Intravenous literature: Effa-Heap, G. (2009) Blood transfusion: implications of treating a Jehovahs Witness patient. British Journal of Nursing. 18(3), p.174-177.
Jehovahâ€™s Witnesses believe that an individuals life is contained within blood, and that accepting transfusion of blood and blood products is sinful. The administration of blood to a Jehovahs Witness who has refused to accept transfusion may lead to criminal or civil proceedings. From an ethical viewpoint, if a rational adult who has been fully apprised of the consequences of not receiving this treatment persists in a refusal, the decision should be respected. Medical and nursing staff faced with such a problem should explore fully with the patient any transfusion alternatives that the patient might find acceptable, such as cell salvage, volume expanders, antifibrinolytics and pharmaceutical options, such as erythropoietin. This article examines the legal and consent issues around blood transfusion in Jehovahâ€™s Witness patients and their implications for medical and surgical management.