Hospital allowed to give blood transfusion to Jehovah's Witness

Copyright 2024 The Irish Times All Rights Reserved
AODHAN O'FAOLAIN. (March 28, 2024 Thursday). Hospital allowed to give blood transfusion to Jehovah's Witness. The Irish Times.

The High Court has made orders allowing a hospital to give a blood transfusion, if necessary, to a member of the Jehovah s Witness faith.

The order was made yesterday by Mr Justice Tony O Connor who said he accepted the patient s life may be on the line and that he may require a blood transfusion.

The patient, a young man who cannot be identified for legal reasons, is currently in intensive care unit following a serious road traffic incident.

Those in charge of his care are hopeful he will recover, but at present the man is on a ventilator, receiving medication through a tube and unable to communicate.

The judge said he respected the man s religious beliefs but the court was satisfied that he currently lacks the capacity to make an informed decision about the medical care he is being provided.

The court noted that no Advance Care Directive, a document held by members of the Jehovah s Witness faith stating that they are not to be given any blood or blood products under any circumstances, had been provided to the hospital in relation to the man.

Donal McGuinness, for the hospital, said that for religious reasons the man s family were not prepared to consent to him being given any blood or blood products.

Mr McGuinness said the situation was complicated by the fact that following his admission to hospital, and once it was learned that he is a Jehovah s Witness, the man gave conflicting instructions about if he would accept a blood transfusion.

A further complicating issue was that the hospital had been told by the man s family that he had signed a document stating that he would refuse a blood transfusion in all circumstances due to his beliefs.

However, this document could not be located by the man s family.

The man s wife, while reaffirming their objections to blood transfusions on faith grounds, told the court that the family were not opposing the hospital s application.

The family thanked the hospital for the treatment it has provided for him to date.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.