I'm curious of your opinion - page 4

On another board a group of people are discussing a case. It's about a 25 week premature baby needing a blood transfusion. The family refused the blood transfusion. The court's interceded and... Read More

  1. by   JW-HLC
    Your comments in refering to JW parents as"religious zealots" ... "bent on martyrdom for their child" are as incorrect as they are offensive. You do an injustice to every Witness who has ever had to go through the trauma of having a child in hospital. You are just so very wrong, but I suspect you will never be convinced of that, let alone in the matter of blood.

    Sadly there are still some people who think that those in the medical profession believe that they are "God" - comments like yours will do nothing to help them see that todays professional medical service has come a long way from that situation.
  2. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    Why not refer to jw parents that are willing to take risk against medical advice as a function of their faith in works as religiouse zealots? Doesn't that indicate a certain "fanaticism" about their beliefs? If not, what are we talking about? If they were'nt zealous then we would'nt be discussing it.
    But wouldn't the baby die a martyr with the parents as proxy?
    QUOTE
    Websters New World Dictionary:
    Martyr:One who choses to suffer or die for ones faith or principles.
    END QUOTE

    I think that's clear.
    Not now, nor ever was I talking about a patient with a good prognosis. I'm talking about a patient that is dying.




    If your argument is that somehow jw parents are more wise than medical science, then I don't get it.
    Just because you have a dilemma with blood does'nt mean that I must exclude it. I should listen to your concerns and blend them with medical fact.
    So you would have me give your wishes precedence even though In a certain situation it's not the treatment of choice?


    I want a yes or no.

    DO YOU THINK I SHOULD TAKE YOUR DIRECTIONS FOR TEATMENT TO PRECLUDE MY MEDICAL TRAINING DISREGARDING WHAT I SEE AS LIFE THREATENING INACTION?
  3. by   RNKitty
    I have been reading these posts with interest.

    Healing Touch: I still do not believe that we should carry out a procedure if it is against the wishes of the patient. An adult has the RIGHT to informed consent and we MUST respect their decision, even if we personally would make a different choice. Proceeding without their consent constitutes assualt and battery.

    Peeps: In regards to children, I would still hesitate greatly before saying "screw it" to the parents beliefs. I do not believe I know everything there is to know in the world, and I do not think you do either. YOU COULD BE WRONG. It is one thing if a crack mom shows disinterest in a child. Quite a different situation where parents are actively involved and have carefully thought about their decisions. The government has not yet taken away all rights of the parents, and I hope it never will. I would not want to live in a state where some well-meaning government official decides what my child will be taught in school, what drugs he will be injected with as a child, what beliefs he should hold.

    JW-HLC: Thank you for respectfully informing us about the views of JW's in regards to blood transfusions and hospital policy.
  4. by   JW-HLC
    I will point you to the comments of one of your peers - "RNKitty":

    "Peeps: In regards to children, I would still hesitate greatly before saying "screw it" to the parents beliefs. I do not believe I know everything there is to know in the world, and I do not think you do either. YOU COULD BE WRONG. It is one thing if a crack mom shows disinterest in a child. Quite a different situation where parents are actively involved and have carefully thought about their decisions. The government has not yet taken away all rights of the parents, and I hope it never will. I would not want to live in a state where some well-meaning government official decides what my child will be taught in school, what drugs he will be injected with as a child, what beliefs he should hold.

    PS...
    The wisdom of "Medical science" has in the past taught patients to drink blood and to practice blood-letting (remember the death of England's King Charles II)!
    In modern times medical science has been unaware of the transmission of prions via blood, of the dangers of using haemophiliac preparations. It has failed to note that the transfusion of blood damages the immune system and causes much greater recurrence rates for cancer patients. Medical science has managed to test for hepatitis A B & C but at the moment (as far as medical science knows) we are up to hepatitis G! - I could go on.
    If you wish me to put my trust in the wisdom of medical science then come back to me when you can demonstrate its infallable wisdom.
    That having been said the position of Jehovah's Witnesses is a scriptural one, not a medical one. It just so happens that adherence to Gods law concerning blood is being revealed through the course of time to be the wise course medically as well, (that is why so many doctors advocate bloodless treatment). Not surprising really since our Creator ought to know more than anyone of us how best to care for the created body.
    Do I obey you or God - no contest.
  5. by   fergus51
    That religious zealots thing was a little extreme don't you think Peeps? Religious zealots are always someone who thinks differently from us. As long as we want to be a country with religious freedoms this issue will go on, and no matter what side of the argument you're on we should have respect for one another. I don't believe any JW parent wants their children to become martyrs. I think they need the same compassion you'd show any other parent even if you feel the need to get a court order to disregard their wishes.

