MINOR CHILDREN MATURE MINORS PARENTAL OBLIGATIONS ADULT CHILDREN
(9) [This paragraph applies only to pregnant women.] In Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 860 (1992), the Supreme Court confirmed that "viability marks the earliest point at which the State's interest in fetal life is constitutionally adequate to justify a legislative ban on therapeutic abortions." Thus, since I have the right to abort my pregnancy before viability I necessarily have the lesser right to refuse blood transfusions before viability. In addition, even if my fetus is viable, the Supreme Court has said that mothers cannot be exposed to increased medical risks for the sake of their fetuses and that the state's interest in the potential life of the fetus is insufficient to override the mother's interest in preserving her own health. Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, 476 U.S. 747, 768-71 (1986); see Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 846 (1992). Also, in the cases of In re A.C., 573 A.2d 1235 (D.C. 1990), and In re Doe, 632 N.E.2d 326 (Ill. App. Ct.), cert. denied, 114 S. Ct. 1198 (1994), refusals of treatment by women with viable fetuses were upheld. Although both of these cases involved Caesarean sections, as a matter of principle and logic they show that it is the pregnant woman who should decide what is to be done to herself and her fetus. Therefore, I demand that my refusal of blood and choice of alternative nonblood management be followed and that my doctors manage my care and the care of my fetus without transfused blood.
IN RE TINA A. HARRELL, IN RE HARRELL FETUS, and TINA ANN HARRELL v. ST. MARY'S HOSPITALwere all related 1996 Florida trial and appellate court cases. In May 1995, Tina Ann Harrell, a 34 year-old African-American Jehovah's Witness, was twenty-two weeks pregnant when doctors at St. Mary's Hospital discovered a life-threatening blood condition which could rapidly deteriorate and place both her life and the life of the "fetus" in jeopardy. When Tina A. Harrell and husband Russell R. Harrell, age 41, objected to any blood transfusions for herself or her "fetus", officials at St. Mary's Hospital petitioned a local court for authorization to administer blood transfusions to Tina Harrell IF AND WHEN such became medically required to protect Tina Harrell's unborn child. Authorization also was sought to administer transfusions to the child if such became necessary to protect its life after it was born. At an emergency hearing, where the Harrells did not have the opportunity to summon an attorney, the Hospital's request was granted. The child was prematurely delivered by caesarean section, but died two days later. Supposedly, no blood transfusions were given to Tina Harrell or to the child. The unnamed "fetus" was survived by sisters Kizzie Harrell and Latisha Harrell.
An appeal was LED BY THE WATCHTOWER CULT'S LEGAL DEPARTMENT, and was supported by the ACLU's"Reproductive Freedom Project". The Court of Appeal of Florida accepted the appeal despite the fact that this case was "moot", and that the court had no issues to decide. Instead, the Court of Appeal of Florida wanted to express its AGREEMENT WITH THE WATCHTOWER CULT AND THE ACLU that the Supreme Court of Florida had already ruled back in the 1993 DUBREUIL case that Florida hospitals no longer had the legal right to challenge the decision of any competent adult Jehovah's Witness to decide to commit backdoor suicide. Florida hospitals now may ONLY notify the local District Attorney of that situation. It is then up to that District Attorney to decide whether or not the State of Florida will seek court intervention.
Notably, at the HARRELL emergency hearing, officials at St. Mary's Hospital testified that the local District Attorney previously had informed them that he would no longer pursue such cases, and that the hospital should pursue such cases themselves if they so desired. INTERESTINGLY, when that allegation became public, that local District Attorney denied the hospital's allegation.
What about the African-American Jehovah's Witness Family whom the WatchTower Cult and ACLU had championed? What kind of "citizens" were they?
MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWSUITS
Despite the FACT that Jehovah's Witnesses will not hesitate to permit themselves or their children to die as MARTYRS for the WatchTower Cult, hospitals and doctors have gradually learned over the decades that the WatchTower Cult also encourages the surviving families to SUE for MEGA-BUCKS if a hospital or doctor makes even the slightest mis-step while treating the JW Parent or child. This legal strategy serves multiple purposes for the WatchTower Cult. First, this practice keeps hospitals and doctors completely terrorized of Jehovah's Witness Patients such that hospitals and doctors are scared to death not to conform with WatchTower Cult beliefs and practices. Second, every time a Jehovah's Witness Patient settles or wins such a medical malpractice case, Jehovah's Witness Patients appear to the naive general public to be VICTIMS of uncooperative -- even biased and discriminatory -- hospitals and doctors, with a resulting softening of the public image of Jehovah's Witnesses as being suicide-seeking cult martyrs.
