Jehovah's Witness mother dies after refusing blood

Not open for further replies.
oh man thats suck....I remebered in past on 20/20 that they said JW is a cult, not a regilion...who knows.

I can truly understand why this mother refused the blood transfusion since it was against her belief but what made me more sad is that she didn't get a chance to hold her twins and they will go on with their lives without their mother around :( ...
By Rich McGhee

What is a cult, and how is it different from a religious group? I will seek to answer this and discuss what the cults believe and what it is that motivates people to enter these groups.

What is it that makes people stay in cult groups and sometimes be willing even to die for their group? We think immediately about the Heaven's Gate cult and the 39 otherwise bright people who recently killed themselves so they could supposedly be transported to a UFO trailing the Hale-Bopp Comet. Or we think of David Koresh and the Branch Davidian cult near Waco, Texas in 1993, who barricaded themselves at their Mount Carmel headquarters and died in the flames. An even more dramatic memory is Jim Jones and his 911 followers, members of the People's Temple, who in 1978 committed mass suicide by drinking poison in Jonestown, Guyana.

First I will define the characteristics of a cult. Secondly I will present their methods, and thirdly I will look at their beliefs.
Characteristics of a Cult

A cult is not just a religion. The major religions of the world are not cults. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism are not cults. As a Christian, I have major differences with the other religions and I believe they have missed God's unique revelation of Himself in Jesus Christ, but they are not cults.

Some people say, "The only difference between a cult and a religion is a hundred years," but they blur a vast distinction between the two. There is a sizable body of literature on cults, so I will attempt to summarize the defining characteristics under four headings, using the acronym CULT:
C Cut off from the world. Cult leaders and followers are isolated and cut off from normal interaction with people outside the group. They do not have the corrective influence of other perspectives. They lose their ability, and their desire, to verify information the cult gives them. They become alienated from family and friends and have an unhealthy need to belong to the cult group.
U Undernourished--poor nutritional intake and sleep deprivation often characterizes cult members. They are near exhaustion and their resistance is low, so they can be easily manipulated, deceived, and exploited. Inadequate nutrition and sleep is disguised as a special practice or diet to improve health or advance spirituality.
L Leadership is authoritarian and coercive. The leader claims divinity or special knowledge and authority from God, and often uses deception and has hidden objectives. Unquestioning obedience is expected. This leads the cult follower into total dependence upon the cult for belief, behavior, and practice. He or she loses personal freedom and the ability to make choices.
T Theology or beliefs of a cult always involve some unique or new perspectives, and they claim that truth is only found in what the cult says. Cults often promote the "we/they" syndrome, which also keeps members dependent and loyal to the cult.

Obviously, these are generalizations and not every cult exhibits each of these characteristics at all times. And, the major religions of the world, including Christian churches, sometimes express some of these traits. Corporations even exhibit some of these traits! The difference is that the cults practice far more of these traits, and at a far greater intensity and frequency level, than do religions or other non-cult groups.

So, cults are characterized by (1) their methods, and (2) their beliefs. I will look first at these methods, which basically involve manipulation, and then look at their beliefs in more detail.
that is so sad to lose her life when she refused blood tranfusion. she should have them drawn her blood in case she lost blood ? duh at her... no offense.. sigh now the twins wont know their mother ... so sad.. :(
Exactly, it's salt water. Thank you for correction.

I thought you were meaning something else as in something alternative to blood that helps achieve the same outcome. Those solutions I mentioned, hemepure and polyheme are actually supposed to both expand the fluid volume of inside the blood vessels (the Saline will do this) AND also assist with delivery of oxygen and removal of CO2 to the cells (which normal red blood cells do with the hemoglobin).

Times where Saline or other fluids used at the hospital will not be sufficient is when the blood count is so low that physician is actually worried that not enough oxygen will be delivered to the tissues.
Okay, so let me get this straight....JW can not accept someone else's blood, but can reuse their OWN blood, right? If so, then this woman should have gone to a blood bank and had her own blood stored for the birth or even an unforeseeable emergency.

hohDougRN, I am assuming that since you are protective of this woman's religious preference, and you are from SLC, that you must be LDS? Only asking out of curiosity, not to bash you for your religion.

Yes Eve, I am LDS.
Also I am protective, because I have encountered situations like this in the hospital and though difficult, it is a must to be able to put aside your values and beliefs and be the PATIENT'S ADVOCATE for their values and beliefs. That is what matters most to the patient in their time of suffering and trials.
Let me get this straight:

PolyHeme and Hemopure are synthetic products.

It is horrible to accept a natural product (blood) into the body but acceptable to put unnatural product in the body?

I wonder what logic there is behind this within the J.W. and other holistic approach to medicine.

(I hope Doug does not mind my taxing his expertise in this matter.)


It is my interpretation from what I've learned from JW faith. Their interpretation of specific bible scripture to lead to them refusing transplant or allgenous (from other doners) blood products. As far as pharmaceuticals and other synthetics I've never had issues. We simply individualize the patient's plan of care. Say a patient has severe anemia, depending on the cause, severity, and patient's normal state of health, there are other methods used to help increase the blood cell count in the body. I'd say most of the time you can get around it without patient's life in danger, but to give a specific excample would be difficult because EVERY patient's case is different. But, yes like stated in the article, there are simply times where if they do not receive a transfusion for what ever blood product they are in need of, they will likely die. Then it is still up to patient.

As far as what I stated "there are other methods to get around the transfusion" note that these aren't as effective, and often to not restore the patient back to normal rapidly. That is why we have to evaluate every patient's total medical status, because there are many patients who over some time will simply be able to normalize blood volume and red blood cell counts. Some though just will not be able to compensate nor tolerate for the severe anemia because of other disease processees they have going on.
All of those who have a belief and choose to live by it, so long as that belief does not harm or interfere with others, deserve respect, no matter how hard it is to grant.