    I think the problem is that we as nurses are concerned primarily about the medical outcome, wheras the parents are also concerned with their child's spiritual "health".
  6. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    JW,
    Your comments are very interesting, but have yet to comment on the body of my analogies or answer in a sincere way my questions. We clearly both have issues of faith.
    It's true there is still "quackery" in medical science as well as religion. At least medical science uses fact and the best method until another comes along to disprove it. It can be "peer reviewed" and discarded as invalid. In religion you have foundations of doctrine that someone has interpreted for you just as data from medical studies are interpreted. In religion there's no turning back from the false prophets. Either you accept everything they say as being the word of God or you accept none of it. There are many different "bibles" as there are many different interpretations of those different "bibles". Religion spends it's time dancing around the "yes" or "no" questions with the skill of a student trying to "B.S." a term paper, much like you have.
    Then it occured to me.
    You must see this as your education of some poor heathen that does'nt know any better. Some heartless atheistic statistician with a pocket protector that's never read The Bible. You've avoided direct commentary with me, but you make statements as if you believe you are directly commenting. That's a shame, because I think your more intelligent than your vague statements let on. You have likely spent less time reading and studying the Bible, as I know it, than I have science as you know it! It also would seem to me that we each gave up those studies long enough ago to think the other person has no faith.
    "without faith, works are dead" (the apostle Paul). We each seem to believe the others "works" are dead.
    I was involved years ago in a church that was actively evangelical.
    I studied scripture to the point of understanding its Hebrew meanings and did "outreach" involving door-to-door invitation to a sort of variety show we did on the weekends as well as the classic "street preaching". My theological ideals are based in fundalmentalism with a leaning towards pentacostal but Pentacostal is a little "busy" for me.(Fergus it takes a zealot to know one)
    Just as you do now, I took some issues on faith. Faith that what the pastor was saying was the correct interpretation and the Word of God.
    A great example of interpretation would be the fact that those that owned T.V.'s and listened to "worldly" music were not considered "active" christians. Much like JW's that used blood that you mentioned, these folks were'nt considered as adhering to the Word. Those types of entertainment were'nt specifically excluded, they were open to interpretation. Quite literally every single mark in the bible if you go to the original Hebrew, from which King James got his inspiration, is open to some discussion.

    Science, asks that a question(hypothesis) be proven. The process of science does'nt have any faith at all because it's driven by the fact that its beliefs are dynamic. Valid only until a better hypothesis supercedes it. By your process faith can make ANY statement true and static, which is by no means a responsible way to treat any illness.

    At least with all the comments we've made to eachother we've been honest about our feelings. I don't know if you've noticed but there seem to be plenty of people on this board that are "scambling for the first stone" so to speak(ref:stoning of the adulteress) appearing without the sin of thier true feelings for fear of public shunning. Waiting for someone elses opinnion to ride the rough waters of peer review before carefuly making theirs.
    Although I don't always seem grateful of your opinnion I actualy am. At least it's honest.
    Brad
    Last edit by Peeps Mcarthur on Jan 17, '02
  7. by   JW-HLC
    "Your comments are very interesting, but have yet to comment on the body of my analogies or answer in a sincere way my questions."

    My answers to you have not been in the least insincere, I have answered you, but my answers do not please you and now you talk about there being many bibles and "false prophets" as if JW's do not have a mind of their own and follow like lemmings after some cult figure! Nothing could be further from the truth.
    What interpretation is necessary in the following at Acts 15:29 (just one of many bible references to not abusing blood):-

    "you are to abstain from ... blood" Jerusalem Bible
    "that ye abstain from ... blood" King James
    "abstain from ... blood" New American Standard
    "you are to abstain from ... blood" New International

    I do not see anything here that involves "dancing around the yes or no", for a christian, what does it mean to abstain from blood? If you went to a doctor and he said you had to abstain from alcohol, how would you interpret that? Would you assume that you should not go to the pub but an i/v drip at home would be ok? The issue here is a clear "no", a christian following that command cannot agree to the taking in of blood.

