They believe to do so would be a sin, a sin serious enough that many Church members would rather die than receive blood transfusions. This issue has been very much on the LaClairs' minds because in May, the 43 year old Justine was about to have surgery. She had a tumor in her skull which had to be removed. For this type of surgery most hospitals might have required a blood transfusion, which was unacceptable to Justine—and to her husband Gary as well.
Nearly 20 years ago the Englewood Hospital began a bloodless surgery program. The policy grew out of the need of Jehovah's Witnesses, and now it has become the hospital's preferred method of surgery for all patients. Do you see this thing here?
- The Childrens Sermon: Moments with God.
- A Change in Time?
Steinberger, who performed Justine's surgery, has become a firm believer in Englewood's avoidance of blood transfusions. For him it's just good medicine. The science seemed very real. The literature seemed to support it and once we started doing the operations, the results were great. The risks of giving blood in many cases outweigh the benefits of giving blood. There are risks of infections, there are risks of lowering the immune response of the patient, there are risks of giving the wrong kind of blood, errors can occur and if there's any way to avoid getting a blood transfusion, one is better off in general if they can avoid it.
In any sense, do you feel the Jehovah's Witnesses have done medicine a service? The key to successful bloodless surgery is preparation. Sherri Ozawa directs the Hospital's Bloodless Surgery program. They don't have enough blood cells. Very simply, dealing with that ahead of time, helping to build those patients' blood up eliminates even the question of transfusion for many patients. We could perform even serious surgeries and even life threatening situations bloodlessly with much greater success than other people would have expected, even than we expected initially.
It's immensely expensive and if it's done for no good reason that is billions of dollars of waste in the healthcare system.
Not to buy it, to transfuse one unit of blood. When Englewood's program began in there were fewer than 10 hospitals offering programs for surgery without blood transfusions. Today there are about and many more are in development. There is more to successful bloodless surgery than preparation.
At Englewood they practice precision surgery with minimal blood loss, and if a patient loses blood and has agreed before hand, the surgeon uses a technology that recycles the patient's own blood. Still there is a resistance among surgeons to bloodless surgery. Steinberger and Sherri Ozawa simply blame tradition and habit.
The resistance is primarily behaviorally based. In , Jehovah's Witnesses were prohibited from obtaining transfusions for pets , from using fertilizer containing blood, and were even advised if their conscience troubled them to write to dog food manufacturers to verify that their products were blood-free. As to administering transfusions to non-members, The Watchtower stated that such a decision is "left to the Christian doctor's own conscience. In The Watchtower stated, "Each individual must decide" whether to accept hemodilution and autologous blood salvage cell saver procedures.
In , the Watch Tower Society's stand on blood fractions was clearly stated. In a later article, members were reminded that Jehovah's Witnesses do not donate blood or store their own blood prior to surgery.
In May , the Watch Tower Society revised its medical directives and identity cards addressing its doctrinal position on blood; the revised materials were distributed from May 3, The revised documents were active until December 20, Please destroy these items and make sure that they are not distributed to the publishers. Opposition to the Watch Tower doctrines on blood transfusions has come from both members and non-members. A group of dissident Witnesses known as Associated Jehovah's Witnesses for Reform on Blood AJWRB states that there is no biblical basis for the prohibition of blood transfusions and seeks to have some policies changed.
Dissident Witnesses say the Society's use of Leviticus He cites other authors  who support his view that the direction at Acts 15 to abstain from blood was intended not as an everlasting covenant but a means of maintaining a peaceful relationship between Jewish and Gentile Christians. He has described as "absurd literalism" the Witnesses' use of a scriptural prohibition on eating blood to prohibit the medical transfusion of human blood. Osamu Muramoto has argued that the refusal by Jehovah's Witnesses of "life-saving" blood treatment  creates serious bio-medical ethical issues.
He has criticized the "controlling intervention" of the Watch Tower Society by means of what he claims is information control and its policy of penalising members who accept blood transfusions or advocate freedom to choose blood-based treatment. A competent adult patient is free to decide However, for this freedom to be meaningful, patients must have the right to make choices that accord with their own views and values, regardless of how irrational, unwise or imprudent such choices may appear to others.
Muramoto has claimed the intervention of Hospital Liaison Committees can add to "organisational pressure" applied by family members, friends and congregation members on Witness patients to refuse blood-based treatment. He notes that while HLC members, who are church elders, "may give the patient 'moral support', the influence of their presence on the patient is known to be tremendous. Case reports reveal JW patients have changed their earlier decision to accept blood treatment after a visit from the elders.
