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Durban - The parents of three children who are Jehovah’s Witnesses have suggested to the Durban High Court that erythropoietin can be used to treat their children instead of blood transfusions. Erythropoietin is a drug-based treatment which stimulates the production of red blood cells. The parents’ submissions were filed against an interim order granted in the high court which permitted doctors to administer blood transfusions for their children should they be required. The application for the orders was brought separately before court because each child was admitted to hospital and their parents refused to allow them to have blood transfusions because it went against their religious beliefs. First was a five-year-old boy, admitted to hospital in September last year, followed by two girls, aged three and 10, in October and November respectively. The Health Department approached the court for the orders and in December the department was granted an interim order to treat one of the children with a blood transfusion. Two units of blood were administered to one of the children. Currently the 10-year-old girl is a patient at a Pietermaritzburg hospital while the other two are back home with their respective parents. The boy’s parents included in their papers a statement from Dr Marcus Aniekan Inyama Asuquo, a specialist haematologist based at the University of Calabar in Nigeria. Asuquo, also a Jehovah’s Witness, said he had extensive experience in treating patients with sickle cell anaemia, which was prevalent in Nigeria. “I have perused the child’s medical records... There is no evidence that the quality of care given to the child at home will change for worse to warrant blood transfusion,” he said. The other two sets of parents asked the court for a two-month adjournment to get expert witnesses. It emerged in these papers that the law firm representing the parents of the five-year-old boy, Farnsworth-Hughes, received private backing from a donor that facilitated access to experts with a view to the matter being dealt with as a test. “Farnsworth-Hughes attorneys have agreed to instruct the experts that have been employed on their behalf to provide expert advice and opinion evidence for this matter, too,” said the father of the three-year-old girl. On November 22 last year a routine blood test revealed that she had sickle cell anaemia, and the hospital sought her parents’ consent to administer a blood transfusion, if necessary, to prevent an acute crisis, including a stroke. “We firmly believe that there are well-documented, medically-accepted alternatives to a blood transfusion that are compatible with our religious beliefs and that constitute appropriate treatment in the circumstances,” said the father. He explained that when the state doctor, Swaran Singh, made the application he indicated that while he wished to apply for a court order to authorise the administering of a blood transfusion in an emergency, he had used alternative treatment before and had seen it work. “As it happened, the hospital did not, in fact, need to administer a blood transfusion. We wish to express our appreciation to the hospital. At the same time, however, this begs the question of whether there was need for the application of the order,” he said. The matter goes back to court in May for the parents to file further expert witness affidavits.
Guest posted a topic in Jehovah’s Witnesses's TopicsIRON RIVER, Mich. (WLUC) - Two years ago Mary Kurtz suffered from gastroesophageal reflux disease making daily activities unbearable. "I would wake up with terrible terrible pain in the chest area, it wasn’t a heart attack, I knew that, but it took my breath away," said Kurtz. Typically a surgeon could perform an open surgery by making a long incision in the abdomen to prevent acid reflux. However this wasn’t an option for Kurtz. "Being a witness, we abstain because in the Bible it tells us in Acts 15:20 to abstain from blood through digesting it or taking it in as a medical use and this is our belief," explained Kurtz. After consulting with non-witness and witness friends, Kurtz came across Dr. Fanous who could offer a TIF surgery where her esophagus could be worked on by entering through the mouth. "TIF or Transoral incisionless fundoplication where we use the device called the EsophyX HD device to go in, use the patient's tissues to construct the valve between the stomach and the esophagus," said Dr. Medhat Fanous. Currently Aspirus is the only program in the UP that provides this new option for surgery. Not only is it safe and durable but done as an outpatient procedure. "It was the best thing I’ve ever done," said Kurtz. "After two years, I have no pain I have no acid reflux, I can eat things that I never even thought about touching before." And Kurtz isn’t the only one who seen the benefits of the TIF procedure, in just under two years, Aspirus has helped more than 150 patients go through similar surgeries. "It’s a tight community and the word of mouth is very strong but the fact we’ve seen 150 procedures, it’s a testimony to the quality of our work," said Dr. Fanous. Recently Dr. Fanous published a study regarding the safety of the TIF with Jehovah witnesses and Kurtz couldn’t be more thankful for his work and consideration of her beliefs. "I am happy that Dr. Fanous went along with this, because it is a big thing for us."
When Audrey Butler dedicated herself to becoming a Jehovah's Witness seven years ago, she knew she would never accept a blood transfusion—even if that meant making a choice between life and death. "Well the scriptures do tell us that the blood is the soul. So that's how precious blood is to us. It's your life. It's the person's life," she explains. Butler and other Jehovah's Witnesses believe that several passages in the Bible forbid them from consuming blood in any way, including via blood transfusions. This belief can be at odds with standard medical practice; during the course of surgery, some patients require blood transfusions in order to combat blood loss. At age 46, Butler began suffering from pain and stiffness in her knee. Doctors told her she had arthritis, and that she would likely need a knee replacement in the coming years. Butler avoided surgery for as long as possible, enduring painful knee injections and doing her best to live with a limp. But eventually, she began to feel that her limp was slowing her down significantly. Her arthritis was having a considerable impact on her quality of life. Butler knew she needed the knee replacement. She also knew she was unwilling to abandon her faith.