18-20. (a) How did a court of appeals in Argentina uphold a person’s right to refuse blood transfusions through use of a medical directive? (b) Regarding the misuse of blood, how might we show submission to Christ’s leadership?
18 Argentina. How can citizens of the Kingdom prepare in case a medical decision needs to be made while they are unconscious? We can carry on our person a legal document that will speak for us, as Pablo Albarracini did. In May 2012, he was the victim of an attempted robbery and was shot multiple times. He was admitted to the hospital unconscious and was thus unable to explain his stand regarding blood transfusions. However, he had with him a duly executed medical directive he had signed more than four years earlier. Although his condition was serious and some doctors felt that to save his life, blood transfusion was necessary, the medical staff was prepared to honor his wishes. However, Pablo’s father, who was not one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, obtained a court order to overturn his son’s wishes.
19 The attorney representing Pablo’s wife immediately filed an appeal. Within hours, the court of appeals overturned the lower court’s order and ruled that the patient’s wishes, as expressed in the medical directive, should be respected. Pablo’s father appealed to Argentina’s Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court could find “no reasons to doubt that [Pablo’s medical directive expressing his refusal of a blood transfusion] was formulated with discernment, intention and freedom.” The Court stated: “Every capable and adult person has the ability to grant advance directives on [his] health, and may accept or reject certain medical treatments . . . These directives must be accepted by the doctor in charge.”
20 Brother Albarracini has since recovered fully. He and his wife are grateful that he had completed a medical directive. By taking that simple—yet important—step, he showed his submission to Christ’s rulership through God’s Kingdom. Have you and your family taken similar measures?