Parents refuse possible transfusion for girl 4

Irish Times/November 26, 2008

The Jehovah's Witness parents of a 4-year-old girl who may need a blood transfusion are to be given the opportunity to address the High Court today after a hospital sought an order allowing it to give the child a transfusion if necessary.

The Dublin hospital made an emergency application to Ms Justice Mary Laffoy yesterday seeking the order after the parents refused to give consent for a transfusion.

The child, whose parents are from the Congo, was admitted to the hospital last Sunday after being transferred from a country hospital suffering from chest problems, fever, sharpness of breath and vomiting.

An X-ray revealed that fluid needed to be drained from her chest, a hospital doctor told the High Court. The doctor said that the procedure could involve potential loss of blood and even the possibility of bleeding to death, particularly as in this case the child's haemoglobin was low.

The girl's mother was told that a transfusion would be necessary in the case of bleeding.

The doctor told the court the mother then phoned her husband, who then spoke to the doctor telling him, "Don't transfuse under any circumstances."

The father said he would challenge it in the courts if the hospital tried to transfuse. The court heard the parents were put on notice that the hospital would be applying to the High Court for an order in relation to the child.

After hearing the procedure would not need to be carried out until today between 10am and midday, Ms Justice Laffoy said the parents should be put on notice that they could come to court before any order is made. She ordered the hospital to put the parents on formal notice of today's hearing.

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