Transfusion rules set for Jehovah's Witnesses

The Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan/March 1, 2008

Jehovah's Witnesses aged under 15 should be given blood transfusions if their lives are at risk--even if they or their parents object on religious grounds, according to new guidelines officially announced by a group of academic societies Thursday.

The group, headed by Fukushima Medical University Prof. Hitoshi Oto and comprising five associated academic societies including the Japan Society of Transfusion Medicine and Cell Therapy, also calls for the psychological needs of such patients to be taken into account.

Fearing that young Jehovah's Witnesses who receive transfusions against their faith and the will of their parents could become distressed, the committee has requested that medical institutions provide child psychologists to give specialist counseling to such patients after they are discharged from hospital.

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