Court Overturns Jehovah's Witnesses Blood Ban

Ria Novosti, Russia/March 28, 2012

Doctors at a St. Petersburg hospital had to ask a court to sanction a blood transfusion for a child whose parents, members of the Jehovah's Witnesses religion, had refused to give permission on religious grounds, city child rights commissioner Svetlana Agapitova said on Wednesday.

On Monday a car ran down three pedestrians in central St. Petersburg, including a woman with a baby in a stroller.

The girl was in a serious condition and needed an urgent blood transfusion and an operation but her father forbade the doctors to administer the procedure.

"It turned out that he is a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses whose religion forbids blood transfusion even when a person's life is in danger," Agapitova said in a press release posted on her website.

The father's lawyer told the doctors they had no right to perform any medical intervention without parental permission, even in a life or death situation.

Only a court ruling could reverse their decision.

The hospital chief went to a court which issued an order within hours that a blood transfusion and operation be carried out as soon as possible.

The operation went ahead but the girl's injuries are very serious and she remains in a near-critical condition.

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