LESLIE APONTE, JODEE VIERA, and JOSEPH VIERA v. MCNAMEE ET AL was a 1997-2007 medical malpractice lawsuit in which the plaintiffs were awarded $948,692.00 in economic damages and $1,500,000.00 in noneconomic damages by a Connecticut jury in March 2005. McNamee was an obstetrician working with the practice group of Associated Women's Health Specialists. McNamee attended to Leslie Aponte during her pregnancy, beginning in November 1994, and ending in May 1995, and during the early stages of her labor on May 25, 1995. McNamee left during the second stage of Aponte's labor and thereafter was unavailable. Cohen, another obstetrician affiliated with Associated Women's Health Specialists, attended to Aponte during the final stages of labor and delivery. During that delivery, an obstetrical emergency occurred, known as shoulder dystocia, wherein the infant's head delivers, but partly retracts because the baby's shoulders become lodged, requiring delivery of the child within minutes to avoid risk of neurological injury or death. As a result of the shoulder dystocia during her birth, Jodee Viera, sustained an injury to her brachial plexis, a network of nerves in the neck, leaving her with a permanent injury affecting her upper left extremities. The plaintiffs commenced this lawsuit in August 1997.
The appellate court opinion makes no mention that Leslie Aponte was a Jehovah's Witness at the pertinent times of this case, nor does it make any mention that blood transfusions were an issue at any time during the delivery. HOWEVER, that does not necessarily mean that those issues did not arise during the delivery or during the jury trial. A March 2005 newspaper article covering that trial stated:
... McNamee managed the delivery and should have done a Caesarean section instead of allowing a vaginal delivery. [Plaintiffs' attorney] said Aponte asked Dr. McNamee to give her a Caesarean section but he didn't. "Dr. McNamee was managing the delivery and should have done the Caesarean section ... He was managing it throughout the day. His position was he blamed the failure of the baby to be delivered on the mother. He took the position that she wasn't trying hard enough. He didn't do any investigation that the baby might be too big, and that a condition of the baby being too big, known as macrosomia, is a major risk factor for shoulder dystocia (stuck shoulders). She got stuck behind the pelvic bones and wasn't breathing."
[Defendant's attorney] countered that McNamee made a professional decision against performing a Caesarean section because it's a potentially dangerous procedure that was unnecessary for Aponte. "You don't perform a Caesarean section just like that. ... It has to be done with careful consideration of the risks and benefits." [Defendant's attorney] instead blamed Aponte for failing to cooperate with McNamee. "She refused to participate in the delivery. She refused to push".
A 2015 media article about the following MURDER states that Leslie Aponte was "a practicing Jehovah's Witness" during Nicholas Aponte's early years in high school. Do the math!!!
CONNECTICUT v. NICHOLAS APONTE, CONNECTICUT v. MIGUEL RODRIGUEZ, and CONNECTICUT v. JASON CASIANO. On a hot August evening in 1995, in Waterbury, Connecticut, Nick Aponte, age 17, his brother Miguel Rodriguez, age 14, and their cousin, Jason Casiano, age 16, sat on Leslie Aponte's front porch drinking malt liquor and playing spades. At some point the three teenagers and a fourth 15 year-old friend began to plan an armed robbery. They drove to a nearby SUBWAY sandwich shop in North Haven, where they "cased" the store for a hour until closing time -- and until 28 year-old manager David Horan was alone. Aponte, Casiano, and Rodriguez all went inside and proceeded to "stick-up" Horan. When Horan explained that there was no cash left in the register, and that he did not know the combination to the store's safe, Casiano shot Horan once in the face, and twice in his torso -- killing Horan. Casiano plea bargained to 50 years in prison without parole. Rodriguez testified against Aponte in exchange for a 14 year prison sentence, but was paroled after serving 7 years. Nick Aponte went to trial and was sentenced to 38 years in prison without the possibility of parole.
