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Attempt to forcefully transfuse blood on a Jehovah’s Witness baby generates comments

Onome Jackson

The Lagos State Government has applied for a court order to transfuse blood on a 14-day-old baby girl against her parents wish…and it is generating comments on legal and ethics grounds.

The child was born prematurely at a private hospital in Surulere to the family of one Mr Emmanuel Onokpise of Abata Close, Orile-Iganmu.

The baby was discovered to be “severely jaundiced” and was recommended for blood transfusion to survive.

But, the parents of the girl, who are Jehovah’s Witnesses and on medical insurance, opposed the blood transfusion for the baby.

They tried to reason with the doctors on the religious basis for their position and on how their view can be reasonably accommodated.

“It is a position based on what the Bible says, we are not fanatics who oppose medical care ” the father of the baby said affirmatively.

A source revealed that the couple explained how as loving parents they cherish and deeply respect life….they welcome alternative treatments that may help to keep their baby alive.

When all entreaties failed, they decided to discharge baby and seek alternate treatment.

We learnt that a member of the public who knew about the matter then called to inform the Office of the Public Defender, ( OPD)

The agency got court order via Lagos Child Rights Law of 2015 and the Lagos State Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy of 2016.

In collaboration with the Nigeria Police, Adeniji-Adele and Orile stations, the baby was eventually taken away from the parents on December 30, 2019.

The little girl was eventually taken to the hospital, but doctors too are weighing the options, by the ethical part of their training.Though some report claimed that the baby had been  transfused, YOU NEWS learnt it is yet to be done, as at press time.

A medical doctor contacted by YOU NEWS said ” There is no question that in such case, a delicate situation exists. Doctors are dedicated to saving or prolonging life. That is our profession.

Consequently, when a doctor schooled to view blood transfusion as standard practice is treating a patient who is seriously ill or who has lost much blood, he may find it distressing to learn that the patient refuses blood.

Whereas the patient’s Bible-trained conscience may not permit a blood transfusion, the physician, too, has a conscience and follows ethics that are extremely important to him.

But really there are alternatives now more than ever before”.

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