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Transfusion-free treatment of Jehovah's Witnesses: respecting the autonomous patient's rights



Transfusion-free treatment of Jehovah's Witnesses: respecting the autonomous patient's rights



Journal of Medical Ethics 24(5): 302-307



Do six million Jehovah's Witnesses mean what they say? Muramoto's not-so-subtle proposition is that they don't, because of a system of control akin to the Orwellian "thought police". My response is that the fast developing cooperative relationship between our worldwide community and the medical profession as a whole, and the proven record of that community's steadfast integrity in relation to their Christian principles is the evidence that we do! I seek to highlight the inaccuracy of information, which Muramoto admits came largely from dis-enchanted ex-members, by quoting "established" medical ethical opinion that refusal of blood transfusions must be respected as evidence of patient autonomy. Personal experience of my work on hospital liaison committees for Jehovah's Witnesses is reviewed and I endeavour to prove that our view of blood, and its association with life, goes to the very core of the human psyche. Lastly I suggest that faith transcends rationality. Human beings are more than just minds! Our deep moral sense and consciousness that our dignity is diminished by living our lives solely on the "self interest" principle, lies at the heart of true personal autonomy. Maybe it's a case of "two men looking through the same bars: one seeing mud, the other stars".

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Accession: 047817139

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 9800584

DOI: 10.1136/jme.24.5.302


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