Jehovah’s Witnesses deserve choice as a legal right says lawyer
A leading medical lawyer based at University College Cork says members of the Jehovah’s Witness faith should have the legal right to refuse blood transfusions if they so desire.
Dr Deirdre Madden told a meeting of the UCC Medical Society that while it is a controversial issue, the refusal of transfusions is a matter of faith for Witnesses, and deserves to be respected as their choice.
There have been a number of cases where court orders were sought to force seriously ill patients to accept a transfusion, and where a parents wishes were overruled, in the case of a child.
Deirdre Madden says if a patient has made it clear to doctors that they are not to be given certain treatment, then their wishes should be honoured no matter how sick or incapacitated they become.
Richard Parker, a member of the Jehovah`s Witnesses, says that the refusal of transfusions is one of their fundamental beliefs
based on what is written in the Bible.
It is not forbidden by their faith but is a matter of choice for the individual, he said
He told last night`s meeting that neither the medical profession nor the courts should be entitled to force him or any member of his family to accept a form of treatment which goes against that individual choice.