VANCOUVER — The B.C. government seized three sextuplets last week, allowing doctors to give them blood transfusions against the wishes of their parents, the family’s lawyer says.
At the time, the parents didn’t want any details about their children released, however they did allow hospital officials to reveal that they are Jehovah’s Witnesses. Their religion does not permit blood transfusions.
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“The family is very upset that the government treated them in the way it did,” said Shane Brady, the lawyer for the family.
“It’s like a hit and run.”
Brady was appearing in B.C. Supreme Court on Wednesday challenging the seizure order, which came without a court hearing, when the government surprisingly withdrew the order.
Minister of Children and Families Tom Christensen refused to discuss the case specifically.
But he said doctors have an obligation to go to ministry authorities when they believe a child is in danger.
“It’s a significant event for the state to interfere with a family. We take our obligations very seriously,” Christensen said.
The first of the six babies were born Jan. 6 with the rest born Jan. 7. They were premature at 25 weeks and each was not much bigger than an outstretched hand.
Normally, babies are not born until 40 weeks.
Dr. Liz Whynot, president of B.C. Women’s Hospital, said at the time the babies were almost three months premature and were in fair condition after their births.
Doctors said babies born at that stage have an 80-per-cent chance of surviving to leave the hospital.
But doctors also said at the time that despite the strong odds, the sextuplets would face steep challenges.
The early delivery meant all the babies’ organs were immature, with underdeveloped lungs that required artificial ventilation, and problems with eating.
Underdeveloped immune systems made them more vulnerable to infection.