Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.
Jehovah’s Witnesses should be required to sign transfusion contracts in order to be eligible for transplant.
Human donor organs (living and cadaveric) continue to be in short supply, and many potential transplant recipients die while waiting for an allograft to become available.1 Because the organ supply is so limited and the offering of organs is based on the generosity of patients and families, proper stewardship of these organs is an ethical obligation for transplant teams, as well as organ recipients. Preventable graft loss must be protected against, and factors that foster preventable graft loss—for example, non-compliance must be proactively contemplated when patients are reviewed as potential transplant candidates. Post-transplant treatment refusal is one example of behaviour that can compromise transplant success.
JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES AS TRANSPLANT RECIPIENTS
It is widely known that one of the most significant teachings of the Jehovah’s Witness church is abstinence from receiving blood transfusions.2 Believers derive this tenet from the Bible verse: “You are to abstain from …blood”.3 While blood loss is a risk of transplant surgery, some centres do not view patient refusal of blood transfusion as a transplant exclusion criterion. The first published case of transplantation of a Jehovah’s Witness appeared in 1986 from the University of California Los Angeles heart transplant team.4 Since then, numerous other cases (cadaveric and living donor) have been published, including liver,5 kidney,6 pancreas,6 and lung.7 For experienced centres with superior blood management skills, transplant can indeed be a surgical success; however, optimal blood management before and during surgery are only two thirds of the patient’s clinical time clock. In the remaining third, the post-transplant period, the patient has received his/her organ, yet the potential for clinical need of blood transfusion remains.
Whether due to postoperative complication, or future illness or trauma, all transplant recipients have …
Read the full text or download the PDF:
Other content recommended for you
- When alcohol abstinence criteria create ethical dilemmas for the liver transplant team
- Applying the four principles
- Jehovah's Witnesses and autonomy: honouring the refusal of blood transfusions
- Liver transplantation for chronic liver disease: advances and controversies in an era of organ shortages
- Indications for referral and assessment in adultliver transplantation: a clinical guideline
- Methods and principles in biomedical ethics
- Patterns of alcohol consumption after liver transplantation
- Successful treatment of total placenta previa by multidisciplinary therapy in a Jehovah’s Witness patient who refused blood transfusions
- The ethics of policy writing: how should hospitals deal with moral disagreement about controversial medical practices?
- Selection of patients for liver transplantation and allocation of donated livers in the UK