Dad bars treat­ment for daugh­ter

‘Blood trans­fu­sion is not in the Bible’

Sowetan - - News - By Ni­vashni Nair

A KwaZulu-Na­tal fa­ther told the Dur­ban high court yes­ter­day that his three-year-old daugh­ter should not re­ceive life-sav­ing blood as “it is not in the Bible”.

The man is among three sets of Je­ho­vah’s Wit­ness par­ents who have been taken to court by the KZN health depart­ment to ob­tain an or­der for doc­tors to ad­min­is­ter life­sav­ing blood trans­fu­sions to their chron­i­cally ill chil­dren. “I am against it and so is my wife. It is against my re­li­gion‚” the man told the court. Je­ho­vah’s Wit­nesses are for­bid­den from re­ceiv­ing blood trans­fu­sions or blood prod­ucts. The fa­ther told the court that he un­der­stood that an in­terim or­der had been granted to al­low his daugh­ter‚ who has sickle cell anaemia‚ to re­ceive blood but that he planned to fight it.

Last month‚ health MEC Si­bongiseni Dhlomo and Ad­ding­ton Hospi­tal pae­di­a­tri­cian Dr Nox­olo Mbadi went to court for an or­der to al­low a five-year-old boy‚ also suf­fer­ing from sickle cell anaemia‚ to re­ceive blood trans­fu­sions as and when nec­es­sary. Since then‚ two more Je­ho­vah’s Wit­ness fam­i­lies were taken to court‚ where the three mat­ters were joined. Rep­re­sent­ing the par­ents of the five-year-old boy‚ An­drew Chris­ti­son yes­ter­day told the court his clients would op­pose the or­der as there was no longer a need for it. He said the child was sta­ble and was now treated as an out­pa­tient. “The sit­u­a­tion here is that the ap­pli­cants ap­proached the court, say­ing that this was an emer­gency sit­u­a­tion and that if the child did not get the blood trans­fu­sion‚ the child would die.” Chris­ti­son con­firmed that the child did not re­ceive the trans­fu­sion fol­low­ing the court or­der‚ how­ever his con­di­tion had im­proved. “This is not a case of the par­ents re­fus­ing med­i­cal treat­ment. They are in­stead ask­ing for al­ter­na­tives that are within their rights‚” he said. Rep­re­sent­ing Dhlomo‚ Dashen­dra Naidoo said the in­terim or­der would cover emer­gen­cies with­out hav­ing to go to court when­ever the chil­dren needed blood trans­fu­sions. He said all three chil­dren were suf­fer­ing from a con­di­tion that was un­pre­dictable, there­fore an or­der had to be in place to al­low doc­tors to ad­min­is­ter blood trans­fu­sions when nec­es­sary.

The mat­ter was ad­journed to Fe­bru­ary 26 with the in­terim or­der still in place.

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The KZN health depart­ment has taken three fam­i­lies to court so their chil­dren could have blood trans­fu­sions.

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