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By Queen Esther
A hospital in Bern refused to operate a Jehovah's Witness. The patient would not have accepted blood transfusion in an emergency. The man filed a complaint for racial discrimination, but he flashed in court. ( pay attention Brother's & Sister's... )
"Be thou determined not to eat the blood, for the blood is the soul, and thou shalt not eat the soul with the flesh."
There are such and similar passages in the Bible which prompted members of Jehovah's Witnesses, often referred to as a sect, to renounce blood transfusions in medical treatments.
For doctors, however, this wish is a dilemma for complications during surgery: on the one hand, the salvation of life is a simple measure, on the other the patient's self-determination right.
A list hospital in the canton of Berne recently completely avoided this problem. It refused to allow Jehovah's Witnesses to carry out surgery on a herniated disc.
The patient was then treated in another clinic, but filed a complaint with the prosecutor's office. The accusations are, among other things, attempted coercion against the hospital supply law and racial discrimination.
The prosecutor, however, did not take the case. On the other hand, the Jehovah's Witnesses filed a complaint. Now the Supreme Court also concluded, in a leading judgment, that the hospital had not violated any law.
Emergency situation for patient?
The story began in September 2015. At that time, an attending physician registered Jehovah's Witnesses in a first hospital for the operation of discus hernia.
After an interview with the anesthetist, the patient refused to sign a declaration of consent specially created for members of the religious community. It should be noted that blood transfusions may be carried out in an emergency.
Because the patient did not want this, the anesthetist informed the doctor that the operation could not be performed. For the hospital was not ready to "let a patient bleed to death".
However, the Jehovah's Witness believed that "there was no reason to consider a blood transfusion." It was a "small, routine operation."
If he had not mentioned that he was a Jehovah's Witness, blood transfusion would never have been an issue, he believes. With the declaration of consent, the hospital had brought him into an emergency situation in which he had to decide between his conviction of faith and his "acute endangering" state of health.
No racial discrimination
On the other hand, the first-treatment hospital argued that non-discrimination of a particular religious community was the aim of the consent declaration.
The point is that treatment can also be carried out in the event of an emergency according to the rules of medical art - so-called lege artis. In addition, the risk of a stronger hemorrhage "is not simply negligible".
Both the public prosecutor's office and the judges appear to be on the side of the hospital. In particular, the facts of racial discrimination are not applicable.
Although a list hospital is in principle subject to treatment. Moreover, the Jehovah's Witnesses would fulfill the prerequisites for being protected as a religious group by the Racism Discrimination Act.
The decisive factor is not the size of the group, but it is regarded as such by its members and externally.
Bleeding always possible
Racial discrimination would, however, be present only if a clinic refused to provide services to individuals on account of their race, ethnicity or religion on the same terms as those offered to the public. In the current case, this is not true.
For the Jehovah's Witnesses demanded a restriction in the form of a renunciation of blood transfusions. He also accepted his death in complications. However, professional ethics requires a doctor to do everything in his power to save a human life.
For this reason, the health care law provides that no medical doctor can be compelled to seek treatment that does not correspond to his "ethical or religious convictions". It is also not relevant, as is probably a strong bleeding during an operation. This is always always possible and must be taken into account.
Operation was not an emergency
The judges also regard the accusation of the attempted coercion as untenable. It was not an emergency or an urgent operation. In the case of planned interventions, a hospital has the freedom to decide whether a treatment is acceptable under the desired conditions or not.
In addition, the clinic did not want the Jehovah's Witnesses to be removed from his confession. She wanted to prevent the medical staff from being "forced to leave a possible sensible measure in a treatable emergency situation."
Finally, the judges also conclude that the case is purely theoretical. After the cancellation, the physician could find another hospital in which the operation could be performed under the conditions desired by the patient and even on the originally scheduled date. The disputable service had thus been provided in its entirety. (Bernese newspaper)
Created: 29.06.2017, 22:09 clock
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