Jehovah’s Witnesses and Blood Transfusion: Physicians’ Attitudes and Legal Precedents

William M. Tierney, Morris Weinberger, James Y. Greene, P. Albert Studdard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Patients with significant medical problems who refuse some aspects of their medical care present medicolegal and management problems for their physicians. The selective refusal of transfusion of blood products by Jehovah’s Witnesses typifies such situations. To explore physicians’ reactions to these constraints, we sent a questionnaire to medical students, residents, and faculty wherein we asked them to respond to case simulations involving Jehovah’s Witnesses and refusal of transfusion. Fifty percent of all respondents, including 84% of the faculty, reported experience in dealing with Jehovah’s Witnesses. Overall, respondents were more likely to give transfusion to an infant or an incompetent adult than to competent adults. Only educational level made a significant difference in response: Faculty members most frequently mentioned obtaining a court order when giving transfusion against a patient’s will. Case law, upon which legal grounds such decisions stand, is often conflicting and is evolving toward allowing patients a freer hand in their choices of therapy. We sketch the history and present status of these precedents and offer a framework for dealing with patients’ refusal of care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-478
Number of pages6
JournalSouthern Medical Journal
Volume77
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1984

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Jehovah's Witnesses
Blood Transfusion
Physicians
Medical Faculties
Medical Students
Patient Care
Hand
History
Surveys and Questionnaires
Therapeutics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Tierney, W. M., Weinberger, M., Greene, J. Y., & Albert Studdard, P. (1984). Jehovah’s Witnesses and Blood Transfusion: Physicians’ Attitudes and Legal Precedents. Southern Medical Journal, 77(4), 473-478.

Jehovah’s Witnesses and Blood Transfusion : Physicians’ Attitudes and Legal Precedents. / Tierney, William M.; Weinberger, Morris; Greene, James Y.; Albert Studdard, P.

In: Southern Medical Journal, Vol. 77, No. 4, 1984, p. 473-478.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Tierney, WM, Weinberger, M, Greene, JY & Albert Studdard, P 1984, 'Jehovah’s Witnesses and Blood Transfusion: Physicians’ Attitudes and Legal Precedents', Southern Medical Journal, vol. 77, no. 4, pp. 473-478.
Tierney WM, Weinberger M, Greene JY, Albert Studdard P. Jehovah’s Witnesses and Blood Transfusion: Physicians’ Attitudes and Legal Precedents. Southern Medical Journal. 1984;77(4):473-478.
Tierney, William M. ; Weinberger, Morris ; Greene, James Y. ; Albert Studdard, P. / Jehovah’s Witnesses and Blood Transfusion : Physicians’ Attitudes and Legal Precedents. In: Southern Medical Journal. 1984 ; Vol. 77, No. 4. pp. 473-478.
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