A.J.W.R.B Letter to Editor - Orange County

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  • waiting

    I had no idea that the blood issue was so complicated. I really could not begin to argue or explain this to a doctor. No wonder the Society made little cards for us and send a specially trained group to talk for us.

    Found this letter today --

    AJWRB - http://www.ajwrb.org

    One of our members, Rado Vleugel, emailed me this morning to alert me to
    an article that just appeared in the Orange County Register regarding a JW
    woman whose life was likely saved by a blood transfusion.
    (see: http://www.ocregister.com/community/blood00730cci.shtml)
    Someone in the story is lying and I won't speculate about which member of
    the family it might be. In any event, situations like this provide an
    important opportunity for us to focus attention on the issues. What now
    follows is a letter I wrote to the editor:

    The Associated Jehovah's Witnesses for Reform on Blood
    P.O. Box 190089
    Boise, ID 83719-0089 U.S.A.

    July 31, 2000

    Letters to the Editor
    The Orange County Register

    Re: Religion, Medicine Clash (July 30, 2000) by Mayrav Saar and William


    Situations involving Jehovah's Witnesses (JW) and blood have become
    incredibly complex in recent years for several reasons. The Watchtower
    Society (WTS), the controlling organization of Jehovah's Witnesses, first
    banned the use of blood transfusions and all blood products in 1961 with
    the penalty of enforced shunning (disfellowshiping) for any member who
    unrepentantly accepted blood or blood products.

    In recent decades the WTS has gradually permitted it's members to accept
    more and more blood products. The rules have become very complex and most
    members and practically all doctors are confused about which products may
    be used to treat their JW patients. For example a JW may accept all of the
    separate blood components of plasma (albumin, immunoglobulins, fibrinogen,
    clotting factors, etc) as long as they are not taken simultaneously.

    The June 15, 2000 Watchtower announced another major change in policy.
    JW's may now accept all blood fractions of platelets, red and white cells.
    The major impact is that JW's may now accept hemoglobin solutions
    (artificial blood) which are available in some medical centers that are
    participating in Phase III FDA testing of PolyHeme
    ( http://www.northfieldlabs.com/polyheme.htm). Hemoglobin is the protein in
    red cells that carries oxygen. Oxygen deprivation is frequently the
    complication that leads to the death of JW's in trauma situations. This
    policy change has the potential to save many lives.

    At present there are thousands of JW's at all levels of the religion who
    are opposed to the WTS blood policy. We believe that the biblical commands
    to not eat animal blood cannot be reasonably applied to the medical
    practice of transfusing blood, which is essentially an organ transplant,
    not a meal. Furthermore, the WTS policy of splitting blood up into
    acceptable and non-acceptable parts has no biblical basis but is simply an
    organizational opinion without any discernable basis in reason. To many of
    us it is evidence that the WTS has lost faith in its own policy by
    watering down their once firm stand against the use of blood. Still, we
    welcome these necessary reforms.

    Recently the WTS confirmed that JW's who accept forbidden blood components
    would no longer be disfellowshiped. See the AP story at our web site.
    ( http://ajwrb.org/newsmedia/news.shtml). The vast majority of JWs are
    unaware of this change since the WTS has made no mention of it in official
    church publications.

    Physicians and medical ethicists affiliated with AJWRB are now questioning
    the validity of the WTS advance directive (blood card) since a true
    "informed consent" may not exist. This puts emergency physicians in an
    incredibly difficult situation. Mrs. Ferriera's case is a good example of
    the dilemma some doctors face. See our report on the 1999 American College
    of Emergency Physicians conference ( http://ajwrb.org/acep/index.shtml).
    One can only hope that the WTS will move quickly to dispel the confusion
    since the lives of it's members are at stake.

    Best regards,

    Lee Elder, Director

    P.S. You will find extensive resources on this subject available at
    www.ajwrb.org. Additionally, you may email me at: [email protected]

    Edited by - waiting on 31 July 2000 22:49:48

  • compound complex
  • Abandoned

    Very succinct. Thanks for sharing.

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