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AC Medical Issues Sextuplets may spark transfusion debate

AC Medical Issues Sextuplets may spark transfusion debate -...

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Sextuplets may spark transfusion debate Jehovah's Witnesses: Faith won't allow procedure often needed by preemies Tom Blackwell National Post http://www.canada.com/nationalpost Wednesday, January 10, 2007 The combination of Jehovah's Witness parents and six tiny infants who may need blood transfusions could push the Vancouver sextuplets into the centre of an emotional religious dispute, one that might even end up in court, experts suggested yesterday. Specialists say babies born so early -- the sextuplets were born on the weekend in the 25th week of pregnancy -- commonly need blood to counteract life-threatening anemia. Yet a Jehovah's Witnesses' spokesman confirmed that all members of the sect must refuse transfusions as a fundamental part of their beliefs. Hospital and child welfare officials will likely request a court order allowing them to impose the treatment if it becomes necessary and the parents object, said Juliet Guichon, a University of Calgary medical ethicist who has studied such conflicts. "At the end of the day, the patients are the babies, and the physicians must do what's in the best interests of the babies," Ms. Guichon said. "The babies will be protected by the courts, there is no doubt about that." She cited a 1995 Supreme Court of Canada decision dealing with the premature baby of another Jehovah's Witness couple. The judges concluded the infant's medical interests overrode the parents' religious rights.
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