Blood transfusions are 'not in the Bible'‚ father tells court

A Durban family wants to stop the department of health in the province from administering blood transfusions on their sick child.
A Durban family wants to stop the department of health in the province from administering blood transfusions on their sick child.
Image: 123RF/nyvltart

A KwaZulu-Natal father told the Durban High Court on Wednesday that his three-year-old daughter should not receive lifesaving blood as "it is not in the Bible".

The man is among three sets of Jehovah's Witness parents who have been taken to court by the KwaZulu-Natal health department to obtain an order for doctors to administer lifesaving blood transfusions to their chronically ill children.

"I am against it and so is my wife. It is against my religion‚" the man told the court.

Jehovah's Witnesses are forbidden from receiving blood transfusions or blood products.

The father told the court that he understood that an interim order had been granted to allow his daughter‚ who has sickle cell anaemia‚ to receive blood - but that he‚ however‚ planned to fight it.

Last month‚ KwaZulu-Natal MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo and Addington Hospital specialist paediatrician Dr Noxolo Mbadi went to court for an order to allow a five-year-old boy‚ also suffering with sickle cell anaemia‚ to receive blood transfusions as and when necessary.

Since then‚ two more Jehovah's Witness families were taken to court‚ where the three matters were joined. The case was adjourned to December 5.

Representing the parents of the five-year-old boy‚ Andrew Christison on Wednesday told the court that his clients would oppose the order as there was no longer a need for it.

He said that the child was stable and was now treated as an outpatient.

"The situation here is that the applicants approached the court saying that this was an emergency situation and that if the child did not get the blood transfusion‚ the child would die."

Christison confirmed that the child did not receive the transfusion following the court order‚ however his condition had improved.

"This is not a case of the parents refusing medical treatment. They are instead asking for alternatives that are within their rights‚" he said.

Representing Dhlomo‚ Dashendra Naidoo said the interim order would cover emergencies without having to go to court whenever the children needed blood transfusions.

He said all three children were suffering from a condition that was unpredictable therefore an order had to be in place to allow doctors to administer blood transfusions when necessary.

The matter was adjourned to February 26 with the interim order still in place.

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