CONNECTICUT v. LESLIE RODRIGUEZ AKA LESLIE APONTE. In June 1996, LESLIE APONTE a/k/a LESLIE RODRIGUEZ, was charged with Conspiracy to commit first-degree Murder and Risk of Injury to a Minor. The Prosecutor alleged that Leslie Rodriguez knew about the robbery before it occurred, and that Leslie Aponte knew that her sons and nephew were armed with a firearm. Leslie Aponte-Rodriguez pleaded "not guilty". Outcome unknown.
RONALD A. HARRISON v. LOUISIANA PATIENTS COMPENSATION FUND ET AL was a 2002 Louisiana appellate court decision. This appeal was from a medical malpractice court case, in which an African-American Jehovah's Witness named Ronald A. Harrison Sr. had been awarded more than $450,000.00 for the deaths of his wife, Doris Harrison, and newborn son, Avery Doyle Harrison.
Notably, Ronald Harrison, only age 59, died in December 2002, and Doris Harrison was not even mentioned in his obituary. Harrison was survived by 8 children and 10 siblings, and predeceased by several more. (Apparently, the Harrisons were single-handedly responsible for populating the entire parish, not to mention an entire family ran Kingdom Hall.) Ronald Harrison also had remarried a second JW Wife named Marie Helen Cherubin, and had relocated to Alabama.
"As we view the evidence of record, there is no question but that Mrs. Harrison died due to a lack of blood, and this fact does not appear to have been put at issue; neither is there any question that both Mr. and Mrs. Harrison refused any blood replacement or transfusion. ... ... ..."... the PCF is yet again attempting to wrest itself out of its statutorily imposed liability. At least insofar as the PCF is concerned, liability has been admitted, and the only contested issue is the amount of the victim's damages.
"In its judgment of October 17, 2001, the trial court found that the settling [doctor] was one hundred per cent at fault for Mrs. Harrison's death, stating that there was no secondary harm to consider. Under the facts and evidence presented, the secondary harm to which the judgment refers can only be "victim fault." It is clear from the record that the trial court had before it the issue and evidence of the various releases, and considered and rejected that defense by finding the health care provider completely at fault. Considering all the evidence in the records before us, we find no error in that determination."
BENTA VESELY and JAMES VESELY v. OBGYN, FHP INTERNATIONAL, ET AL was a 1986-93 Utah court case. In 1993, Thomas Vesely and Benta Vesely, and their six-year-old son, James Vesely, of Park City, Utah, were awarded the largest medical malpractice verdict in Utah's history --$8,100,000.00. James Vesely had been born with permanent brain damagein 1986 after Benta Vesley's uterus ruptured during an attempted vaginal delivery, which forced an emergency cesarean delivery. The delayed delivery resulted in oxygen deprivation to James Vesely.
Per media reports, the Veselyes had claimed, and the UTAH JURY had believed, that the the HMO had forced Benta Vesely to accept an unqualified doctor, who should have planned a cesarean delivery instead of a vaginal delivery. CURIOUSLY, the Veselyes alleged during the trial that the OBGYN had not known about Benta Vesely's previous 1982 cesarean delivery which had involved the cutting of her upper uterine muscles. (Such C-sections reportedly result in a 30 percent chance of a ruptured uterus if the woman goes into labor with a subsequent pregnancy.) HOWEVER, the OBGYN testified that not only had he known about Benta Vesely's previous cesarean, but that he had REPEATEDLY encouraged Benta Vesely to have a cesarean delivery. However, Benta Vesely was a Jehovah's Witness who refused to consent to blood transfusions -- which routinely are needed during cesarean deliveries. (The defense likely failed to inquire how the blood transfusion issue had been handled during Benta Vesely's 1982 cesarean.)
