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Today’s health talk is inspired by recent happenings in my place of work.
A patient needed blood and there was a donor who met the clinical criteria for donation. The technician asked a student present on voluntary laboratory training to bleed the donor while giving me the side eye and nodding to show that she was only teasing the student.
If you have ever donated blood, work(ed) in a laboratory or been present during donor bleeding, you would agree with me that the needle is much bigger than the regular one used for injectables. Quite frankly, that needle scares me.
This isn’t about me or my fear of needles. The donor had very prominent veins on his cubital fossa but I still expected her to refuse to carry out the procedure because most new students on laboratory training share my fear.
Instead she refused on religious grounds. I would later find out she is a member of an infamous christian movement that prohibits blood transfusion.
I tried to explain to her that in order to be inducted into the profession, she would have to let go of those beliefs because it was her choice to refuse blood transfusion for herself but she would be legally bound by the oath she would take when she gets inducted into the profession to bleed a donor when ever need be. Regardless of what her religious beliefs are.
We went on to debate the whole concept of transfusion of blood and it’s products. After sereval minutes of a very futile debate, I realised she was not going to have a change of heart. So I asked her if she knew about blood transfusions before she decided to study a health related course and she said she knew. Then I asked her why she did not choose a course of study that was more accommodating of her religious beliefs. She couldn’t give a tangible reply.
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I have met my fair share of people with this belief. A significant number of my dad’s relatives are part of the movement and one thing I have learnt over time is never to argue about religious beliefs or doctrines with them.
Everyone knows their resilience towards teaching the word of God; in the sun and in the rain, no matter how hard you shut your door in their faces, or how many times you pretend not to be home, or how loud you shout the words “never come back to my house”.
They somehow never lose their cool and keep coming back. Infact they should be applauded for such a great sense of humour.
Most of us have heard countless stories of people who for religious beliefs refused blood transfusion and died. One peculiar case was that of a 6 year old boy whose parents refused blood transfusion in order not to offend God and they watched him die. They put their religious beliefs before the needs of their child and consoled themselves that he had gone to meet the lord in “paradise”.
Another man who was the sole bread winner of his family had a PCV of 4% and refused transfusion. Needless to say he died and rendered his wife a penniless widow and his children fatherless.
Maybe in both cases they were simply scared of being shunned. Shunned like how the ancestors shun Davina in originals.
Tongue out if you dont watch originals. Shunned like ostracised. Just imagine being shunned or disfellowshiped in the house of God where everyone is supposed to be welcomed.
The blood policy began in 1945 and was seen as an offence worthy of everlasting death but was seriously enforced in 1961 when their leaders were not content with leaving it in God’s hands. They began to judge and officially disfellowship those refusing to accept their
I wonder why they see blood as scared and a symbol of life but value human life less, thereby placing more regard on the symbol than what it symbolizes. This alone can be used to explicitly explain the concept of
foolishness misplaced priority.
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I recently got wind of a story where a patient’s relative provided blood for transfusion against all odds and the patient still died because the health worker on duty left the patient unattended waiting for the next staff to resume his/her shift some hours later and proceed with the transfusion. When the patient died, questions were asked and they found out the patient wasnt given the blood. On a closer interrogation, the health worker admitted to not transfusing the blood during her shift because it was against her religious beliefs.
See what I was telling the student at the lab?
It may interest you to know that some of them secretly ask for blood transfusions when in life threatening conditions and ask for special confidentiality from health workers. Most of them go as far as keeping it a secret from even their spouses. And leave it to the health worker to make up a reason why the patient has to be left alone to
receive blood tranfusion rest. But join the fold to shun other members that do it publicly. Hypocrisy.
While researching this topic, I found they now accept organ transplant as long as all the blood is drained out of it. (See Genesis 9:4 “But you shall not eat flesh with it’s life, which is it’s blood) they have the understanding that transfusion and transplant are the same as ‘eating’.
This would be their 3rd decision on the issue of organ transplant as they have moved back and forth by first permitting organ transplants and leaving the choice to individuals, then prohibiting it, condemning all those who participate and comparing it to cannibalism and now saying it is down to the choice of the individual. read more
All this going back and forth makes me question the authenticity of their doctrines. Are these beliefs that are the very core of my extended family like millions of families in the world instructions from
I am a bit taken aback because if they can accept transplant including bone marrow (which makes the blood) and some of them are comfortable with procedures like autotransfusion, and transfusion of blood products like albumin or platelets just not packed red cells.
It now seems
to depend on personal interpretation of rule like they are oblivious of the fact that red blood cells do not contain DNA and within a few months they would hardly be any donated blood left at all. But if you change an organ that organ will still carry the donor’s DNA.
So you would agree with me that there is a big question on what they believe about constituents of blood and tranfusions.
They argue that according to Acts 15:28,29, Leviticus 17:10 and 14, and Deutoronomy 12:23, God said we should not eat blood. Bear in mind that ‘eat’ also means ‘transfuse’ in their dictionary. I guess this is one of the things we’ll have to wait and ask God about.
They quickly forget that one of the risks of transplant surgery is blood loss. Refusal of blood transfusion after transplant surgery means risking organ loss. Risking the organ they went under the knife for, an organ hundreds of people are on waiting lists to have and would gladly accept any medical procedure that would increase their chances of survival, some people even die before it gets to their turn on the waiting list. The same organ someone so graciously donated to them for something that is preventable.
Nevertheless, it is good news that bloodless transplant surgeries for kidney and lung have been successfully conducted amongst others. Much to my amazement but is the risk worth it? Some people have even tagged it the ‘future of surgery’. But for now, the casualties outnumber the successes. Hopefully the numbers would get better with time. We would have to wait and see.
Blood transfusion is an important life saving procedure in managing patients with low blood volume. They are varying religious beliefs on this with some religious institutions kicking against the practice. But the question is, are some beliefs worth dying for?
The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie-deliberate, contrived and dishonest-but the myth-persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.
Disclaimer: I am not an expert on either religious doctrines or health matters, but I know a thing or two about both and I love to share my opinions.
Let’s converse in the COMMENT SECTION:
- What are your thoughts about blood transfusion?
- Do you think parents religious beliefs about blood transfusion should be upheld even when children are facing death?
- What are your thoughts about health workers refusing to administer blood or blood products to consenting patients for religious reasons?
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