Those who choose to die by their beliefs, so long as that belief does not harm or interfere with others, also deserve respect, no matter how hard it is to grant.

I have people whom I love who are JW and it would be so hard to let them go because of a belief I do not share: but how do you dishonor the beliefs of someone you love and face them in the future?
What I don't understand is why did doctors not advise this family to
bank blood in case it is needed? Pregnancy is risky and doubly so
for twins. If I were a pastor in this church, when I married people
that would be my first premarital counseling. "These are our beliefs,
so here is how to stay within that belief system and keep yourself
safe." Why couldn't that be a part of the Premarital Counseling?:dunno2:
A doctor had said on t.v. that they (jw) won`t take blood but,:confused: they will eat meat?
Lake Tahoe

A man from Fla is not a JW got very angry suing the Hospital for Aids which he recieved a blood transfusion from someone, hes angry, very angry that he had wish he never got the blood transfusion from another human being, I hellva would not ever take blood transfusion from a human being, because of AIDS/HIV and Many nasty sexually transmitted diseased, NO THANKS! I'll go for water blood instead of a human's blood.:Ohno:

by the way I did reads article on a little girl who is one of JW had a heart transplant successfully survived without a blood transfusion, shes very much well alive today.

Another JW did take water blood instead of real human blood also still alive too.

Wonders why the mother didn't take the water blood instead, didn't she know about it, I have no ideas, would like to find out more about it.

Sad though! I wish JW changes their mind to save her/his lives but it is their belief so can't convince to have a blood transfusions. :(
Saline : salt & water solution - used to treat dehydration

Polyheme, et al. : saline with other products - used to "buy time" before blood transfusion

What Are the Risks of a Blood Transfusion?
There is a risk of catching a virus from a blood transfusion, but it's very low.

* HIV. Your risk of getting HIV from a blood transfusion is lower than your risk of getting killed by lightning. Only about 1 in 2 million donations may carry HIV and transmit HIV if given to a patient.
* Hepatitis B and C. The risk of having a donation that carries hepatitis B is about 1 in 205,000. The risk for hepatitis C is 1 in 2 million. If you receive blood during a transfusion that contains hepatitis, you will likely develop the virus.
* Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). Variant CJD is the human version of Mad Cow Disease. It's a very rare, yet fatal brain disorder. There is a possible risk of getting vCJD from a blood transfusion, although the risk is very low. Because of this, people who may have been exposed to vCJD aren't eligible blood donors. Go to the AABB Web site for more information about vCJD.

In the hospital, nurses/doctors have a protocol where there can override a parent's decision when a child's life is threatened. (I forget what it's called.)
It doesn't work on parents because adults are seen to be informed enough to commit suicide.

The same group that comdemns blood transfusions (because of it's "life" properties) is the same group that, for religion, rejects life.

This thinking sounds similar to those who wear bombs and walk into markets.
OK Im not an RN Im a former EMT and here's the protocols from the pre-hospital care side (though blood transfusion in the field NEVER happens)

If a child's life is endangered and the mother is not stable enough to be comprehensive then we write the mother as LOC on the PCR and triage from there giving priority to the child over the mother.

Polyheme is used in the field however for severe truama cases where blood loss is significant (IE - Momma's just been plowed over by a semi) and in the pre-hospital sector we're also seeing positive results, but when things are that bad we are going to call in for a bird and have them airlifted to the nearest truama center that can better handle the blood loss in a controlled enviroment vs. us ambulance guys out the in field where stuff changes moment from moment. We're just there to buy time for the fella til we get them to a hospital. Saves in the field are uncommon and theres a reason Medics brag about em' when they do happen.

But 9/10 times we are going to give NS to replace lost fluids during times of shock, load n' go. If its an MCI the medics are going to stay and play though.

I do know that Medics in Iraq are using polyheme quite often given the long response times to rescue there and the constant 'oh-shits' over there.

Doug if Ive omitted something from a lagging memory please correct where needed.
That happens often, even non-religious people can be imprisoned by false ideas that literally end their lives.
Growing up, my best friend and her family were JW's....they did not believe/celebrate Christmas and she was not allowed to wear makeup or even pants.....She was not a happy camper!

She's grown up now with a family of her own, has broken from the Church, and celebrates Christmas and wear what she wants to, even wears makeup. Her parents practically disowned her.
I think some religions simply make some rules to stand out from others. Or one person's passing thought in head. Silliness. As for kids care.....child abuse to deny them. Self-righteousness can be a bad thing.
Comon... don't bash them.

I know many that refuse transfusion that are turning them down for non-religious reasons-- usually in form of boycotting the Red Cross, or preventing from past errors from repeating again.

Not even sure why this article was "news-worthy" anyway.
The reason I will never ever allow myself or my children to have blood transfusions is:

Back in the 1980's before they tested for anything other than HIV/AIDS, my mother had to have a transfusion due to a massive blood loss due to an infection caused by issues in the hospital after a simple D&C. A few years later, during a routine physical for insurance through her employer, she was diagnosed with Hepatitis C. Here, almost 20 years later, mom is still somewhat okay, but we found lst year during a different medical crisis, she now has cirrohsis of the liver due to the Hep C she got from the transfusion. she is going through the beginning stages of dementia, going through liver failure and since the surgery to her leg a year ago, we still have to bandage little sores that pop up weekly. I have a full pharmacy of antibiotic creams, bandages and latex-free gloves all to take care of my mother. I have the red infectious disease bags for her bandages and have to take it to the doctor's office weekly to dispose of. All because of a simple 1 unit of blood from a transfusion. I will never subject my children to any possibility of this horror. They already have to help me at times with my mother.
Not open for further replies.