JACKSONVILLE – A Duval County circuit judge ordered the parents of a premature baby to allow doctors to give him blood transfusions, though the couple’s religious beliefs prohibit such treatments.
The baby was born Saturday at Baptist Medical Center, three months early, weighing about 1 pound, 6 ounces. Though doctors believed blood transfusions would save his life, his parents refused to allow the procedure.
Deliah Floyd and Doward Carter are Jehovah’s Witnesses. One tenet of their faith prevents them from receiving certain treatments, including blood transfusions.
But when a parent’s decision to refuse treatment could endanger a child, the hospital notifies the State Attorney’s Office, said Cindy Hamilton, a spokeswoman for Baptist Health. Doctors then provide the court-authorized treatment, even if it goes against the parent’s wishes, she said.
The baby received two transfusions and was in critical but stable condition Tuesday in the neonatal intensive care unit at the Wolfson Children’s Hospital, said State Attorney Harry Shorstein, whose office sought the court order and coordinated an emergency hearing Saturday evening.
In a petition to the court, physician Sandra Suchomski said the baby’s condition was deteriorating, and without transfusions, he would die or suffer life-threatening ailments.
Floyd and Carter explained their objections, but declined to be at the hearing, said Shorstein. He said his office handles similar cases about twice a year.