    "You've avoided direct commentary with me"
    I don't know how you can say that when it was me who responded directly to your posting and since that I have headed each posting directly to you! I only allowed someone else to partially respond when I believed your posting to be offensive.

    "without faith, works are dead" (the apostle Paul)."
    I do not recall Paul making any such statement but James at James 2:20 says "faith without works is dead"; ("It also would seem to me that we each gave up those studies long enough ago to think the other person has no faith - it certainly appears as though one of us gave up his bible studies ; however for me Bible study is a daily feature of my life as is the case for most JW's!

    James here says "Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did ..... and he was called God's friend". (James 2:21-23 New International). In other words Abraham didn't just talk about faith, he did something about it and he came to be called Gods "friend".

    "Quite literally every single mark in the bible if you go to the original Hebrew, from which King James got his inspiration, is open to some discussion"

    If by "discussion" you mean "interpretation" I cannot go along with such a broad statement. It is true that there are prophecies that need explanation e.g. Daniel, Revelation, (although most are interpreted through the bible itself) and there may be some other aspects that need some figuring out but I do not see this applying to the matter of blood.
    The bible contains a number of commands, things not to do - no argument, no debate, eg:-
    (Exodus 20 - the 10 commandments)
    Do not murder.
    Do not commit adultery.
    Do not steal, etc.
    (1 Corinthians 10:14)
    Flee from idolatry

    and of course ... Abstain from blood. (Acts 15:29)

    These (and many more) are all non-negotiable commands from God, you either believe it or you don't, no "prophet" needed, no "interpretation" or "dancing around yes and no".

    Some other things may require us to think a little, for example
    2 Corinthians 7:1 "let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit...". Now the Bible does not address tobacco smoking, how could it, tobacco was not discovered in Bible times, but how would a christian view smoking in view of that statement? Thinking about 'contaminating the body' would surely make one think "Is this acceptable to God?"

    In respect to worldly music and tv, some take an extreme view, for JW's it is different, I enjoy music and some tv but christians should avoid that which God condemns eg things involving "fornication, filthiness, uncleanness, covetousness" etc (Ephesians 5:3). If we are making our minds over to God we will want to avoid those things anyway.

    I believe God to be the greatest scientist of all, He who formed the earth, made man and the animal and plant life, set the planets in orbit and provided the water cycle does not need lessons in science from puny man.

    "By your process faith can make ANY statement true and static, which is by no means a responsible way to treat any illness"
    My faith cannot make ANY statement alone, the statements I have made I have backed up with scripture, authored by the greatest scientist ever, who knows more about the human body than any man or woman, and who requires a certain course of life from those who would serve Him.
    I'm glad you believe my opinion; to be honest, I've spent nearly 30 years with it, but in truth it's not mine, it belongs to Him who gave it to me.

    Now for a couple of questions for you!
    Your original post and subsequent comments were based on the desire to save a young life despite the wishes of the parents - "screw the parents" were your words. Let me give you another couple of scenarios and test just how firm your resolve to save life is, taking all religious references away:-

    1)
    A married woman comes to you because she does not want her 24 week foetus to be born, it is the product of adultery, her husband does not know of it because he is away from home and having it will disrupt her family life. You do not know her religious beliefs - do you kill the unborn child?

    2)
    A couple come to you because the woman is pregnant at 44 years of age and they are concerned that they will have a Down's Syndrome baby and will abort if it shows to be such. You know miscarriage is at about 5% risk for carrying out an Amnioscentisis test at her age and that statistically for every Down's Syndrome pregnancy discovered 4 normal foetuses will be miscarried. Do you carry out the test?

    No doubt speak with you again soon.
  8. by   GreytNurse
    ......."You are to abstain from....blood" Jerusalem Bible
    "that ye abstain from blood" King James
    "abstain from.....blood" New American Standard
    "you are to abstain from blood" New International

