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Mirela Carmen DOBRILĂ: Medicine without blood transfusions for the members of the Jehovah's witnesses religious organization

Abstract: On religious grounds, Jehovah's Witnesses do not accept blood transfusions, instead they support the idea of alternatives to blood transfusion, based on the evolution of medical treatment. Are the medical units equipped with appropriate equipment to exercise the treatments and medical procedures that do not involve blood transfusions and which would respect the religious beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses? This article presents aspects regarding the possibility of the persons belonging to the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses to manifest their religion beliefs, with specific elements of the cult but also aspects on the need to ensure a medical context corresponding to the concept of bloodless medicine, namely medical practices that do not involve blood transfusions. Of great interest is the case of a possible refusal by the parents on behalf of the minors to accept medical treatment involving blood transfusion. The study calls into question what happens if the belonging to Jehovah's Witnesses Cult and the specific beliefs by which they refuse blood transfusion bring about risks to the health and lives of the minor children, taking into consideration that the decision on religious education will be taken by parents or guardians. The survey analyzes the legal and ethical aspects regarding the doctor’s dilemma on how to act if a patient is part of the Religious Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses and refuses blood transfusion, even the case where this treatment is the only solution to save the patient’s life, and the fact that the doctor sometimes finds himself to the limit of medical malpractice.

Keywords: Jehovah’s Witnesses, blood transfusion, refusal of blood transfusion for minors, ethical dilemma, hospital equipment, bloodless medicine, alternatives to blood transfusion, medical malpractice

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