Monday, 3 December 2007

14-year-old Jehovah's Witness dies after refusing transfusion

Dear reader, our blog has moved to a new address.

Do come on over (and change your bookmarks accordingly):

A 14-year-old boy from Seattle died last week after a judge ruled that he did have the right to refuse a blood transfusion. Doctors had predicted that Dennis Lindberg, who was suffering from leukemia, would have a 70 per cent chance of surviving the next five years if he underwent a transfusion.

In a hearing last Wednesday, Skagit County Superior Court Judge John Meyer ruled that Lindberg's decision was his own: "I don't believe Dennis' decision is the result of any coercion. He is mature and understands the consequences of his decision... I don't think Dennis is trying to commit suicide. This isn't something Dennis just came upon, and he believes with the transfusion he would be unclean and unworthy."

However the boy's birth parents, who do not have custody, believe their son was influenced by his Jehovah's Witness aunt. They had hoped Dennis would have the transfusion, and attended the hearing last week.


Danny Haszard said...

Jehovah's Witnesses elders will investigate and disfellowship any Jehovah Witness who takes a blood transfusion,to say the issue is a 'personal conscience matter' is subterfuge to keep the Watchtower out of lawsuits.

Many Jehovah's Witnesses men,women and children die every year worldwide due to blood transfusion ban.Rank & file Jehovah's Witness are indoctrinated to be scared to death of blood.

1) JW's DO USE many parts aka 'fractions' aka components of blood,so if it's 'sacred' to God why the hypocritical contradiction flip-flop?

2) They USE blood collections that are donated by Red cross and others but don't donate back,more hypocrisy.

3) The Watchtower promotes and praises bloodless elective surgeries,this is a great advancement indeed.BUT it's no good to me if I am bleeding to death from a car crash and lose half my blood volume and need EMERGENCY blood transfusion.

Know this,the reason that JW refuse blood is because of their spin on the 3000 year old Biblical old testament,modern medicine will eventually make blood donations and transfusions a thing of the past.When this technology happens it won't vindicate the Jehovah's Witnesses and all the deaths that have occured so far.
The Watchtower's rules against blood transfusions will eventually be abolished (very gradually to reduce wrongful death lawsuit liability) even now most of the blood 'components' are allowed.
In 20 years there will be artificial blood and the Red Cross will go on with other noble deeds.

None of these changes will absolve the Watchtower leaders or vindicate their twisted doctrines
Are there dangers from blood?There are over 500 aspirin deaths in USA yearly.
Danny Haszard born 1957 3rd generation Jehovah's Witness

Slucid said...

Having been raised a Jehovah's Witness myself, I've seen a number of these cases up close, where the family fought tooth and nail to ensure that blood transfusions were not used.

For those that think a 14 y/o JW is old enough to make their own decision on this matter, I offer this.

The indoctrination is so exceedingly potent, that at 14, I would have done EVERYTHING in my power to stop myself getting a transfusion. JWs are taught to physically fight, to rip the medical tubes from one's body, anything to stop the transfusion.

I've seen the depression for years after, on those that had one forced on them, with the JW sickened by what they perceive to be a gross sin that they've committed.

Despicable cult.

laurie said...

Please can someone tell me what the difference is between a Muslem who flys into a builder killing everyone in it and himself, and a Jehova Witness who lets their son or daughter die rather than be allowed to have a blood transfusion. Both are murderers in my eyes. Cult religions are very dangerous organisations.
If you believe in God in your heart there is one end of story!

Anonymous said...

Jehovah's Witness
is a ridiculous religion
no-one wants them knocking on our door
& if they are stupid enough to let themselves die without having a blood transfusion
then they dont deserve to be in the hospitals that we are paying to keep running in the first place
apparently they are trying to construct new technology to give them their own blood back to save their life
why bother
their not worth the effort

Anonymous said...

You are free to do what you want to your own body. If you have been advised and then made a decision, it is yours to make. There is more to life than not dying for as long as possible.

