Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Judge forces Jehova's Witness parents to allow blood transfusion for 4 year old daughter

Posted by on Jun. 1, 2012 at 1:32 PM
  • 210 Replies
2 moms liked this

DOCTORS made an urgent plea to the Supreme Court yesterday to help save the life of a Jehovah's Witness girl dying of leukaemia.

Justice Richard White ordered the girl, 4, receive treatment, including a blood transfusion to which her parents had objected on religious grounds.

Paediatric oncologist Dr Petra Ritchie, right, said without treatment the girl "will die . . . I would say in weeks".

Dr Ritchie said that the girl, who was diagnosed with cancer of the blood and bone marrow on Monday, had a 90 per cent chance of survival if she received treatment immediately.

Doctors had this week advised she needed a potentially life-saving blood transfusion but her parents objected on religious grounds.

The parents' opposition prompted the hospital to petition the court saying that, without treatment, the girl would die in a matter of weeks.

In emotional scenes yesterday, the girls' father wept as he spoke of his love for his daughter.

But he explained that his family's faith prohibited blood transfusions. "We adhere to strict Bible principles and one of those is to abstain from blood," he said.

"We want the best possible treatment for (her) and the hospital are doing a great job. The only thing we don't consent to is the issue of blood."

The hearing came almost two years after the court made a legal-first ruling to save a boy, 10.

Yesterday Justice White - who also heard the boy's case - said that treatment was in the girl's best interests.

"Without a blood transfusion, there is a very high prospect that (she) will die," he said.

The father told the court that his daughter's illness became known to them about six weeks ago when she reported a sore leg and recorded a temperature.

However, doctors told the family it was a virus and it was not until they took her to hospital on Monday that a diagnosis of leukaemia was formed.

She said the girl was at risk of organ damage to her heart, brain and kidney. Even if the girl survived the leukaemia without a blood transfusion, Dr Ritchie said she could suffer learning difficulties and subtle cognitive and kidney damage.

Todd Golding, for the Woman's and Children's Health Network Inc, said Justice White should interpret the law the way he did in the 2010 case.

"The court is to act in what are the best interests of the child.

"The situation factually, as is clear from the evidence, (the girl) has leukaemia from which she will almost certainly die.

"It is in the submission of the plaintiff that she receive a blood transfusion as soon as possible," he said.

Ken Gluche, for the girl's parents, said his clients "deeply love their child".

"It's not like they are acting with callous disregard for her wellbeing or her future," he said.

"Clearly it's their genuine beliefs, it's something that they've been convinced to accept by anyone else, by the church or other believers."

Robert Croser, for the child, said he had not formally interviewed his client because of her inability to appropriately instruct him. "Nobody on either side of the case wants (the girl) to die," he said.

"Neither (the father) nor his wife and the wider Jehovah's Witness church would treat (the girl) any differently if the court orders she have the blood transfusion."

Justice White handed down his decision immediately.

"I'm satisfied that this is a matter that should be determined urgently because (the girl) suffers from leukaemia and that requires urgent treatment," he said. "I'm satisfied that it is appropriate and indeed necessary for (the girl) to receive a blood transfusion.

"I'm satisfied that there are no alternatives to the provision of a blood transfusion. I'm satisfied that it's in (the girl's) best interest to received the blood transfusion despite her parents' objections.

"Without a blood transfusion there's a very high prospect (the girl) will die and that the provision of a blood transfusion would reduce that prospect markedly," he said.

Read more:


Good!  I agree with the judge's judgement.  Religion shouldn't play a role in whether your child lives or dies.  If you can't see past your religious beliefs to do what's best for your child, you shouldn't be having children.

by on Jun. 1, 2012 at 1:32 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
by on Jun. 1, 2012 at 1:33 PM
16 moms liked this
While I don't agree with the parents should be their choice. A court of law forcing medical treatment is over the line in my opinion.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
by Silver Member on Jun. 1, 2012 at 1:34 PM

 I know a JW and the rules she believes in state that exceptions can be made.

by Brian's Lil Vixen on Jun. 1, 2012 at 1:36 PM
2 moms liked this

What an awful predicament to be in. 

by on Jun. 1, 2012 at 1:37 PM
3 moms liked this
I agree with the judge.
by on Jun. 1, 2012 at 1:37 PM
1 mom liked this
I know all of the medical training ive went though we are told over and over that we should respect peoples religious observances and beliefs. While i hate to see a child go untreated, i do feel boundaries where crossed.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
by on Jun. 1, 2012 at 1:38 PM
20 moms liked this

 My mother was a Jehovahs Witness and died because she refused a life saving blood transfusion. That is a dangerous religion from my own personal experience. I'm glad the judge made the right decision for that little girl.

by on Jun. 1, 2012 at 1:39 PM
1 mom liked this
I'm glad the judge ordered that.

My sisters ex is a JW and he really thinks that their dd will never receive one, while my sister is not a JW and insists that she will if needed. I hope it never comes down to that.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
by on Jun. 1, 2012 at 1:41 PM
25 moms liked this

I do agree that religious beliefs should be respected, and if it were the parents refusing a transfusion for themselves, that would be one thing. But I don't think its fair for the little girl to die based on something she (when she's older and capable of making the choice) may or may not follow. 

by on Jun. 1, 2012 at 1:42 PM
I can't even fathom a parent making the choice to not do whatever they could to save their child. It's beyond my comprehension to just let your child die.

I understand the doctors stance... Because I'm ignorant to this I wonder if there was any other options? I'd like to assume that everyone involved explored all options before going to court.

But, forcing procedures doesn't sit well with me. Idk.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
by Ruby Member on Jun. 1, 2012 at 1:42 PM

I understand beliefs and religious choices.  I just have a hard time dealing with a child dying because of those preferences.  While I think the government needs to stay out of our beliefs and freedom to believe as we wish, I have a hard time when that belief can cause a child his or her life.  I believe in the power of healing, but I would not deny my child medical treatment because of that belief.  I have mixed feelings because not forcing it, could have cost that child her life. However, there is no way to know for sure what would have happened.  Again, I have mixed feelings but this is a child who can't make a choice for herself. Her parents decision could have cost her more than they could imagine.  Yet standing up for your beliefs is a right we should all have. However, their choice over her life or death is there choice not the child's. IF she were old enough, what would she have chosen?  This is a catch 22, with no clear cut answers.

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)