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Blood Transfusion in Adult Jehovah's Witnesses: A Case Study of One Congregation

Blood Transfusion in Adult Jehovah's Witnesses: A Case Study of One Congregation Abstract • Jehovah's Witnesses, a religious group that prohibits certain types of medical treatment, eg, blood transfusions, tissue transplantations, and abortions, has 535,000 practicing members in the United States. We believe physicians should be informed of these beliefs to treat this large group of people properly. We studied one congregation's medical needs and beliefs in Denver by mailing a questionnaire to the 70 adult members. Their responses indicated that all of the members believe that accepting a blood transfusion is morally wrong. Seventeen members (29%) had refused a blood transfusion for themselves, and 27 members (46%) had had "bloodless" surgery performed on themselves or a family member. A majority of the congregation indicated they would consider suing a physician who would force them to receive a blood transfusion. Of the 43 members (73%) of the congregation who had regular physicians, eight members (19%) said their physicians were unaware of their refusal to accept blood products. The members of this congregation seek a physician who can respect their beliefs, understand bloodless surgical procedures, and vigorously treat every member within the limits of their religious beliefs. (Arch Intern Med 1982;142:606-607) References 1. Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses 1979 . Brooklyn, NY, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, 1979, pp 30-31. 2. Spencer JD: 'The Witnesses' could win. Leg Aspects Med Pract , (June) 1978, pp 45-49. 3. Schroeder OC: Treatment of juveniles without parental consent: A medicolegal dilemma. Prostgrad Med J 1974;55(No. (1) ):237-241. 4. Foley WJ, McGinn TJ: Jehovah's Witnesses and the question of blood transfusion. Postgrad Med J 1973;53(No. (4) ):109-113. 5. Holman EJ: Adult Jehovah's Witnesses and blood transfusion. JAMA 1972;219:273-274.Crossref 6. Winters RG, Dornette WH: Jehovah's Witnesses and consent. J Leg Med 1974;2(No. (2) ):9. 7. Ott D, Cooley D: Cardiovascular surgery in Jehovah's Witnesses: A report of 542 operations without blood transfusion. JAMA 1977;238:1256-1258.Crossref 8. Gardner B: Major surgery in Jehovah's Witnesses. NY State J Med 1976;76:765-767. 9. Byrne MP: Abdominal aortic aneurysm surgery in the Jehovah's Witnesses: Use of autotransfusions. Ill Med J 1976;150:87-90. 10. Sandiford FM: Aortocoronary bypass in Jehovah's Witnesses: Review of 46 patients. Am Surg 1976;42:17-22. 11. Roen PR: Extensive urologic surgery without blood transfusion. NY State J Med 1972;20:2524-2527. 12. Thomas GI, Edmark KW, Jones TW: Some issues involved with major surgery on Jehovah's Witnesses. Am Surg 1968;34:538-544. 13. Cleveland SE: Jehovah's Witnesses and human tissue donation. J Clin Psychol 1976;32:453-458.Crossref 14. Autotransfusion for surgery: A comeback? medical news. JAMA 1978;240:2710.Crossref http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Archives of Internal Medicine American Medical Association

Blood Transfusion in Adult Jehovah's Witnesses: A Case Study of One Congregation

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Publisher
American Medical Association
Copyright
Copyright © 1982 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved.
ISSN
0003-9926
eISSN
1538-3679
DOI
10.1001/archinte.1982.00340160186032
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract • Jehovah's Witnesses, a religious group that prohibits certain types of medical treatment, eg, blood transfusions, tissue transplantations, and abortions, has 535,000 practicing members in the United States. We believe physicians should be informed of these beliefs to treat this large group of people properly. We studied one congregation's medical needs and beliefs in Denver by mailing a questionnaire to the 70 adult members. Their responses indicated that all of the members believe that accepting a blood transfusion is morally wrong. Seventeen members (29%) had refused a blood transfusion for themselves, and 27 members (46%) had had "bloodless" surgery performed on themselves or a family member. A majority of the congregation indicated they would consider suing a physician who would force them to receive a blood transfusion. Of the 43 members (73%) of the congregation who had regular physicians, eight members (19%) said their physicians were unaware of their refusal to accept blood products. The members of this congregation seek a physician who can respect their beliefs, understand bloodless surgical procedures, and vigorously treat every member within the limits of their religious beliefs. (Arch Intern Med 1982;142:606-607) References 1. Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses 1979 . Brooklyn, NY, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, 1979, pp 30-31. 2. Spencer JD: 'The Witnesses' could win. Leg Aspects Med Pract , (June) 1978, pp 45-49. 3. Schroeder OC: Treatment of juveniles without parental consent: A medicolegal dilemma. Prostgrad Med J 1974;55(No. (1) ):237-241. 4. Foley WJ, McGinn TJ: Jehovah's Witnesses and the question of blood transfusion. Postgrad Med J 1973;53(No. (4) ):109-113. 5. Holman EJ: Adult Jehovah's Witnesses and blood transfusion. JAMA 1972;219:273-274.Crossref 6. Winters RG, Dornette WH: Jehovah's Witnesses and consent. J Leg Med 1974;2(No. (2) ):9. 7. Ott D, Cooley D: Cardiovascular surgery in Jehovah's Witnesses: A report of 542 operations without blood transfusion. JAMA 1977;238:1256-1258.Crossref 8. Gardner B: Major surgery in Jehovah's Witnesses. NY State J Med 1976;76:765-767. 9. Byrne MP: Abdominal aortic aneurysm surgery in the Jehovah's Witnesses: Use of autotransfusions. Ill Med J 1976;150:87-90. 10. Sandiford FM: Aortocoronary bypass in Jehovah's Witnesses: Review of 46 patients. Am Surg 1976;42:17-22. 11. Roen PR: Extensive urologic surgery without blood transfusion. NY State J Med 1972;20:2524-2527. 12. Thomas GI, Edmark KW, Jones TW: Some issues involved with major surgery on Jehovah's Witnesses. Am Surg 1968;34:538-544. 13. Cleveland SE: Jehovah's Witnesses and human tissue donation. J Clin Psychol 1976;32:453-458.Crossref 14. Autotransfusion for surgery: A comeback? medical news. JAMA 1978;240:2710.Crossref

Journal

Archives of Internal MedicineAmerican Medical Association

Published: Mar 1, 1982

References