Blood transfusion 'would have saved Jehovah's Witness'

Telegraph, UK/April 8, 2008

A Jehovah's Witness who died after giving birth to twins would have survived if she had agreed to a blood transfusion, an inquest heard yesterday.

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Emma Gough, 22, collapsed shortly after giving birth naturally but, despite losing a lot of blood, she refused the offer of a life-saving transfusion because of her faith.

Dr Nick Reed, a consultant gynaecologist at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, told her inquest that "without a shadow of a doubt, if we had transfused at an earlier point, a young, healthy lady like Mrs Gough would have survived".

The hospital later faced allegations that staff had failed to monitor Mrs Gough properly and that there was a delay in her treatment that contributed to her death.

Mrs Gough, of Telford, Shropshire, gave birth to a boy and a girl by natural delivery on Oct 25, but suffered complications shortly after.

She began bleeding internally which, coupled with the fact she was anaemic, put her life in immediate danger, the inquest was told.

She had signed a form saying that as a Jehovah's Witness she should not be given blood. The babies, a daughter, Lexy, and son, Luca, are looked after by their father Anthony, 24.

Jehovah's Witnesses are automatically declared outcasts from their faith if they take blood into the body.

Dr Olufunso Oyesanya, a consultant gynaecologist, told the hearing at Shrewsbury magistrates' court that he offered a transfusion to Mrs Gough when she was conscious and she refused.

When he told the family she was in a critical condition and a blood transfusion would save her life, the family still refused consent.

The hearing continues.

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