“Doctors Rethink Blood Transfusions”
“Program Designed to Help Jehovah’s Witnesses Has Advantages for Everyone”
Under these headings in the Rocky Mountain News, medical writer Kris Newcomer reports: “More than 100 Denver doctors have banded together to accommodate the Jehovah’s Witnesses church, which considers blood a sacred substance not to be donated or transfused during surgery and other medical procedures.” Dr. Greg Van Stiegmann of the Bloodless Medicine and Surgery Program at University Hospital in Denver, Colorado, United States, said: “What has happened is we have organized faculty people willing to restructure the way they do things.”
Van Stiegmann said that while the program will cater to Jehovah’s Witnesses, they are not the only ones turning down blood. There is a growing number of people who would be better off if they did not receive blood. “We try as hard as possible not to transfuse anybody. . . . There’s very good data emerging from multiple studies that suggest your ultimate prognosis in first-time-go-around surgery for cancer is much better if you have not been transfused either before or after your operation,” said Van Stiegmann.
The article continued: “The change in modern medicine’s perspective is welcome news to the estimated 10,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses in Colorado. The Old Testament book of Genesis contains the passage: ‘flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat,’ which to Witnesses means no blood should be ingested by any means, including transfusion.”