A Patient’s Right to Choose
BY AWAKE! WRITER IN ITALY
▪ Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse to accept blood transfusions. This refusal is based on Bible commands, the earliest of which says: “Only flesh with its soul
At Monterenzio, Italy, secondary-school students were asked to write an essay on the importance of donating blood. Among those students was Benedetta, one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, who wrote the following:
“It is well-known that Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse blood transfusion because of their adhering to Bible principles, but this does not mean that they do not accept other treatments. In fact, Jehovah’s Witnesses value their health. They strive to find the best medical care available for themselves and their children. They are more than willing to cooperate with doctors, on the condition that their beliefs are respected.”
Benedetta then added: “Every patient has the right to choose the treatment that he believes is in his best interests, the right to be respected, and the right to know the risks and benefits of the treatment he will undergo.”
The Monterenzio branch of AVIS (Association of Italian Blood Donors) awarded prizes to the students who best expressed their personal feelings on the subject. A report in Monterenzio Vivace magazine stated: “A special mention was given to Benedetta Barbi for her essay that went against the mainstream
Even though Jehovah’s Witnesses’ stand on blood goes “against the mainstream,” many doctors now see merit in their position. The Witnesses’ stand has been a major factor behind a number of innovative medical procedures that reduce blood loss during surgery. This has resulted in benefits to Witness and non-Witness patients alike. However, the main reason Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse blood is firmly founded on the Bible, as noted in the introduction.
The next time Jehovah’s Witnesses call at your home, why not ask them about the Creator’s view of blood? They will be eager to discuss it with you, doing so with “deep respect.”
With the help of many recognized experts, the DVD Transfusion Alternatives explores the medical, legal, and ethical principles surrounding transfusion alternatives. It is available from Jehovah’s Witnesses.