With at least 7.5 million active members worldwide, the most well-known religion (religious community) who refuses transfusion of specific blood components is the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Their decision is not related to perceived risks of transfusion but is a scriptural stand based on biblical texts. Nearly all Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse transfusions of whole blood and the primary blood components – red cells, platelets, white cells and plasma.
When such group of people are in need of health care, their faith and belief is an obstacle for their proper treatment, and poses legal, ethical and medical challenges for attending health care provider. Due to the rapid growth in the membership of this group worldwide, physicians attending hospitals should be prepared to manage such patients.
Why don’t Jehovah’s Witnesses accept blood transfusions?
According to them: “This is a religious issue rather than a medical one. Both the Old and New Testaments clearly command us to abstain from blood. Also, God views blood as representing life. So we avoid taking blood not only in obedience to God but also out of respect for him as the Giver of life.”
Source: www.transfusionguidelines.org, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, www.jw.org