Beliefs about blood: Blood Transfusion: They refuse to accept blood transfusions and do not allow them to be given to their children. This is based upon four passages in the Bible which prohibit the consuming of blood: Genesis 9: 4 'But flesh (meat) with... blood... ye shall not eat' Leviticus 17: 12-14 '... No soul of you shall eat blood... whosoever eat eth it shall be cut off' Acts 15: 29 'That ye abstain...

from blood... .' Acts 21: 25 '... Gentiles... keep themselves from things offered to idols and from blood...

.' The WTS interprets 'eating' of blood in its most general form to include accepting 'transfusion of whole blood, packed R BCs, and plasma, as well as WBC and platelet administration.' . Essentially all other Christian and Jewish faith groups belief that the passages refer to dietary laws; i. e. to the actual eating of meat containing blood. Because Witnesses believe that any blood that leaves the body must be destroyed, they do not approve of an individual storing his own blood for a later auto transfusion. 24 Child Protective Services often intrude on parents' rights and take into care sick WTS children whose health or life is threatened by the lack of a blood transfusion.

An adult Jehovah's Witness who willingly accepts a blood transfusion is considered to be committing a sin and might forfeit his or her eternal life. Many non WTS sources imply that the church teaches that all who have had a transfusion (even if given against their will or at an age or situation when they cannot give informed consent) will lose their eternal life. This is in error. In 1997-FEB, the American Medical Association estimated that this belief has 'led thousands to die needlessly.' 1 The WTS periodical Awake once showed pictures of Jehovah's Witnesses children who followed the churches ban on blood transfusions and died. 2 It is, of course, unknown how many would still have died if they had a transfusion.

One particularly sad case occurred in the UK when a woman bled to death after giving birth to her second child. 17 An unusual court case involving a Witness and a blood transfusion occurred in Pomona, CA. Keith Cook, a drunken driver, had rammed his pickup truck into a stationary car, pushing it into a 55 year old woman, Janine Russell. she was standing by the side of the road. She was a Jehovah's Witness, refused a blood transfusion, and died in hospital. Cook was found not guilty on his original murder charge, but was convicted of manslaughter.

Prosecutors said Cook was responsible for the death because he caused the injuries. His lawyers argued that the immediate cause of Russell's death was her refusal of a blood transfusion. 18 There appears to be a significant movement within the medical community to minimize or eliminate blood transfusions during surgery. 20, 21, 22 The group: Associated Jehovah's Witnesses for Reform on Blood ' describe themselves as 'a diverse group of Witnesses from many countries, including elders and other organization officials, Hospital Liaison Committee members, Doctors, and members of the general public who have volunteered their time and energies in an effort to bring about an end to a tragic and misguided policy that has claimed thousands of lives, many of them children. promoting change within the WTS on the topic of blood transfusions.' 23.