Subsequently, on July 16, 1975, Bessie Randolph was admitted to Sydenham Hospital, located in New York County, as Dr. Cehelsky's private patient. In 1975 the City owned Sydenham and Health and Hospitals operated, maintained and controlled it. A notation appears in Sydenham's admission records that Mrs. Randolph was a Jehovah's Witness and did not wish to receive a blood transfusion. Although specifics are unknown, Bessie Randolph did in fact experience a life-threatening amount of blood during the procedures, and the hospital and doctors did in fact honor Randolph's request that no blood transfusions be administered to save her life. Unfortunately, Randolph died as a result of blood loss. Thereafter, Howard Randolph, as administrator of her estate, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against multiple parties. A NYC jury awarded the estate $1,250,000.00. NYC, the hospital, and the doctors all appealed given that Bessie Randolph had been forewarned of the possibility that blood transfusions might be necessary to save her life, and with informed consent, she refused to give them that option. Outcome of appeal is unknown. What are hospitals and doctors to do? They get sued if they give the JW a transfusion. They get sued if they don't give the JW a transfusion.
IN RE AVIZ JALYN BEAL was a 1996 Missouri court decision. In November 1996, a 34-weeks pregnant, 40 year old African-American Jehovah's Witness named Bettye Joyce Beal fell at her Washington Park, Missouri, home. The fall caused Bettye Beal to hemorrhage internally, PLUS caused an abruption of the placenta -- an interruption of the baby's blood and oxygen supply. Beal was taken to Belleville Memorial Hospital, where Bettye Beal and her recent second husband, Roger Beal, refused to consent to life-saving blood transfusions for either herself or their yet-to-be born child. Eventually, 103 minutes later, Aviz Jalyn Beal was delivered via an emergency caesarean section, but stop breathing at some point, and was placed on life support. It took Bettye Beal twelve more hours to slowly bleed to death. Belleville Memorial Hospital failed to administer needed blood transfusions to the newborn baby, or seek court intervention to do so. Instead, Aviz Beal was transferred to Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital. There, officials at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital sought and obtained court authorization to administer blood transfusions to the newborn baby. About 33 hours after delivery, Aviz Beal joined his mother on the list of WatchTower martyrs. Unfortunately, the newborn had no voice in that decision. Bettye Brock Beal threw away her career as a special-education teacher, and left both an adult daughter and a son still in junior high school from her previous "Brock" marriage.
Roger Beal proclaimed to reporters, "The baby was not going to eat blood. His mother wouldn't have had it any other way. ... Who is to stop God from having his way? My wife died a hero's death, faithful to Jehovah God." Roger Beal further reported that he, Bettye Beal's mother, and Bettye Beal's two children had all had the opportunity to hold Aviz Beal, and tell the newborn "Hello", "Goodbye", and "We will see you again in Paradise". Interestingly, a week or so later, Roger Beal invited a reporter into the couple's home where that reporter noted that an empty cradle sat in the corner of the Beals' dining room. A card in the cradle read, "The Handiwork of God".
A month later, a local reporter interviewed Todd Arthur Hofmeister, R.N., who was a Jehovah's Witness then employed by local Barnes-Jewish Hospital to help it establish its' bloodless surgery center. Todd A. Hofmeister recited the WatchTower Cult's proof texts used to prohibit the "eating of blood". The scientific/medical genius Todd Hofmeister further explained, "No matter whether you eat blood or take it in through a vein, it's being used for nutritional purposes."
If her life were the only one involved here, the court would not interfere. ... While I recognize that the fetus in this case is not yet viable, and that the state's interest in protecting its life would be less than "compelling" in the context of the abortion cases, this is not such a case. In this case, the state has a highly significant interest in protecting the life of a mid-term fetus, which outweighs the patient's right to refuse a blood transfusion on religious grounds. ...An additional basis for ordering the transfusion may exist in the patient's responsibility to her living minor children but this was not considered in view of the sparseness of the record on that point and the decisive nature of the interests of the unborn fetus.
For the purposes of this proceeding, therefore, the fetus can be regarded as a human being, to whom the court stands in parens patriae, and whom the court has an obligation to protect.
I therefore appointed Dr. Capiello as special guardian of the unborn child and ordered him to exercise his discretion to do all that in his medical judgment was necessary to save its life, including the transfusion of blood into the mother.
The highest court of this State has made it clear that the State has a vital interest in the welfare of children, an interest that will override even the parents' most fervently held religious beliefs ... . The parent, however, may not deprive a child of lifesaving treatment, however well intentioned ... . Even when the parents' decision to decline necessary treatment is based on constitutional grounds, such as religious beliefs, it must yield to the State's interests, asparens patriae, in protecting the health and welfare of the child ... . Of course it is not for the courts to determine the most 'effective' treatment when the parents have chosen among reasonable alternatives ... . But the courts may not permit a parent to deny a child all treatment for a condition which threatens his life ... . The case of a child who may bleed to death because of the parents' refusal to authorize a blood transfusion presents the classic example ... . Accordingly, it is the judgment of this court that the hospital and attending physicians be authorized to give blood transfusions as medically indicated above. ... ...
