The wife of a man who is critically ill in hospital has refused to let doctors give him a life-saving blood transfusion because he is a Jehovah’s Witness.
John Edwards, 57, suffered severe injuries when a motorist suspected of drink-driving knocked him over and medics have warned he could only have days to live if he does not have the transfusion.
But his wife Sheila said he has signed a form banning any blood transfusions in the event of an accident or illness, because their religion forbids it.
It is believed she is rejecting repeated pleas from doctors hoping to change her mind.
The couple’s sons, Jonathan, 36 and Tom, 29, do not share their beliefs and it was unclear last night whether they supported their mother’s decision.
A family source said: “Sheila is adamant that John must not have blood. She says giving him a transfusion would be like assaulting him, and he wouldn’t want to live knowing he had disobeyed his God.
“She is in a terrible state, constantly in tears at his bedside, but won’t give in to requests from anyone. Her sons are both with her but her position hasn’t budged.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse to have blood transfusions because of a passage in Acts 15 of the bible, which states: “Keep abstaining from blood.”
Those who accept blood transfusions are cast out of the faith.
Mr Edwards, a council worker, was walking near his home in Southall, west London, on Tuesday evening when the car ploughed into him at around 60mph, leaving him with several broken bones and internal bleeding.
A lodger staying with the family said: “John’s condition is very serious. There is a real question over whether he will pull through.
“There’s no doubt that non-Jehovah’s Witnesses would automatically have a blood transfusion in these circumstances.”
The lodger, also a Jehovah’s Witness, said the couple were devoted to the religion and are members of the Yeading Brook congregation which meets at the Northolt Kingdom Hall in west London.
She said: “John is a highly respected elder who gives talks to the congregation. He’s a really happy outgoing person. It makes this even more of a tragedy.”
We appreciate your support
Our website includes affiliate links, which means we get a small commission — at no additional cost to you — for each qualifying purpose. For instance, as an Amazon Associate Religion News Blog earns from qualifying purchases. That is one reason why we can provide this service free of charge.