Jehovah’s Witnesses and the issue of blood transfusion

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The Jehovah’s Witness Society is a Christian movement established in the 1870s. It has around 8 million members worldwide who believe that the Bible prohibits the transfusion of blood and its primary components. Some minor components of plasma and clotting factors may be acceptable to some members of the faith” Brydon (2019).

Abstract:

The Jehovah’s Witness Society is a Christian movement established in the 1870s. It has around 8 million members worldwide who believe that the Bible prohibits the transfusion of blood and its primary components. Some minor components of plasma and clotting factors may be acceptable to some members of the faith. Similarly, some will accept intraoperative cell salvage where their own blood from the surgical site can be aspirated and returned to them provided the blood remains within a closed circuit and is never stored. A competent adult may refuse or accept any treatment without giving a reason. These wishes must be respected and followed even if the patient’s life is at risk. Senior medical staff must be involved in the care of Jehovah’s Witnesses from the outset. They must employ any techniques which will optimize the patient’s haemoglobin and minimize blood loss. This ranges from iron and erythropoietin preoperatively and postoperatively, to careful patient positioning and choice of anaesthetic technique as well as meticulous haemostasis by surgeons. Alternatives to red blood cells remain elusive despite years of research. Following significant blood loss any patient who refuses a blood transfusion is likely to require critical care, possibly for a prolonged period.

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Reference:

Brydon, C. (2019) Jehovah’s Witnesses. Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine. February 21st. .

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mpaic.2019.01.002

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