Calgary dad’s bid to sue church blocked
A Calgary man has suffered a major legal setback in his bid to sue the Jehovah’s Witness church and its lawyers over the death of his daughter, who fought against blood transfusions to treat her leukemia.
On Friday, Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Alan Macleod dismissed most of the claims in Lawrence Hughes’ wrongful death lawsuit, which alleged the defendants gave his teenage daughter, Bethany Hughes, misinformation about her medical treatment.
The judge ruled the majority of Hughes’ case, including allegations against lawyers Shane Brady and David Gnam and the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Canada, had little chance of success.
“I hope Mr. Hughes will reflect carefully on this whole thing and if he does (proceed with the case), I hope he gets a lawyer,” the judge said.
Bethany’s illness did more than claim her life – it also tore her family apart and bankrupted her father.
All members of the family had been Jehovah’s Witnesses for nearly 20 years and were opposed to receiving blood products when Bethany was diagnosed with leukemia in February 2002.
But Lawrence Hughes changed his mind after discussions with doctors and fought to have his daughter receive what he believed was the best medical care.
“There is no question that Bethany’s illness led Mr. Hughes to seriously question and ultimately reject the teaching of his and his family’s religion, and that he paid a high price for that moral and religious decision, including the shunning by the Jehovah Witness congregation and alienation from his wife and children,” Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Rosemary Nation wrote in her 2003 divorce settlement decision.
Lawrence Hughes testified during the trial he incurred more than $200,000 in legal fees and paid $20,000 of it out of his own pocket, pushing him into bankruptcy.
- Source: Michelle Lang, Calgary dad’s bid to sue church blocked, CanWest News Service, June 20, 2008
Lawrence Hughes has been back and forth to court – without a lawyer – in an attempt to hold the Tower Bible and Tract Society of Canada, its lawyers, its members and several health-care workers responsible for contributing to the death of 17-year-old Bethany Hughes in 2002.
Prescribed treatment included chemotherapy and transfusions, but in keeping with her faith, Bethany refused to accept blood products, a decision supported by her mother, Arliss Hughes, and her sisters.
However, Mr. Hughes, a former member of the religious sect, and the Alberta government argued successfully in several courts that the teen was not mature enough to make her own health-care decisions. She received 38 court-ordered blood transfusions, but when doctors dramatically reduced her prospect for recovery, a Provincial Court judge refused to extend provincial guardianship to force further treatment.
- Source: Dawn Walton, Wrongful-death suit dismissed, The Globe and Mail, June 20, 2008
While the Watchtower Society (the organization behind Jehovah’s Witnesses) claims to represent God, its leaders can not make up their minds about what He says.
They have come up with their own version of the Bible (necessary to support the organization’s unbiblical teachings), constantly go back and forth on a wide variety of issues, and keep getting their prophecies about the end of the world wrong. See these quotes — from their own publications — for documentation.
Here is the Watchtower’s history on the issue of blood. Many Jehovah’s Witnesses (or their kids) have died as a result of that nonsense. Would you trust your life — and that of your loved ones — to these quacks?
Jehovah’s Witnesses claim to be Christians, but since they deviate — in doctrine and in practice — from the essential doctrines of the Christian faith the organization is considered to be, theologically, a cult of Christianity. Sociologically it has cultic elements as well.
• See also: Lawrence Hughes: Save The Children