Judge sides with family in religious medical dispute

Quad City Times, Iowa/August 17, 2006
By Steve Martins

A judge granted temporary custody of a comatose Clinton woman to her father today after her family expressed concerns that her husband’s beliefs as a Jehovah’s Witness might interfere with her recovery.

“It’s like our prayers were answered,” said her grandfather, Richard Reid of Clinton.

Tawnya Nissen, 28, was taken to University Hospitals about two weeks ago after she had a reaction to diet pills she was taking, said Frank Santiago, attorney for her husband, Chris Nissen.

Tawnya Nissen’s family sought temporary custody of her last week after it became clear that her husband would not allow her to have a blood transfusion because Jehovah’s Witnesses believe the Bible forbids the practice. Tawnya Nissen is in a medically induced coma, and the court ruling grants temporary custody to her father, also named Richard Reid, until she recovers sufficiently to make her own medical decisions.

Santiago said Chris Nissen was disappointed by the court’s ruling, but had not indicated any desire to appeal. Santiago said he is focused on his wife’s recovery.

Although her grandfather said Tawnya Nissen was not a Jehovah’s Witness, Santiago said she was taking steps toward becoming a member of the church and had told her husband she would not want a blood transfusion.

“He’s been acting in accordance with her wishes,” Santiago said.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.