We start with the premise that every adult of sound mind has the right to determine what happens to his own body. This means that we have the individual right to refuse unwanted medical treatment ... . Therefore, absent some overriding State interest, blood transfusions should not be ordered in the face of a patient's religious objections ... .
Mrs. Paddock is an adult obviously of sound mind and deep religious conviction. Yet she is asking the hospital and her doctors not simply to withhold blood transfusions; she wants them to undertake a surgical procedure which may well result in her loss of a life-threatening amount of blood. She wants the hospital and her doctors to take aggressive medical steps to insure a proper delivery, but does not want the medical personnel to correct a possible grave condition which may unavoidably be encountered in the process. This, it seems to me, puts the hospital and her doctors in an untenable position. It has been observed that "A hospital is not the patient's servant, subject to his orders. The hospital shares the physician's independence of judgment and responsibility for action, and to let a patient die runs counter to the reason for the hospital's existence." ... ...
When a patient puts her doctor in charge of a surgical procedure, she necessarily makes him responsible for the conduct of the operation. Every such grant of responsibility should be accompanied by authority sufficient to properly carry out the delegated responsibilities. Certainly if the medical personnel are requested to undertake a delivery which will entail incisions and this is known to the patient, the attending physicians must be permitted to stabilize the patient from the resulting loss of blood.
It is my judgment therefore that the attending physicians may continue to administer blood transfusions to Mrs. Paddock even after the moment of delivery as is necessary to stabilize her condition.
Mrs. Paddock freedom to direct the course of her own treatment shall be interdicted only in the postoperative period, and only for so long as is medically indicated to stabilize her condition.
Jackson and her husband were Jehovah's Witnesses. One of the tenets of that faith is that a believer may not, under any circumstances, receive blood transfusions. Mercy's medical staff counseled Jackson that there was a 40% - 50% chance that she would need a transfusion. If that need developed, and if there were no transfusion, the doctors told her that they thought it likely she would die during a Cesarean delivery. Jackson and her husband maintained their refusal to consent. They requested that the Cesarean delivery proceed without blood transfusions.
Mercy may have been new to this issue, but the Jacksons were not. Besides the confrontation at the University of Maryland Hospital, this same controversy likely occurred during Jackson's first "unsuccessful pregnancy" [maybe there was plenty of controversy during that one also.] Additionally, Jackson's Jehovah's Witness mother had also wrestled with a hospital over the blood transfusion issue during a surgery.
Mercy Hospital made oral petition to the court for authority to transfuse Jackson if medically necessary. Counsel was appointed for Jackson and court was convened at her bedside. However, the court refused to grant the petition. The Hospital then agreed to perform the cesarean section, and agreed to allow Jackson to die rather than administer necessary transfusions. Fortunately, Jackson's blood loss was not severe, and no transfusion would have been necessary. Both Jackson and child survived.
Uniquely, this time, the hospital appealed, subject to dismissal due to the "mootness" question. The appellate court allowed the appeal on the "repetition" possibility. Mercy Hospital claimed that Jackson's religious convictions were upheld to the detriment of the convictions of the hospital. Mercy Hospital is run by the Sisters of Mercy, a Catholic religious order that "is dedicated to the preservation of life and family through the provision of medical services."
The judgment was affirmed; mainly because a transfusion would have only benefited Jackson, and would have been needed by her only after the baby was delivered. The child's life was supposedly not in danger with or without the transfusion. Jackson's parental obligation to her newborn infant was given little consideration. Mercy attempted twice more to be heard on this case, but neither appeal was fully considered due to "mootness". Interestingly, in one of those failed attempts by Mercy Hospital, Ernestine Jackson was represented by the ACLU.
In the late 1970s, a pregnant Jehovah's Witness being treated at the University of California Medical Center in San Francisco refused to consent to a blood transfusion which the hospital wanted to administer to her unborn fetus. The fetus died while doctors and attorneys were debating all the legalities involved in pursuing court intervention in such a scenario.
