Blood Transfusions

Blood Transfusions

“The main point of religious contention that allowed me to pivot out of the “Witness Organization” was the situation that occurred with the birth of my second biological son (3rd son), Preston. 

Preston was going to be born with a rare heart condition known as “Transposition of the Great Arteries,” also known as TGA.  Without going into the finer details, the layman explanation of the condition is that the heart was fine, but the arteries, the plumbing of the heart, was inversely installed.  The oxygenated blood that was meant for the body was re-pumped back to the lungs, and the deoxygenated blood destined to be replenished with oxygen in the lungs was redistributed into the body again.  In essence, he was going to choke to death almost as soon as he left the safety of the womb.  He would die in minutes, hours or days.  If there were sufficient mixing in the heart (something that occurs in almost all newborns), he would live a month or two tops.  The diagnosis of TGA was a death sentence.  A baby born with TGA, if no remedial is done, will die.  It is certain death.

Herein lies the issue.  The Jehovah’s Witness organization does not allow the use of blood transfusions.  They use the bible as evidence that God would not allow such a thing.  If a Witness were to proceed with a transfusion, they would be disfellowshipped, the most severe form of excommunication that exists.

Here is the defining moment for me personally.  My wife followed her own path to emancipation, and I am happy to say we all met at the same destination of peace.  We found the best doctor in the world to do the procedure, Dr. Jan Quaegebeur and the procedure in his hands had a 99% success rate.  We discussed with the other doctors that we needed this to be a bloodless surgery, and they agreed to do their best.  They gave our son blood expanders and would recycle his blood as required. 

However, the day of the surgery came and Dr. Q, as he is called at the hospital came up to us and said that he would do the best to avoid a blood transfusion but that he could not guarantee a bloodless surgery.  There is a certain amount of blood required in the blood pump before it can operate and being that Preston was two weeks old, he did not have a lot of blood available.  I kept saying out loud “this is supposed to be a bloodless surgery!” but my loving wife intervened and said, “Please do whatever it takes to save our son” and she signed the requisite waivers.  I felt relieved that my wife made the tough decision but also ashamed.  Did this false religion mean more to me than my son?  I feel that in the end, I would have caved in and accepted the procedure with blood, but I will never truly know.  I only know that I have Dr. Q and my loving, intelligent wife to thank in saving the life of my son.  A blood transfusion was, in fact, necessary or the chance for death was certain.  I never wanted to broach the subject again, but my wife did and one day asked “Are you ok with my decision for a blood transfusion?  I pick the life of my son over God”.  I agreed with her decision, with the weight of my shame in full view of my facial features.  I thanked her for doing what I was not ready to do, save our son over God. The damage was done, however.  There was a point where I may have allowed my son to die for the cause of religion.  This was tantamount to a mother of a radicalized Muslim being happy that her child was martyred for an Islamic cause.  I will carry this burden of disgust for the rest of my life.  I hope Preston will forgive me when he is older and hears this part of his story for the first time. ”

Section of Prologue of the book When Dinosaurs Fall

Additional Blood Transfusion Information

“What if a Christian is badly injured or is in need of major surgery? Suppose doctors say that he must have a blood transfusion or he will die. Or course, the Christian would not want to die… Would a Christian break God’s law just to stay alive a little longer in this system of things? Jesus said: “Whoever wants to save his soul [or, life] will lose it; but whoever loses his soul for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:25) We do not want to die. But if we tried to save our present life by breaking God’s law, we would be in danger of losing everlasting life.” What Does The Bible Really Teach (2005) pp.130-131

“In former times thousands of youths died for putting God first. They are still doing it, only today the drama is played out in hospitals and courtrooms, with blood transfusions the issue.” Awake! 1994 May 22 p.2 

“But suppose one’s wife or child were near death. Giving blood, no matter who the loved one might be, would still constitute a violation of God’s law. Just because one is near death, this does not give one liberty to break God’s commands. When one is near death is no time to tamper with or violate the law of God, but a time to draw as near as possible to God by remaining faithful. Everlasting life is the reward for faithfulness. How foolish it would be to gamble away the prospect of life eternal for the very uncertain promise of a cure by blood transfusion!” Watchtower 1970 Apr 15 p.249 

16 As noted in paragraphs 11 and 12, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not accept transfusions of whole blood or of its four primary components—plasma, red cells, white cells, and platelets. What about small fractions extracted from a primary component, such as serums containing antibodies to fight a disease or to counteract snake venom? (See page 30, paragraph 4.) Some have concluded that such minute fractions are, in effect, no longer blood and hence are not covered by the command ‘to abstain from blood.’ (Acts 15:29; 21:25; page 31, paragraph 1) That is their responsibility. The conscience of others moves them to reject everything obtained from blood (animal or human), even a tiny fraction of just one primary component.* Still others may accept injections of a plasma protein to fight disease or to counteract snake venom, yet they may reject other small fractions. Moreover, some products derived from one of the four primary components may be so similar to the function of the whole component and carry on such a life-sustaining role in the body that most Christians would find them objectionable. 17 What the Bible says about conscience is helpful when we make such decisions. The first step is to learn what God’s Word says and to strive to mold your conscience by it. That will equip you to decide in line with God’s guidance rather than ask someone else to make a ruling for you. (Psalm 25:4, 5) As to taking in blood fractions, some have thought, ‘This is a matter of conscience, so it doesn’t make any difference.’ That is faulty reasoning. The fact that something is a matter of conscience does not mean that it is inconsequential. It can be very serious. One reason is that it can affect individuals whose conscience differs from ours. We see that from Paul’s advice about meat that might have been presented to an idol and was later sold in a market. A Christian ought to be concerned about not ‘wounding consciences that are weak.’ If he stumbles others, he could ‘ruin his brother for whose sake Christ died’ and be sinning against Christ. Hence, while issues about tiny blood fractions are for personal decision, those decisions should be taken very seriously.—1 Corinthians 8:8, 11-13; 10:25-31. 18 A related aspect underscores the seriousness of decisions concerning blood. This is the effect such decisions may have on you. If your taking a small blood fraction would trouble your Bible-trained conscience, you should not ignore it. Nor should you suppress your conscientious leaning just because someone tells you, “It’s all right to take this; many have.” Remember, millions of people today ignore their conscience, and that becomes deadened, allowing them to lie or do other wrong things with no remorse. Christians definitely want to avoid such a course.—2 Samuel 24:10; 1 Timothy 4:1, 2. – w04 6/15 pp. 19-24

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