“My Opinion of a Doctor’s Duty Has Changed”
AKANE, a four-year-old girl in Osaka, Japan, had complicated cardiac abnormalities—tricuspid atresia and atrial septal defect—for which she had to undergo major heart surgery. Her parents implored the doctors to perform the operation without blood.*
Nonblood open-heart surgery is difficult to perform on children because of their low blood volume. In Akane’s case, the doctors agreed to operate without blood. Reflecting their excellent medical skills, Akane’s operation was successful. She recovered quickly and now enjoys vibrant health.
Akane’s mother wrote to the doctors who took part in the operation, enclosing a recent photograph of Akane. An anesthesiologist wrote back to Akane’s mother. In part, the letter reads:
“Akane’s amazing recovery thrills us. I had a hard time holding back my tears when I saw the lovely picture you enclosed in your letter. It was not the difficulty of the operation but the difference between your beliefs and mine that troubled me considerably. Now, thanks to this experience, my opinion of a doctor’s duty has changed. Doctors should use their firm grasp of medical knowledge to save life, but they should also respect the dignity and the wishes of the patient.”
In harmony with Acts 15:29, Jehovah’s Witnesses abstain from blood, including blood transfusions. They do, however, accept nonblood medical management.