Judge prevents naming of Jehovah's Witness who died in Newcastle hospital after declining blood transfusion

Jehovah's Witness would have been

Jehovah's Witness would have been "distraught" to receive blood transfusion

First published in News
Last updated

A High Court judge has made an order preventing journalists naming a dead woman.

The woman - a Jehovah's Witness who died early today at a hospital in Newcastle at the age of 63 - had featured in litigation in the Court of Protection.

Earlier this month, Mr Justice Peter Jackson had given doctors permission not to administer blood transfusions in line with the woman's religious beliefs.

The judge - who sits in the Family Division of the High Court and in the Court of Protection - had barred publication of the woman's identity when she was ill in hospital.

And he said in a ruling, following a hearing in London, that the ''unusual circumstances'' of the case had raised ''interesting questions'' about the restrictions on the reporting of information after death.

The judge raised the issue of the dead woman's identity at a hearing which featured no barristers.

But he invited submissions from a solicitor representing the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust - which had treated the woman - and a reporter.

The solicitor argued against publication of the woman's name; the reporter in favour.

''The unusual circumstances raise interesting questions about the court's jurisdiction to restrict the reporting after a person's death of information gathered during proceedings that took place during her lifetime,'' said Mr Justice Peter Jackson, in a written ruling published a few hours after the hearing.

''It seems to me that the proper approach is to make an order that preserves the situation until the time comes when someone seeks to present full argument on the question. I will say no more than that for the present.''

He added: ''I make a Reporting Restriction Order preventing the naming of (the dead woman).''

And he said anyone ''affected by the order'' may apply to vary or discharge it.

The judge said doctors working for the trust had asked for permission to withhold a blood transfusion on February 18 and had said the woman was ''gravely ill'', might die within 24 hours without a transfusion and might not survive with a transfusion.

He said the woman had no known relatives, had been a Jehovah's Witness since the 1970s at least and had a history of depression and paranoid schizophrenia.

She had been admitted to hospital on February 6 after being found wandering and confused near her home. She had been found to be bleeding from a large duodenal ulcer and had a falling and dangerously low haemoglobin level.

Doctors had known that she was a Jehovah's Witness and on February 12 she had said she was ''adamant'' that she did not want treatment with any blood products.

Medics felt at that stage that she had full mental capacity to make such a decision and an awareness of the consequences.

On February 13 her condition had ''markedly deteriorated'' to the point that she needed ventilation. By that stage she ''clearly lacked'' the mental capacity to make or communicate decisions about treatment, said the judge.

Mr Justice Peter Jackson said the application to withhold a blood transfusion had been ''urgent'' and made at short notice.

The judge said he heard evidence from a Jehovah's Witness who first met the woman in 1975. The man had told the court that the woman's religious beliefs had been consistent and she would have been ''distraught'' at the prospect of receiving a transfusion.

He said he had concluded that the woman had made a decision - when she had the mental capacity - that doctors rightly considered had to be respected.

He said the human right to life was ''fundamental'' but not absolute. He said there was no obligation on a patient to accept life-saving treatment and doctors were not entitled or obliged to give treatment.

 

Comments (8)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

9:22pm Wed 26 Feb 14

smokin says...

I don't understand them when our Lord gave His Body and Blood that we may live
I don't understand them when our Lord gave His Body and Blood that we may live smokin
  • Score: 1

10:10pm Wed 26 Feb 14

NO EINSTEIN says...

I don't understand them, when they decide to live or die by fairy tales, myth , and legends.

Very sad.
I don't understand them, when they decide to live or die by fairy tales, myth , and legends. Very sad. NO EINSTEIN
  • Score: 6

12:36am Thu 27 Feb 14

Bill Blyth says...

Adults do have the right to throw their life away in the cause of religious dogma. Jehovah's Witnesses would also prefer to allow their children to die rather than give permission for a life-saving blood transfusion. In the UK doctors will rightly seek a "ward of court" order and overrule the parents. In other countries this is not always the case. A special edition of the official magazine a few years ago boasted about JW children who had died rather than accept blood.
It is a cult where the only law that really matters is unquestioning obedience to the 8 men who rule the lives of their members.
See JWFActs.com for the truth about "the truth".
Adults do have the right to throw their life away in the cause of religious dogma. Jehovah's Witnesses would also prefer to allow their children to die rather than give permission for a life-saving blood transfusion. In the UK doctors will rightly seek a "ward of court" order and overrule the parents. In other countries this is not always the case. A special edition of the official magazine a few years ago boasted about JW children who had died rather than accept blood. It is a cult where the only law that really matters is unquestioning obedience to the 8 men who rule the lives of their members. See JWFActs.com for the truth about "the truth". Bill Blyth
  • Score: 5

3:36pm Thu 27 Feb 14

thehogman says...

