A sick baby whose mother is a Jehovah’s Witness should have a blood transfusion against her wishes, a judge has ruled. The High Court said it was in the best interests of the three-week-old boy, who could die without the procedure.
Mr Justice MacDonald told bosses at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board that doctors had the go-ahead for the urgent transfusion. He said even though his mother had not consented, the evidence showed that the boy was gravely ill and might die without medical intervention.
Justice MacDonald said the baby could not be identified but he did name the health authority involved. Jehovah’s Witnesses traditionally object to blood transfusions and treatment with blood products and say their attitude to blood stems from Biblical teaching.
The religion’s website says: ‘Both the Old and New Testaments clearly command us to abstain from blood. ‘God views blood as representing life. So we avoid taking blood not only in obedience to God but also out of respect for him as the giver of life.’
The website highlights a number of Biblical references, including passages in Genesis, Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Acts. Last week, the High Court ruled that a five-year-old girl could be given a blood transfusion against the wishes of her parents, both devout Jehovah’s Witnesses.
In that case, Mr Justice Hayden made the decision after bosses at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said the child could die or suffer a stroke.
The girl’s parents said while their religious beliefs would not allow them to consent to a transfusion, they did not object to the judge making the ruling. In that case the little girl was suffering from sickle cell disease, an inherited blood disorder.
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