Leicester Mercury, Nov. 7, 2002
BY JENNIFER SYM
A devout Jehovah’s Witness died after she refused a blood transfusion which could have saved her life.
Norma Kissoon was so committed to her faith that, even as she lay seriously ill in Leicester Royal Infirmary, she and her family told doctors she could not accept the treatment.
Jehovah’s Witnesses interpret a section of the Bible as forbidding blood transfusions.
However, 68-year-old Mrs Kissoon, of Braunstone Town, desperately needed one after she suffered complications following a routine procedure to check for heart disease, an inquest in Leicester heard.
She had undergone an angiogram at Glenfield Hospital, which involved inserting a needle into her thigh.
The results showed no trace of heart disease, but the procedure had triggered internal bleeding and she was admitted to the LRI after feeling unwell at home.
Consultant Dr James Reid said a senior house officer spoke to her about a blood transfusion. He said: “We were aware she was a Jehovah’s Witness and he said without a blood transfusion there was a risk of death. She was clear she did not want it even it if was life-saving.
“I think it is more likely she would have survived had she allowed a blood transfusion or clotting agents to be given.
“The issue was discussed by four doctors and the surgical team.
“Throughout she was consistent in refusing it, even if this was putting her life at risk.”
The inquest heard Mrs Kissoon died on the operating table in the early hours of February 4 as doctors fought to save her.
A post-mortem examination found blood loss was the cause of death.
Consultant vascular surgeon Professor Peter Bell said in a statement: “A blood transfusion at almost any stage in this treatment would, on the balance of probabilities, have saved her life.
“Despite multiple attempts for the family or her to accept this, she would not.”
Deputy coroner Peter Ward recorded a verdict of misadventure.
A spokeswoman for the General Medical Council said: “Our guidance on consent means the fact that the lady was a competent adult entitles her to say no to any treatment.”
Mrs Kissoon’s husband, Frederick, attended the inquest but declined to comment afterwards.