    Honey, honey, honey.........you need to put these scriptures into the CORRECT context........this has NOTHING to do with the transfusion of blood, but is referring to sacrifices and the eating of raw meat.
    Read the whole passage.....before it and after. If we are to, in fact, abstain from blood......we are to cease from eating all meat.....what does it matter if it's cooked or not??? It's still blood right????
    As a nurse, if you are around blood or come in contact with it.....you better quit your job......remember, abstain!!
    The main issue here, as I see some of you have gotten FAR off the path, is that parents share a common belief.....however wrong we may think it is. They have a right to believe this. NO, I don't agree with it, but that is not the point. If I want to excercise MY rights, I have to honor/respect those of others.
    Now, when it comes to a 'life question' as this one is, we must take it a step further because a child, who is unable to voice their desires, is the main concern here. The Bible states that there is no greater love than to give your life for another. Basically, I see these parents, in sparing their 'beliefs' are esentially giving their lives (spiritually) to save their own child. I don't believe that God will 'strike' them dead if they allow a transfusion.....I think He will honor them in the decision for trying to save the life of another human and preserving a soul to maybe growup and find a cure for cancer or aids!!!!!!
    Stop bickering and grow up here!!!!! Save your scripture bashing for sunday
  9. by   JW-HLC
    Thank you for your input.
    The context of this scripture is the Holy Spirit directing the Christian Congregation as to what was necessary for 1st century christians, including non-Jews. They were confirming the command of God first mentioned to Noah at Genesis 9:4,5 "Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. And surely I shall require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man's brother I will require the life of man. Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed. For in the image of God He made man" (New American Standard).

    Now why did God link the eating of blood with the bloodshed involved in killing someone? It is because blood specifically is something special to God; "For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the alter to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement. Therefore I said to the sons of Israel "No person among you may eat blood ...".

    Now when it come to blood and atonement notice what Paul says at Ephesians 1:7, speaking of Jesus, "In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our treaspasses, according to the riches of his grace". (If you are interested you can also read Hebrews 9:11-14).

    Now are you begining to see why blood is so important to God? So important that he tells us to abstain from misusing it? It all represents the sacrifice of blood that His son was going to make for all of us.

    So why doesn't the bible specifically mention blood transfusions?
    Well that at least should be obvious to all.

    God does not condemn the eating of meat (Genesis 9:3) but the blood must be "poured out" as a mark of respect. That would be carried out by normal slaughtering just as was carried out by the Israelites back in bible times. They would then be free to eat the meat.

    Your idea of God approving of someone breaking His law is I am afraid seriously flawed, unlike men God does not pervert His law and "So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God". (Romans 14:12) Your quoting of "No greater love ..." is of course totally out of context. Similarly it has been used by many to justify war, but in fact it of course refers to Jesus giving his life to provide salvation for all who exercise faith in him.

    Oh and by the way I'm not a one-day a week christian, so I don't limit discussing the scriptures to Sunday.

    To obey Gods law on blood it would be impossible for a christian to accept a blood transfusion. Similarly it would be impossible for parents to consent to blood for their child. You may not like it but that's the way it is, you may not believe it but that's your choice. You don't have to treat Jehovah's Witnesses if you don't want to but if you do we appreciate your care.
  10. by   CVSDnurse
    When I worked on a post open heart unit, it would vary from individual surgeon(within same practice group)-if a patient refused blood. Some would refuse to preform the surgery, others would keep the patient preoperatively for several days to raise their h&h with Fe++ suppliments if they were low-but I found it interesting how many patients who refused blood on a religous basis would change their tune when told that they will die without a transfusion as that is the only time the surgeons would order it as our patients were only transfused of hbg <6 and/ or so symptomatic that it interfered with recovery(ie: ambulation/ breathing exercises)
    On the comments quoting scripture, I have a question: how can we assume the refrences are to transfusions when safe transfusions(understanding of blood typing) came so long after the quoted passages were written? How can we assume that the statements in the bible were referring to a processes not yet invented-unless I am mistaken on the timeing of blood typing.
    Last edit by CVSDnurse on Jan 17, '02
  11. by   JW-HLC
    Your comments are most interesting. For many years surgeons have taken the view that a Hb of 10 required a transfusion. However in recent years that view has been readjusted by many to be around 6 to 7, so it is interesting to see your comment of practice in your cardiac unit. I wonder how long ago that was the case.
    The USA leads the way in bloodless medicine and as you are probably aware there are many bloodless centres throughout the "States".
    In the UK the lowest recorded Hb for surgery at present is 1.8, that was carried out in a hospital in the North, I believe Leeds, but could search for the paper to confirm. Worldwide the lowest to date that I am aware of is 1.3, which does demonstrate that in many cases there is more room for working within the patients wishes than is perhaps generally thought.
    Where it is not a question of emergency surgery it is now common to use EPO with i/v iron to bring about a raising of Hb prior to surgery, or in many cases to assist with raising it afterwards. The i/v iron allows the greater and more efficient production of RBC's by the patients body.

