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Dublin: 11 °C Tuesday 18 June, 2019

Need for discussions between hospitals and Jehovah's Witness patients

An Irish court has granted an order allowing The Coombe Hospital to give a blood transfusion to a baby despite the objections of her parents, who are Jehovah’s Witnesses.

File photo.
File photo.
Image: Photocall Ireland

A COURT ORDER granted today to allow The Coombe Hospital give a baby a blood transfusion against the wishes of her parents underscores the need for more discussions to take place between hospital staff and patients, says a Dublin branch of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Harry Homan, from the South Dublin Hospital Liaison Committee said that the issue highlighted the relationship between hospital staff and Jehovah’s Witness patients.

He said, however, that there is already healthy discussions happening across the country.

“The parents in this case are very happy with the hospital and the care being give to their baby,” Homan told

“There is an excellent relationship between the parents and staff and the child is receiving the best of care.”

He added that a blood transfusion will only be given to the premature baby as a last resort.

“At the moment, she is doing well,” said Homan.

RTÉ reports that the transfusion will be given to the baby if her condition deteriorates and it is necessary to save her life.

“Hospitals are acutely aware of the dangers associated with blood transfusions,” claimed Homan, adding that it is in “everyone’s best interests to seek alternatives.”

He said the position of Jehovah’s Witnesses is perfectly clear on the matter of blood transfusions.

“We do refuse transfusions,” he said. “But it is a personal choice and this is the stand the parents have taken in this case.”

According to RTÉ, the maternity hospital applied for permission to treat the baby, who weighed just 1kg at birth, despite objections from the parents.

She is at risk of infection and a host of other complications which could mean a transfusion is required.

The parents can apply to have the order reversed if the child’s condition improves.

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