In Septmber 1977, an unidentified U. S. Marine sought and obtained court intervention to force his 8-months-pregnant wife, "who was under the influence of a group of Jehovah's Witnesses" in Beaumont, South Carolina, to accept a needed blood transfusion prior to the delivery of their unborn daughter via a planned cesarean delivery. The wife was near death even prior to delivery, and without the transfusion, neither she nor the unborn child would survive. The Overseer of that local JW congregation testified on the wife's behalf that death was preferred to the transfusion.
IN RE UNMARRIED PREGNANT JW and IN RE UNBORN BABY were related 1977 Michigan court cases. In March 1977, Protective Services for Children Division of the Genesee County Department of Social Services filed petitions for custody of BOTH an UNMARRIED 17 year-old African-American pregnant Jehovah's Witness and her unborn 28-week old unborn child. The court order authorized Hurley Medical Center officials and physicians to administer the blood transfusions and to perform any other procedures considered necessary to save the baby and its life-support system. The "mother" had been hospitalized due to a low blood count, and doctors had decided that an early c-section delivery would be best for both parties.
IN RE NEWBORN BABY WAITE was a 1977 Alabama court decision. Prior to delivery in March 1977, a young Jehovah's Witness couple, named Trent Waite and Peggy Waite, were informed that due to Rh factor issues their unborn daughter would need a blood exchange transfusion at birth in order to survive. The Waites refused to consent. As soon as Peggy Waite went into labor, Huntsville Hospital sought court intervention. A local judge placed guardianship of the newborn with Alabama's child welfare agency, and all necessary medical care was authorized at birth.
BROWARD MEDICAL CENTER v. LINDA OKONEWSKI was a 1977 Florida court decision. Limited details. Linda Okonewski was a twenty-one year old pregnant Jehovah's Witness. During the pregnancy, Rh factor issues between mother and child were discovered. Okonewski's obstetrician informed her that for her own safety, and the safety of the baby, that she should deliver via Cesarean section, which could possibly require a blood transfusion, if there was excessive blood loss. Okonewski informed the obstetrician and pediatrician that she would not consent to any blood transfusions for herself or her baby due to her WatchTower beliefs.
Again, details are limited, but the Cesarean was apparently scheduled for September 1. However, Okonewski was a "no-show". The obstetrician had sought a court order to administer a transfusion if such became necessary during surgery. Also, the pediatrician of the unborn infant had sought a second court order in case an exchange transfusion was necessary for the infant due to existent RH problems. After a court hearing, both petitions were granted. Apparently, after learning about such, Okonewski fled the West Palm Beach area. At some point, the judge who issued the two court orders modified such so as to authorize all physicians and hospitals in the state of Florida to do the same in case Okonewski came to them. A summary of these terms was delivered to all medical facilities throughout the state by the various sheriffs in each locale.
However, Okonewski did not stay in Florida. She and her husband flew to Southern California, where Dr. Elliott Zaleznik was willing to both perform the Caesarean and agree that no blood transfusions would be given to Okonewski or her baby, even if such meant their deaths. Okonewski's interstate flight was reported by AP and published in newspapers throughout the United States. Thus, when she was admitted to a hospital in California, the Florida court was notified. The Florida court order was extended to the hospital in California, and a California judge announced that he intended to enforce the extended jurisdiction. When Mrs. Okonewski fled that California hospital, the order was extended to all California hospitals. She then checked back into the California hospital and had the baby by Cesarean section on September 6. Fortunately, no blood transfusion was needed during the Cesarean. The baby also did fine without an exchange or regular transfusion.
The question that was never addressed in this drama was who, on extremely short notice, arranged and financed the interstate flight and the doctor who agreed to allow her and the baby to die if necessary, etc. HMMMMM!!!! The media eventually discovered that the Okonewskis were receiving advice from West Palm Beach physician, Oscar Kelley, who also was a Jehovah's Witness.
"Upon arrival at the age of reason, this person to be may well accept or reject, in whole or part, the faith of his parents but must have that choice. So long as this society and its system of jurisprudence recognize the right of the individual to maintain his life and health inviolate from legal wrong by others, the state must act for those lacking physical capacity, and more importantly, [lacking] legal capacity, to act for themselves."