He has advocated a policy in which the Watch Tower organization and congregation elders would not question patients on the details of their medical care and patients would not disclose such information. He says the Society adopted such a policy in regarding details of sexual activity between married couples. Watch Tower spokesman Donald T. Ridley says neither elders nor HLC members are instructed or encouraged to probe into the health care decisions of Witness patients and do not involve themselves in patient hospitalisations unless patients request their assistance.
He says loving God means obeying commandments, not disobeying them and hiding one's disobedience from others. Muramoto recommends doctors have a private meeting with patients to discuss their wishes, and that church elders and family members not be present, enabling patients to feel free of church pressure. He suggests doctors question patients on a whether they have considered that the Watch Tower Society might soon approve some medical practices they currently find objectionable, in the same manner that it has previously abandoned its opposition to vaccination and organ transplants; b whether Witness patients know which blood components are allowed and which are prohibited, and whether they acknowledge that those rulings are organizational policy rather than biblical teachings; and c whether they realize that although some Bible scriptures proscribe the eating of blood, eating and transfusing blood have entirely different effects on the body.
Muramoto has claimed many Watch Tower Society publications employ exaggeration and emotionalism to emphasize the dangers of transfusions and the advantages of alternative treatments, but present a distorted picture by failing to report any benefits of blood-based treatment. Nor do its publications acknowledge that in some situations, including rapid and massive haemorrhage , there are no alternatives to blood transfusions.
Cowan , an academic in the sociology of religion, has claimed that members of the Christian countercult movement who criticize the Watch Tower Society, make selective use of information themselves. For example, Christian apologist Richard Abanes wrote that their ban on blood transfusions, "has led to countless Witness deaths over the years, including many children.
Osamu Muramoto says the Watch Tower Society relies on discarded, centuries-old medical beliefs to support its assertion that blood transfusions are the same as eating blood. Would he be obedient if he quit drinking alcohol but had it put directly into his veins? Blood introduced directly into the veins circulates and functions as blood, not as nutrition.
Hence, blood transfusion is a form of cellular organ transplantation. David Malyon, chairman of the English Hospital Liaison Committee in Luton , England , has claimed that Muramoto's discussion of the differences between consuming blood and alcohol is pedantic and says blood laws in the Bible are based upon the reverence for life and its association with blood, and that laws should be kept in the spirit as much as in the letter.
Muramoto has described as peculiar and inconsistent the Watch Tower policy of acceptance of all the individual components of blood plasma as long as they are not taken at the same time. Kerry Louderback-Wood alleges that by labeling the currently acceptable blood fractions as "minute" in relation to whole blood, the Watch Tower organization causes followers to misunderstand the scope and extent of allowed fractions. Witnesses respond that the real issue is not of the fluid per se , but of respect and obedience to God.
As soon as blood is drained from an animal, the respect has been shown to God, and then a person can eat the meat even though it may contain a small amount of blood. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Kingdom Hall Gilead School. William Miller Henry Grew. Raymond Franz Olin Moyle. Supreme Court cases by country. Archived from the original on 3 November Moynes; Larry Martinello A study of the World's Great Faiths.
Bloodless Surgery | July 12, | Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly | PBS
Two elements of belief are probably better known than any other among non-Witnesses. One is the refusal to fight in war A proposal for a don't-ask-don't-tell policy". Journal of Medical Ethics. Archived from the original on Retrieved 11 May Because blood represents life. It represents the precious gift of life that each living soul possesses. This document specifically applies the term "transfusion" to a Jehovah's Witness patient having blood returned to their cardiovascular system after it was completely removed from their body.
Archived copy as title link , "Archived copy". Archived copy as title link , and  Archived at the Wayback Machine. Chapter Nine, The Emergency Exception: Retrieved 12 July Archived PDF from the original on Retrieved 13 July Archived from the original on March 6, A case study of one congregation". This article presents a consensual survey of one congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses where the congregation elders provided the names and addresses of members, and the elders knew precisely the nature of the survey. Of the 59, 7 stipulated they would accept plasma transfusion Table 1 on page This result compelled Findley and Redstone to comment, "there is either some lack of understanding or refusal to follow doctrine among some members".
Whether from misunderstanding or refusal to follow doctrine, at no point did Findley and Redstone question whether these responders had honestly expressed their personal conviction. Findley and Redstone also stipulated their methodology may have skewed the results towards official Jehovah's Witness doctrine. Local elders provided the names to be surveyed, and those surveyed knew local elders would see the results of the study.
The authors also admit that this study may not describe the beliefs of "less religious Jehovah's Witnesses". This review refutes the commonly held belief that all Jehovah's Witnesses refuse to accept blood or any of its products. In this population of pregnant women, the majority were willing to accept some form of blood or blood products.
LF stated that she was a Jehovah's Witness and asserted with an advanced [sic] directive that she did not want blood product support….