    As for patients who initially refuse blood and then retract I obviously cannot comment on individual cases that I know nothing about. I have been aware of cases involving persons who are perhaps studying the bible with JW's but have not yet made a committment (i.e. not been baptised) and of persons who are ex-Witnesses. Sometimes both of these groups will class themselves as "JW" when it comes to signing forms and they might not like the "idea" of blood, but change their mind when it gets "serious". I personally have not dealt with any Witness who has accepted blood (other than a child by court order). If a Witness does retract out of fear, emotion or whatever, then he or she can be helped by the JW community or they can make the decision that being a JW is not for them after all. As with all things it is a matter of personal choice, God does not force anyone to serve Him.

    The question of "how can we assume the refrences are to transfusions when safe transfusions(understanding of blood typing) came so long after the quoted passages were written?" is a really good question.
    It is not a matter of whether a transfusion is "safe" (and incidentally most surgeons now agree that there is no such thing as a "safe" transfusion, all have risks, some slight, some serious, A video recently released "Transfusion Alternative Strategies" shows Prof: Fransesco Mercuriali, (Director of Transfusion Services, Orthopedic Institute, Milan, Italy) stating that the only "safe transfusuion, is the transfusion never given".
    Speaking of transfusion alternatives. Prof: Richard Spence (Director of Surgical Education in Birmingham, Alabama) says "Transfusion alternatives are safe, this is not something I use for the Jehovah's Witness patient for example; I use this for every patient who comes to me".
    However, for the christian it is not a case of whether blood is "safe" or not (it is not a case of blood-typing). For example the Israelite was told at Leviticus 17:13, 14 "Any Israelite or any alien living among you who hunts any animal or bird that may be eaten must drain out the blood and cover it with earth, because the life of every creature is its blood." The eating of the bird would have nothing to do with blood-typing.
    It is a case of whether taking in blood by i/v constitutes the same "disrespect" for God's law as would eating an unbled bird or animal. It is not a simple dietary law, like the many dietary laws God gave Israel throught the Mosaic Law, the law concerning blood was given to Noah (Genesis 9:3-5 - hence before the Mosaic Law). It was then re-stated in the Mosaic Law given to Moses and the Israelites, and subsequently re-stated by the 1st century Apostles in Jerusalem (Acts 15:28,29). At this time the Mosaic Law had ended as far as the Christians were concerned as God has turned His attention from the Jews to the newly-formed Christian congregation. So the issue of the sanctity of blood extends right throughout the Bible from begining to end - it is that important in God's view.
    So for a JW having a blood transfusion is treating the sanctity of blood in the same way as would the Israelite eating the unbled bird (for which he would be put to death!). So for any JW, taking a blood transfusion would be against God's law.
  12. by   nurs4kids
    hmmmmmmmm...
    so the state gives the parent the right to abort a child, yet takes away the right to practice freedom of religion??

    What happened to separation of church and state? As much as it would kill me to watch a child die that I THOUGHT I could help, I feel the parent should have the final say.

    after all...it's all up to God..the beginning and the end.
  13. by   Nittlebug
    This is a difficult subject and some of us have mixed feelings. Letting someone die is very painful for anyone involved.

    I've read alot of bible scriptures in my life and have read all your posts. Some of you who support the parent's decision are religious. Christians, Christian Scientists, or JWs.

    I also support the parents decision, but not for religious reasons.

    I respect and honor the religious beliefs of others because I am a nurse and that is my job. I am more of a naturalist myself. We prolong life for the sake of prolonging life, and that's ok if it's what the patient or the patient's family wants, but death is a part of Life. It is a natural process. Especially for a 25 week old premie. If the parents can except that, why can't we as nurses support that decision to let the child die a natural death?

    Getting the courts involved is wrong. Besides, if it is truely a religious decision the courts should never override that !! Unless the child is old enough to understand the situation and make a decision for himself.

    If we did everything we could to keep every human being alive, we just wouldn't have the resources. Death is a part of life. The real issue in this case is that it's painful for us to see and deal with. Our Pain ! So we are the selfish ones. The nurses and the doctors. Let us learn to support eachother and nurture one another so that we can work through these difficult situations appropriately. Support the decisions of the parents. Religious or not...
    Last edit by Nittlebug on Jan 18, '02

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