It also leaves more blood for people that want it and are willing to be more humble about a gift from a fellow human.

tom sheepandgoats said...

Oddly enough, the boy’s natural parents emerge as relative heroes in this story since they opposed the judge’s ruling. The AP reporting article stated: “For Dennis Lindberg, most of his childhood depended on the kindness of strangers to help him survive…..It is a saga that began when he was a baby born to parents addicted to methamphetamine.” The article highlights consequent hardship the boy endured for 10 years before the boy’s aunt was awarded custody. The natural parents have lately completed a drug treatment program so as to get their lives back on track.

Okay, now for the perspective, which I know the young man would want. He would not want to be portrayed as a fanatic nor the victim of fanatics. (The boy’s father states "My sister has done a good job of raising him for the past four years,” though he feels she imposed her religious beliefs on him. The facts speak otherwise. Dennis had made the beliefs his own.

Don't more youngsters die each year in high school sports than in refusing transfusions? Each year I read a few local examples of the former. I'm not sure I would know any of the latter were it not for news media relaying any such event around the globe. Does anyone think high school sports should be banned or it's coaches judged accessories to "negligent homicide,” as some bloggers thought would be appropriate for those who may have contributed to Dennis' mindset? The number of Witness youths finding themselves in Dennis' predicament is proportionate or less to those student victims of sports.

Dennis was 14. In just 4 years he'd be eligible for the military. For every youngster who dies via refusing transfusion, there must be 10,000 who die as combatants. Jehovah's Witnesses don't go to war. So not only their 10,000 don't die, but there are another 10,000 of all faiths who don't die because there are no JW combatants to kill them. Does anyone think dying in one of the worlds never-ending skirmishes is more noble than dying in process of observing one's religious conscience? If all persons refused transfusions, as Jehovah’s Witnesses do, and all persons refused to take part in war, as Jehovah’s Witnesses do, this would be on balance a far safer world.

Look, death of any youngster in such circumstances pushes a lot of emotional buttons. I understand that. But the hard fact is that most of those voicing strong opinions now were nowhere to be found during the first ten years of Dennis' difficult life. Nor did they lend any support to the aunt generous enough to assume raising the boy after that. Nor, had this crisis resolved itself in any other way, would they take any interest in his subsequent life. The ones who should speak for Dennis are those who knew and shared in his convictions

But one also must address the assumption, never challenged in the media, that rejecting a transfusion is tantamount to suicide. (The judge stated that "I don't think Dennis is trying to commit suicide. This isn't something Dennis just came upon, and he believes with the transfusion he would be unclean and unworthy.") How often does one read the noun “blood transfusion” not proceeded by the adjective “life-saving?” The facts suggest the label is not especially fitting.

For example, Surgeon Bruce Spiess addresses the Australian and New Zealand College of Anesthetists a few months ago, and declares blood transfusions have hurt more people than they've helped. Transfusions, he observes, are "almost a religion" because physicians practice them without solid evidence that they help.

We all know that blood is a foreign tissue and we all know that the body tries to reject foreign tissue, even when the types match.

New Scientist (4/26/08) published an article entitled "An Act of Faith in the Operating Room," which reviewed study after study after study and concluded that for all but the most catastrophic cases, blood transfusions harm more than they help.

Jehovah's Witnesses steadfastly refuse blood transfusions (for religious reasons, not medical) and have created hundreds of Hospital Liaison Committees composed of members who interact with local hospitals and doctors. As a result, some in the medical field have pioneered bloodless techniques. By eliminating the risk of foreign tissue, human error, and blood-borne diseases, these new techniques offer a safety margin that conventional blood transfusions do not. The film Knocking states there are over 140 medical centers in North America that offer some form of bloodless surgical techniques. Might the day come, or is it even here already, when the number of lives saved through such medicine will outnumber those lost by a few members of a relatively tiny religious group that stuck to its principles amidst much opposition?

And if Dennis’ death is seen in that light, it is not in vain, even in a non-JW context. He should not be remembered as some deluded kid. He deserves better.