Colcat wrote:
I hope the cause of death is listed as suicide, because that's what it was. I have no problem with these nutters killing themselves through refusal of treatment, but I strongly object when it is being forced on one of their children. I also consider them to be hypocrits when JWs refuse blood products yet accept organ transplants. How do I nominate them for a Darwin Award?
It's not suicide to these people; they really believe that taking the blood of another will soil their soul meaning that after the coming Armageddon they will not be resurrected and therefore unable to live in their Gods Kingdom. They would sooner die in this short life and live for ever as one of Gods (Jehovah’s) chosen people.
Personally I don't believe in any God whatsoever, it’s all a load of pap, there is no heaven and no hell, religion was brought about as a means to control the masses and that is true of all religions’ regardless of what sect. There is No Jehovah, No Allah, and No other Gods. Nevertheless you can admire the strength the Jehovah’s Wittiness religious ethos when they are willing to die or to allow loved ones to die, so as to live forever in the new kingdom of their God ………………
………. But before anyone asks does that then mean I agree with Islamic suicide bombers…………
……no; they indiscriminately take many innocents with them
[quote][p][bold]Colcat[/bold] wrote: I hope the cause of death is listed as suicide, because that's what it was. I have no problem with these nutters killing themselves through refusal of treatment, but I strongly object when it is being forced on one of their children. I also consider them to be hypocrits when JWs refuse blood products yet accept organ transplants. How do I nominate them for a Darwin Award?[/p][/quote]It's not suicide to these people; they really believe that taking the blood of another will soil their soul meaning that after the coming Armageddon they will not be resurrected and therefore unable to live in their Gods Kingdom. They would sooner die in this short life and live for ever as one of Gods (Jehovah’s) chosen people. Personally I don't believe in any God whatsoever, it’s all a load of pap, there is no heaven and no hell, religion was brought about as a means to control the masses and that is true of all religions’ regardless of what sect. There is No Jehovah, No Allah, and No other Gods. Nevertheless you can admire the strength the Jehovah’s Wittiness religious ethos when they are willing to die or to allow loved ones to die, so as to live forever in the new kingdom of their God ……………… ………. But before anyone asks does that then mean I agree with Islamic suicide bombers………… ……no; they indiscriminately take many innocents with them thehogman
  • Score: 1

8:53pm Thu 27 Feb 14

skylight says...

I applaud the U K legal system that supports the right of an adult person to have the final say regarding the treatment of their own body. This lady is in her sixties and has practised her faith for many years.

Individual Jehovah's Witnesses unfortunately are led to believe two big untruths 1) That to accept blood would deeply offend God and 2) that blood transfusion is a dangerous abhorrent treatment that belongs to the Dark Ages. In my experience they are not given the balanced information to enable a rational decision to be made and are prevented from reading alternative views on the subject.

Should a Witness consent to blood transfusion for himself, wife or minor child he risks being excommunicated from the movement. The consequences of this are shunning by friends and even close family,unless they share the same house. Even a wife must have "limited association" with such a husband. His belief is of course is that God would judge him adversely to eternal damnation following the imminent end of this World system.

Given the above, one might understand why they take this stand.
I applaud the U K legal system that supports the right of an adult person to have the final say regarding the treatment of their own body. This lady is in her sixties and has practised her faith for many years. Individual Jehovah's Witnesses unfortunately are led to believe two big untruths 1) That to accept blood would deeply offend God and 2) that blood transfusion is a dangerous abhorrent treatment that belongs to the Dark Ages. In my experience they are not given the balanced information to enable a rational decision to be made and are prevented from reading alternative views on the subject. Should a Witness consent to blood transfusion for himself, wife or minor child he risks being excommunicated from the movement. The consequences of this are shunning by friends and even close family,unless they share the same house. Even a wife must have "limited association" with such a husband. His belief is of course is that God would judge him adversely to eternal damnation following the imminent end of this World system. Given the above, one might understand why they take this stand. skylight
  • Score: 1

9:00pm Thu 27 Feb 14

Bill Blyth says...

