Death of Jehovah's Witness during childbirth prompts investigation

Quebec coroner will have to determine if Éloïse Dupuis refused blood transfusion before her death

CBC News/October 14, 2016

A coroner is investigating the death of a young Jehovah's Witness who died while giving birth at a Lévis hospital earlier this week.

Éloïse Dupuis, 27, required a blood transfusion during childbirth and died of a hemorrhage on Oct. 12 at Hôtel-Dieu de Lévis Hospital near Quebec City. The child survived and is in good health.

Quebec coroner Luc Malouin will look into the circumstances around her death and determine if there were any medical errors made.

Malouin will also have to find out if Dupuis refused to have a blood transfusion, a medical procedure that is banned by Jehovah's Witnesses, even when a life is at risk.

The law states that adult patients may refuse medical treatments if it appears the patient made an informed decision.

"I would like to to know if Éloïse consented to not having a blood transfusion, if she had the chance to express herself, if she had the opportunity to make an informed decision," Manon Boyer, Dupuis's aunt, told Radio-Canada.

A group of friends of Dupuis told Radio-Canada they plan to file a complaint with the Lévis police for criminal negligence.

"We don't know if she refused the blood transfusion," Cassandra Zelezen, a childhood friend of Dupuis, said.

She said they want to know if family prevented medical staff from providing a blood transfusion without the consent of Dupuis.

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