Pregnant Jehovah’s Witness loses fight to reject lifesaving help for her baby
(Translation of this article appears in Arabic Section)
A PREGNANT teenager who rejected potential lifesaving help for her baby on religious grounds told doctors: “If the baby has to die, she has to die.”
The 17-year-old from Victoria, who cannot be named, is 39 weeks pregnant with a baby girl. She had been refusing to co-operate with doctors at Victoria’s Mercy Hospital who required her permission for a blood transfusion in the event she suffers a post-partum haemorrhage during labour.
The teen, who weighed 44kg at 12 weeks pregnant, is considered by doctors to be at an increased risk of haemorrhaging because she is of “small stature” and the baby is large.
However, she said she could not receive a blood transfusion because it would go against her religious beliefs as a Jehovah’s Witness.
Dr van Dam said she informed the teen of the risks of blood loss during labour. The teen responded: “I do not want blood.”
She said the teen “seems to be of average intellect but is immature” and “believes naively that all will be well and that if anything happens she will be protected by her faith”.
Associate Professor Campbell Paul, who is a child psychiatrist at The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, told the court he discussed the matters with the teen at length.
She told him: “The Bible says it’s wrong to eat or drink blood if you lose blood and have to let it go and pour it out on the floor.”
Later, she also told him: “If the baby has to die, she has to die.”