The Hogman said - Nevertheless you can admire the strength the Jehovah’s Wittiness religious ethos when they are willing to die or to allow loved ones to die, so as to live forever in the new kingdom of their God ………………

What is admirable about letting your child die because of a superstitious delusion? Faith is neither a virtue nor a strength. It is the willful suspension of critical thinking. It is the same attitude that flies planes into buildings.
The Hogman said - Nevertheless you can admire the strength the Jehovah’s Wittiness religious ethos when they are willing to die or to allow loved ones to die, so as to live forever in the new kingdom of their God ……………… What is admirable about letting your child die because of a superstitious delusion? Faith is neither a virtue nor a strength. It is the willful suspension of critical thinking. It is the same attitude that flies planes into buildings. Bill Blyth
  • Score: 1

11:29pm Thu 27 Feb 14

Things Original says...

skylight wrote:
I applaud the U K legal system that supports the right of an adult person to have the final say regarding the treatment of their own body. This lady is in her sixties and has practised her faith for many years.

Individual Jehovah's Witnesses unfortunately are led to believe two big untruths 1) That to accept blood would deeply offend God and 2) that blood transfusion is a dangerous abhorrent treatment that belongs to the Dark Ages. In my experience they are not given the balanced information to enable a rational decision to be made and are prevented from reading alternative views on the subject.

Should a Witness consent to blood transfusion for himself, wife or minor child he risks being excommunicated from the movement. The consequences of this are shunning by friends and even close family,unless they share the same house. Even a wife must have "limited association" with such a husband. His belief is of course is that God would judge him adversely to eternal damnation following the imminent end of this World system.

Given the above, one might understand why they take this stand.
This is such a sad story. Another wonderful life sacrificed for a high-control sect, run by abusive men who will not tolerate anyone questioning their strange teachings and rules.

Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe that Christ died for their sins. They can only earn salvation by being loyal to Jehovah's organization. They have turned the name of God into an idol, working to vindicate a name, instead of trying to imitate the greatest teacher. :(

If you are a JW, please know that Jesus loves you very much, and he does NOT want you to die for the name of Jehovah. Please put down your Watchtower and pick up your Bible and read it without their commentary. They are LYING to you! :(
[quote][p][bold]skylight[/bold] wrote: I applaud the U K legal system that supports the right of an adult person to have the final say regarding the treatment of their own body. This lady is in her sixties and has practised her faith for many years. Individual Jehovah's Witnesses unfortunately are led to believe two big untruths 1) That to accept blood would deeply offend God and 2) that blood transfusion is a dangerous abhorrent treatment that belongs to the Dark Ages. In my experience they are not given the balanced information to enable a rational decision to be made and are prevented from reading alternative views on the subject. Should a Witness consent to blood transfusion for himself, wife or minor child he risks being excommunicated from the movement. The consequences of this are shunning by friends and even close family,unless they share the same house. Even a wife must have "limited association" with such a husband. His belief is of course is that God would judge him adversely to eternal damnation following the imminent end of this World system. Given the above, one might understand why they take this stand.[/p][/quote]This is such a sad story. Another wonderful life sacrificed for a high-control sect, run by abusive men who will not tolerate anyone questioning their strange teachings and rules. Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe that Christ died for their sins. They can only earn salvation by being loyal to Jehovah's organization. They have turned the name of God into an idol, working to vindicate a name, instead of trying to imitate the greatest teacher. :( If you are a JW, please know that Jesus loves you very much, and he does NOT want you to die for the name of Jehovah. Please put down your Watchtower and pick up your Bible and read it without their commentary. They are LYING to you! :( Things Original
  • Score: -1

11:24am Fri 28 Feb 14

noctu says...

I believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Our pasta, who art in a colander, draining be your noodles. Thy noodle come, Thy sauce be yum, on top some grated Parmesan. Give us this day our garlic bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trample on our lawns. And lead us not into vegetarianism, but deliver us some pizza, for thine is the meatball, the onion, and the bay leaves, forever and ever. R'Amen.

Come join us.
I believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Our pasta, who art in a colander, draining be your noodles. Thy noodle come, Thy sauce be yum, on top some grated Parmesan. Give us this day our garlic bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trample on our lawns. And lead us not into vegetarianism, but deliver us some pizza, for thine is the meatball, the onion, and the bay leaves, forever and ever. R'Amen. Come join us. noctu
  • Score: 3

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree