Dad bars treatment for daughter
‘Blood transfusion is not in the Bible’
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.
The KZN health department has taken three families to court so their children could have blood transfusions.