Family heartache after mother refuses blood transfusion

Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney

A family is still grieving the loss of a loving mother after she decided to refuse a blood transfusion.

Jenny-Lee, who was seven months pregnant with daughter Aroura, died in August 2009 after she declined chemotherapy for acute leukaemia and a caesarian operation because it required accepting a blood transfusion.

Her brother did consider seeking a court order to overturn her decision as she battled the cancerous illness at Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney, Australia.

He told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, “The decision she made not receiving blood was a foolish decision but she made this decision believing it was the right thing to do. She was a fool, not a monster. It was not my sister who was sad and selfish; it is this religion and any other teaching this sort of nonsense.”

Jenny-Lee’s mother, Heather, a Jehovah’s Witness, told the Telegraph, the 28-year-old was too ill by the time she was diagnosed to survive, and she feared the impact of chemotherapy on her baby.

Doctors at the Royal Hospital for Women and Prince of Wales Hospital stated in The Internal Medicine Journal in an article called,

‘Avoidable’ death of a pregnant Jehovah’s Witness with acute promyelocytic leukaemia: ethical considerations and the internal conflicts and challenges encountered by practitioners, notes:

“Not administering blood products in this case undoubtedly contributed to the death of mother and foetus.”

The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, refusal of blood doctrine, invariably leaves devoted families devasted. “She was a good Mum,” said Chelsie, Jenny-Lee’s daughter.
I turned ten a month after mum died and I’m only just coming to terms with this, our whole family is still so distressed.”

More information

Sydney’s Daily Telegraph – My mum fought to live: Pregnant Jehova’s Witness who died after refusing blood transfusion was protecting her baby Link

JWR – JW Refusal of Blood, mother and baby die Link

The Sydney Morning Herald – Pregnant Jehovah’s Witness’ decision to refuse treatment ‘harrowing’ for hospital staff after mother and baby die Link

Internal Medicine Journal – ‘Avoidable’ death of a pregnant Jehovah’s Witness with acute promyelocytic leukaemia: ethical considerations and the internal conflicts and challenges encountered by practitioners Link

Washington Post –
Why doctors let a Jehovah’s Witness and her unborn baby die Link

AJWRB – Associated Jehovah’s Witnesses for Reform on Blood (now Advocates for Jehovah’s Witness Reform on Blood)  Link

Watchtower Blood Map Link

Daily Mail – Jehovah’s Witness and her baby die after she refuses a blood transfusion at seven months pregnant… for a cancer she had an 80% chance of surviving with treatment Link

 

Susannah

About Susannah

"Susannah," JWReport's News and Opinion Editor, is very familiar with the Watchtower Society and its leaders past and present. An experienced editor and writer, she was born and raised in the UK where she was an active Jehovah's Witness until she was 28. She now lives and works in southern Europe.

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