Jehovah's Witness and Blood Refusal in OR - page 3

by sugarik13 6,531 Views | 28 Comments

Hey! Last week I circulated with another nurse (I am still on orientation). We had a patient who was a Jehovah's Witness, so along with a signed surgical consent there was a signed refusal for blood. I was told to have 2 units of... Read More


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    If there is a signed refusal for blood products, it is NOT the surgeon's call. Competent adults have the right to refuse treatment, even on religious grounds that we may not agree with.

    Even in the case of children... the courts in my state have long held that parents are free to be religious martyrs/refuse treatment for themselves based on religious reasons but that they are not free to make those decisions for their children. We still need a court order to hang blood on the child of a Jehovah's Witness who won't consent to a transfusion.
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    Quote from TakeTwoAspirin
    I have no idea how you interpret what I said as being in any way that I was trying to blame the patient for anything. Quite the contrary. I'm trying to understand how the system in this facility failed to intercept this at an earlier time and prevent this from going as far as it did - blood being ordered for the room. I care because this is a failure in the process of this facility, and unless somebody cares then it is likely to happen again. Sorry for caring - you should try it some time. BTW, nobody gets blood delivered to an OR room just "because the surgeon happened to know their blood type". That simply does not happen.
    Firstly, "...I struggle to believe that a JW patient isn't even more on the ball with such things considering how important it is to them," pretty much reads as, "They should have known better."

    Secondly, my statement regarding the surgeon knowing their blood type meant that a type/cross lab does not indicate that the patient should receive blood, and that's pretty clear.

    Thirdly, accusing me of not caring because I disagree with what you said is pretty low. In case you think I took that out of context, I went ahead and highlighted it in your quote. Come up with an actual argument instead of insults please.
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    as an almost new nurse entering the field, this discussion has been very helpful.

    It is the hardest thing as a healthcare worker, hardwired to save lives with resources available, to not use those resources.
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    As a Jw ,i just wanted to comment its not that we dont want ANY help,its that there are many other procedures a dr can perform, even in life threatening situations. Procedures that can sustain,or maximize the blood one already has,etc. And actually what each jw does vary according to ones conscience,and some jws feel comfortable taking blood portions ,but not whole blood.......
    mom4kids likes this.
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    Very interesting question. In your OR, is it the RNs responsibility to hand blood or is it anesthesia's role? I only ask because I worked with an anesthesiologist a number of years back that actually told the parents of a JW child that if the child's life depended on the blood transfusion, he would give the transfusion. Very tense to say the least.
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    Quote from TurnerSW
    Very interesting question. In your OR, is it the RNs responsibility to hand blood or is it anesthesia's role? I only ask because I worked with an anesthesiologist a number of years back that actually told the parents of a JW child that if the child's life depended on the blood transfusion, he would give the transfusion. Very tense to say the least.
    It's different with children though. In the case of a child you get a court order to administer blood products against the parents' wishes. Most pediatric hospitals that care for JW children have relationships with judges who will expedite such an order. In the case of adults, they have the right to refuse.
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    Quote from IftheShoeFits
    as an almost new nurse entering the field, this discussion has been very helpful.

    It is the hardest thing as a healthcare worker, hardwired to save lives with resources available, to not use those resources.

    See it from the pts point of view. They believe that their ETERNAL LIFE is in danger if they disobey Gods command to abstain from blood. It is not up to the surgeon or nurse to decide for them. Taking in blood is NOT negotiable to a JW. Its our right.
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    Hi Shaunta,

    I am a JW too and also graduating as an LPN in a few weeks. I just wanted to say "hi" and that I thought what you said here was right on.
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    Not all JWs abide by their beliefs because I have had a few over the years who sign the refusal but also state that if it was the difference between living and dying, give me the blood! So this is an issue that should be resolved BEFORE surgery and yes the surgeon isn't always right.

    PS this has only been a few over 37 years in the OR kind of like Holiday Catholics or Jack Mormons


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