A Dublin, Ireland maternity hospital has secured court orders allowing it to perform, if required, an emergency blood transfusion on a child said to be at risk of being born prematurely to a woman who is a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses religious faith.
The High Court was told the child’s mother is about 26 weeks pregnant and recently presented to the Coombe maternity hospital with a spontaneous premature ruptured membrane.
Doctors at the hospital treating the woman, who cannot be identified by order of the court, say they cannot predict exactly when the child will be delivered but the likelihood of a premature birth is high.
If born prematurely, the child is likely to require a transfusion of blood or blood-related products in order to safeguard its life and prevent serious injury, the court was told. However, the parents had refused, for religious reasons, to give their consent to a transfusion should the need arise.
After hearing from both the hospital and the child’s father, Mr Justice Kevin Feeney said it was appropriate to make the orders allowing the treatment as the court had to consider the child’s safety.
Mr Justice Feeney, who made the order for medical treatment if the child requires it, said the evidence showed it was likely the child would require a blood transfusion to safeguard its life.
Eileen Barrington, for the hospital, said the longer the birth could be delayed the better the chance of a successful outcome.
She said the hospital fully respected the parents’ religious beliefs.
The child’s father, who was not legally represented, told the court that he and his wife could not consent to a blood transfusion as it was something “conscientiously objected to” by him and members of his faith.
In the past, Coombe Hospital has won a number of court orders regarding blood transfusion for Jehovah’s Witnesses or their offspring.
The Watch Tower Society, the organization Jehovah’s Witnesses serve, is considered to be theologically a cult of Christianity.
The organization’s teaching about blood transfusions are not Biblical, and have led to many unnecessary deaths. The Watch Tower Society itself has often flip-flopped on the issue, and the record shows the men making these determinations are clueless.
Research resources on Jehovah’s Witnesses