Calgary – A man who waged a bitter battle to have his daughter receive a blood transfusion – against her wishes – is suing his former church bretheren and doctors at an Edmonton cancer centre.
Bethany Hughes died of leukemia two years ago, after making a public stand for her Jehovah’s Witness faith, which prohibits blood transfusions.Her father Lawrence broke with his church and his wife over treatment for the 16 year old. He fought a lengthy court battle, trying to have Bethany given blood, which she finally received after being made a temporary ward of the province.
Now he is suing his former wife, the Watchtower Society of Canada and doctors at the Cross Cancer Institute. In a statement of claim, Hughes alleges that Bethany’s mother and other Jehovah’s Witnesses misled his daughter about the merits of blood transfusions.
He claims they exerted undue influence by telling the teen she would be eternally damned if she agreed to the transfusions.
Hughes also says in his statement of claim that they moved Bethany to the Cross Cancer Institute, where she could be given an alternative treatment.
Bethany Hughes was moved to the Cross after being discharged from the Alberta Children’s Hospital in July 2002, where doctors said she was too ill to continue being treated with chemotherapy and transfusions. She died less than two months later, just after turning 17.
In his statement of claim, Lawrence Hughes says the Cross Cancer Institute gave her an alternate treatment without proper consent.
None of the statements in the claim have been proven in court. Those mentioned in the lawsuit – some of whom haven’t been served notice – weren’t prepared to comment.