Haemorrhage and transfusion: the peculiar case of Jehovah’s witnesses

Haemorrhage and transfusion: the peculiar case of Jehovah’s witnesses

Chassot PG, Kern C, Ravussin P.
Service d’anesthesiologie CHUV, 1011 Lausanne. pchassot@chuv.ch

For Jehovah Witness patients the additional responsibilities of surgeon, anesthetist and intensivist represent a particular challenge. A “therapeutic” contract needs to be established at the very outset specifying the commitment and undertaking of each party. The management of these patients requires that all the medical team demonstrate expertise in minimizing the risk of blood loss and in ensuring adequate oxygen transport to the tissues in the event of acute anaemia. The patient’s autonomy must be respected at all times, including the availability of colleagues who agree with patients’ demand. Above all, the entire medical team must respect the personal values of the patient despite any contradiction with their own values. This means that judgements based on values must be avoided in order to allow for the freedom of thought.


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