certain Witness elders began to comfort the dying, encourage the convalescing, and show regular attention to their brothers except when pressing them to proselytize or disciplining them for some infraction of organizational law.**
** Committees were established in a number of communities in both eastern and western Canada. I was personally involved in helping organize one of these hospital committees which for a time was very active and effective.
I can attest to how effective those hospital committees were.
They worked like a well oiled machine by 1974 in Western Canada. Well oiled and well prepared with full hospital cooperation. So well oiled that the JW hospital machine didn't even stop long enough to do what James Penton probably did - visit the patient. I could see Penton being a caring person and actually visiting the patient and give comfort to the mother.
The hospital committee in a certain city in Canada offered ZERO comfort. They offered NO spiritual guidance. None. Their focus was one thing and one thing only - get that baby in the operating room and don't use blood on him. And don't ever, ever, let that mother of the baby in the room when the forms are signed. And don't bother even looking at that baby. Or the mother of the baby. That is how well those hospital committees worked. At least, it worked that way in the hospital I delivered my baby at. Their "visiting' and "chaplaincy"?...eh...not so much. In fact, none.
The head offices of the society in Brooklyn soon put a stop to the hospital committees. ***
***A letter from the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, Canadian Branch, 150 Bridgeland Ave., Toronto, Ontario, to William D. Johnson, 2726-25 Ave., Vancouver, BC, dated 4 October 1974 quotes extensively from a letter sent to the Canadian branch from the society's Brooklyn office. One quotation from that letter states: "We have not encouraged the elders in general or any committee of elders in a particular city to visit all the hospitals as if they are the representatives and spokesmen for all of Jehovah's Witnesses in that city. When it comes to medical treatment, they definitely are not".
Penton explains reasons given for Brooklyn not supporting the hospital committees and the reactions:
Some elders throughout Canada had complained about them for several reasons. For one thing, they had been developed by individual Witnesses in Toronto without express sanction from Brooklyn. Second, many of the elders involved on the committees began to become prominent with ordinary Witnesses, something which evoked both concern and some jealousy on the part of a number of their peers. And most important from the standpoint of those devoted primarily to the preaching work, if certain elders were spending so much time in "hospital work", it was asked how they could take the lead in field service.Surprisingly, the Governing Body, in abolishing the Canadian hospital committees, argued that they tended to violate private and family medical rights and could come between the individual patient and his doctor. In addition, Brooklyn held that there should be no special committee chosen by local bodies of elders for special tasks without the society's consent. If shepherding or chaplaincy work was to be done, it would have to be carried on by all elders on an unorganized basis.The society's Canadian branch seemed somewhat embarrassed, and in a few places the hospital committees continued to operate in spite of the Governing Body's dictum. ****
**** this was especially so in the Toronto area
*sorry...I hit the post button accidentally...more coming. Long quote from Penton..this could take a while