Judge approves blood transfusion for gravely ill baby son of Jehovah’s witness

A High Court judge has ruled that a sick baby whose mother is a Jehovah’s Witness should have a blood transfusion.

Mr Justice MacDonald concluded that a transfusion was in the three-week-old boy’s best interests even though his mother had not consented.

Bosses at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board had asked the judge to give doctors the go-ahead to carry out the procedure and said a decision was needed urgently.

The judge said evidence showed that the boy was gravely ill and might die if he did not have a transfusion.

Mr Justice MacDonald made the ruling at a private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London more than a week ago.

He has now outlined details in a ruling published online.

The judge said the baby could not be identified in media reports of the case but has named the health authority involved.

Jehovah’s Witnesses traditionally object to blood transfusions and treatment with blood products and say their attitude to blood stems from Biblical teaching.

The religion’s webiste, www.jw.org, says: “Both the Old and New Testaments clearly command us to abstain from blood.

“God views blood as representing life. So we avoid taking blood not only in obedience to God but also out of respect for him as the giver of life.”

The website highlights a number of Biblical references, including passages in Genesis, Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Acts.

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