Australian court overrules parents in cancer case

June 2, 2012

An Australian court ordered the parents of a cancer-stricken child to put aside their religious beliefs and allow her life-saving treatment including a blood transfusion, reports said Saturday.

The four-year-old's parents had refused the transfusion because it was against the teachings of their Jehovah's Witness faith, but South Australia's Supreme Court upheld an application by the hospital forcing them to relent.

Justice Richard White ruled that it was "appropriate and indeed necessary" for the girl, who was diagnosed with on Monday, to receive a .

"I'm satisfied that there are no alternatives to the provision of a blood transfusion," White said, according to a report of the case in the Adelaide Advertiser newspaper.

"Without a blood transfusion there's a very high prospect (the girl) will die," he added.

"I'm satisfied that it's in (the girl's) best interest to receive the blood transfusion despite her parents' objections."

The Jehovah's Witnesses movement, which claims to have more than 17 million followers worldwide, identifies itself as a Christian religion with its beliefs based solely on the Bible, including a prohibition on accepting blood.

Doctors had told the court that the girl had just weeks to live if she were not treated and could suffer heart, brain and even if she survived without a transfusion.

Her father wept as he spoke of the family's to "strict Bible principles".

"We want the best possible treatment for (her) and the hospital are doing a great job. The only thing we don't consent to is the issue of blood," he said.

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not rated yet Jun 02, 2012
Jehovah's Witnesses believe that life is sacred to God therefore blood is sacred because it represents and symbolizes life. Jehovah's Witnesses put a higher value on blood than they do life. Which is more sacred? The symbol or that which it symbolizes?

*tell the truth don't be afraid*
Danny Haszard
JW blood reform site

1 / 5 (1) Jun 02, 2012
Really a common sense and just ruling. Children are not pets, and parents are caretakers, not owners. Those parents are not right in the head, refusing medical care would be no different than murder.
3 / 5 (2) Jun 02, 2012
That poor child. To have Jehovah's Witnesses for parents is a bit of bad luck in my opinion. Blood diseases through blood transfusions were pretty common in the old days, and it was really dangerous when the AIDS virus began getting into the blood banks supplies through homosexual and bisexual donations. That was a nightmare.
But the blood supplies are pretty safe nowadays. Religious observance is a whole other matter. The courts would be remiss if they didn't force the parents to relent in spite of their beliefs. There are ways to cleanse donated blood.

not rated yet Jun 02, 2012
Quote: "I'm satisfied that there are no alternatives to the provision of a blood transfusion,"

Answer: They've shown too much iron causes anemia. They have shown reducing iron reduces leukemia. One might think giving high iron blood to someone with leukemia would be bad.
"Deferasirox may have an antileukemic effect"

3 / 5 (2) Jun 03, 2012
There is not enough information in the article for you to determine that an oral iron chelator would be required. I'm sure her doctors understand her situation very well, and will prescribe the best course of action to be taken to save her life. As an R.N., I cannot diagnose her condition, and even a physician wouldn't want to diagnose over the internet. She will be ok if they have caught it early enough.
I am just appalled at the idiocy and ignorance displayed by her parents all because of organized religion.
not rated yet Jun 03, 2012
Quote: There is not enough information in the article for you to determine that an oral iron chelator would be required.
Answer: There IS enough information. The word leukemia. I included the use of an iron chelator which induced complete remission FOR leukemia , AND gave the reason why blood transfusions may be a bad idea IN a situation in which there IS too much iron.
The Witnesses believe , "transfusions are a bad idea" . Transfusions are very high in iron and are touted as the very thing which causes iron overload in many people.
Transfusions have been linked to increased death in hospital.
The Witnesses seem to be as well versed in what is right for leukemia as well as hospitals.
not rated yet Jun 04, 2012
Quote: The Scots-Irish seem to be particularly ravaged with this disease/condition, but certainly not ALL of them. My grandmother was a natural redhead with green eyes like mine. She lived to the age of 98
Answer: I would bet the 'dying young' part of the equation is being skewed by the fact the MEN are dying much younger than the women thereby showing a high death rate in Scotland. Women lose iron in their menses which keeps their iron levels lower than men. It has recently been shown women who lose their menses due to hysterectomy begin to load iron at the same rate as men.
"One possible explanation for the gender difference is that during menstruation, iron is eliminated through the loss of blood."

3 / 5 (2) Jun 05, 2012
Well, that's true, a certain amount of red blood cells are lost in premenopausal women. But, in the case of the 4 year old, the doctors will determine if they need to give her plasma, platelets, or whatever including red blood cells. In leukemia where there is a preponderance of white blood cells, I would imagine that red blood cells are most important. But I'm not a doctor, so I will not comment further. Thanks for your input though, Tom. :)
not rated yet Jun 05, 2012
Quote: In leukemia where there is a preponderance of white blood cells, I would imagine that red blood cells are most important. But I'm not a doctor, so I will not comment further.

Answer: Leukemia is not 'just' an increase in WHITE 'cells' , but , all cells. So , if one can imagine , too much iron BEFORE the increase of cells ? Since increased iron increases red blood cells , that's why they GIVE you iron ? The complete remission by reduction of iron allows one the argument of , evidence based medicine. Sickle Cell , an incurable disease , is successfully treated by simple iron reduction , by taking the people into a state of 'iron deficiency' leads to 10 to 1 decrease in hospital presentation ?
So , since leukemia TOO is treated by simple iron reduction , based on evidence , iron reduction would be the place to START as opposed to later when the person is prettyneardead ? Imho.
1 / 5 (1) Jun 05, 2012
Tom, it requires blood testing and more blood testing, as well as monitoring of other systems and bodily functions. Apart from the lack of enough red blood cells, the bone marrow where the red and white cells and platelets are formed must be monitored to find what is causing the loss. It could be a primary or secondary condition that has resulted in leukemia for the child. I don't know. It might even be hereditary. There are several forms of leukemia with different forms of treatment.
If, as you seem to suspect, the child has a preponderance of red cells and iron, then it may be possible to do some blood-letting as in venipuncture. I don't know if they would do that because of her age and lesser volume of blood compared to an adult.

I doubt that her physician would prescribe a whole blood transfusion without first checking the donated blood to see the ratios between white and red cells, platelets and plasma. They can separate the blood components and then reconstitute them.
4.1 / 5 (14) Jun 06, 2012
So pirouette/Ritchieguy/russkiye is now a nurse. Bloodletting Ritchie? Find that on google did you?
not rated yet Jun 08, 2012
Those that have a negative view of this should do a google search on bloodless medicine and dangers of blood transfusions. You will find an amazing amount of information about blood and alternatives to blood. The Western Australian Health Service is the first state wide health commission in the world to advocate bloodless medicine. WHY??.... Do some research and find out..... You will never want to have a blood transfusion if you do the research.

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