Man dies after opt­ing not to take treat­ment

Je­ho­vah’s Wit­nesses ad­her­ent re­fuses blood trans­fu­sion on re­li­gious grounds

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - NATIONAL NEWS - BY NI­CHOLAS KOMU

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Apa­tient died at the Ny­eri County Re­fer­ral Hos­pi­tal (PGH) after de­clin­ing blood trans­fu­sion al­legedly on re­li­gious grounds.

Mr Sa­muel Maina suc­cumbed to kid­ney com­pli­ca­tions on Satur­day after turn­ing down crit­i­cal med­i­cal pro­ce­dures be­cause of his re­li­gious be­liefs, a de­ci­sion that also left his fam­ily in a dilemma.

Doc­u­ments seen by in­di­cate that the pa­tient was sup­posed to un­dergo reg­u­lar re­nal dial­y­sis but re­quired ur­gent blood trans­fu­sion.

Mr Gathuku Ga­chini, the pa­tient’s brother, said that doc­tors at the re­fer­ral hos­pi­tal had ad­vised that Sa­muel re­quired a blood trans­fu­sion be­fore un­der­go­ing dial­y­sis.

The pa­tient, how­ever, de­clined to re­ceive the blood on grounds that doc­trines of his church do not al­low blood trans­fu­sion.

The re­tired en­gi­neer was a mem­ber of the Je­ho­vah’s Wit­nesses who be­lieve that Chris­tians should not ac­cept blood trans­fu­sions or do­nate or store their own blood. Mr Maina’s de­ci­sion drew a sharp rift in the fam­ily. While some, in­clud­ing his chil­dren agreed with him, his wife and sib­lings op­posed his de­ci­sion.

They tried to change his mind ar­gu­ing the doc­trines were ir­ra­tional and that the pro­ce­dure was crit­i­cal for his sur­vival.

“We are Chris­tians too and re­spect all de­nom­i­na­tions but this is wrong,” Mr Ga­chini said. De­spite mul­ti­ple coun­selling ses­sions and en­cour­age­ment by his fam­ily to re­con­sider, he re­fused and doc­tors, who found them­selves in dilemma over his con­di­tion, even­tu­ally opted to have him sign a le­gal doc­u­ment de­clin­ing the med­i­cal pro­ce­dure.

Records show that the pa­tient signed a Power of At­tor­ney de­clin­ing blood trans­fu­sion not­ing he was a mem­ber of Je­ho­vah’s Wit­nesses church. The doc­u­ments seen by the Na­tion show that the pa­tient made it clear that no trans­fu­sion should be done even if doc­tors be­lieved it would save his life.

Hav­ing signed the doc­u­ments, the hos­pi­tal dis­charged the pa­tient in a move that le­gally ex­on­er­ates the fa­cil­ity of blame if the con­di­tion wors­ened.

De­spite days of coun­sel from peers and sec­tions of his fam­ily, the pa­tient held on to his de­ci­sion un­til when he passed away on Satur­day.

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