We have no difficulty in so deciding with respect to the infant child. The more difficult question is whether an adult may be compelled to submit to such medical procedures when necessary to save his life. Here we think it is unnecessary to decide that question in broad terms because the welfare of the child and the mother are so intertwined and inseparable that it would be impracticable to attempt to distinguish between them with respect to the sundry factual patterns which may develop. The blood transfusions (including transfusions made necessary by the delivery) may be administered if necessary to save her life or the life of her child, as the physician in charge at the time may determine.
NEW JERSEY CHILD WELFARE DEPT v. LOUIS BERTINATO and GLORIA BERTINATO was a 1961 New Jersey court decision. Jehovah's Witnesses Louis Bertinato and Gloria Bertinato were expecting their fourth child. Gloria Bertinato had a RH negative blood condition. This case was initiated by the state child welfare department on behalf of the yet unborn child based on the state's prior experiences with the Bertinatos.
IN RE BABY BERTINATO. In 1955, the Bertinatos' second child had needed a blood transfusion soon after birth, but citing their Jehovah's Witnesses beliefs the Bertinatos refused to consent. The state sought and was granted temporary custody and authorization to consent to medically required blood transfusions.
The Bertinatos then had a third child, which also needed an exchange blood transfusion. However, the Bertinatos somehow managed to avoid state intervention, and that child died before legal action could be taken.
Thus, the state decided not to wait until the fourth child was born before pursuing legal action. Two physicians, the Bertinatos' obstetrician and pediatrician, both testified at the hearing and established, beyond a reasonable doubt, that, as a result of this blood condition of the mother, unless a blood transfusion was given the child soon after birth, the child would die, or even if there were the remote possibility of its surviving, it would be born physically or mentally deformed for life. They planned to induce early labor and perform the transfusion to reduce the severity of the baby's blood condition at birth. The Bertinatos' sole objection was intrusion on their religious freedom. The trial court granted the state's petition noting that waiting until the child was born was not practical or sensible given the circumstances. Pertinent excerpts:
There is no doubt of the defendants' good faith as to their religious principles; nor is there any doubt as to their being good and devoted parents, except in their refusal to consent to the transfusions.
Nevertheless, I have no difficulty in finding that, by their refusal to consent to the blood transfusions, defendants are neglecting to provide the child to be born with proper protection within the meaning of [New Jersey law]. ... ... ...
Since the blood transfusions are required in order for the child to live, the defendants' refusal to consent thereto constitutes "neglect to provide the child with proper protection" under the statute. Failure or refusal to take necessary steps to protect a child's life is obviously neglect of the child, even if the parents have not failed in their duty to the child in other respects and even if such failure or refusal is grounded on genuine religious beliefs. The parents' constitutional freedom of religion, although accorded the greatest possible respect, must bend to the paramount interest of the State to act in order to protect the welfare of a child and its right to survive. ... ...
Laws are made for the government of actions. While they cannot constitutionally interfere with mere religious beliefs and opinions, they may interfere with religious practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of the state -- here, the protection of the lives and health of its children. ...
As the United States Supreme Court stated in Prince v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts, ... : 'The right to practice religion freely does not include liberty to expose the community or the child to communicable disease or the latter to ill health or death. ... Parents may be free to become martyrs themselves. But it does not follow they are free, in identical circumstances, to make martyrs of their children before they have reached the age of full and legal discretion when they can make that choice for themselves.' ... ... ...
Other courts have had no hesitancy in finding neglect and awarding custody to others, for the purpose of effecting blood transfusions, where parents of the same religious faith and beliefs as defendants have refused to consent to such transfusions for a child requiring the same. I am in complete accord with the reasoning and holdings of these cases. ... ... The present proceeding, however, presents an additional problem not involved in the foregoing cases. They were concerned with children already born. The instant matter was heard prior to the birth of the child. Does the fact that the child has not yet been born mean that [New Jersey law] is inapplicable and the court is without jurisdiction? I think not. ... ... ...
IN RE DANIEL JOSEPH SMOCK was a January 1960 Indiana court decision. Prior to the delivery of Danny Joe Smock in February 1960, at Indianapolis' Methodist Hospital, Richard Smock and Delores Smock, both age 28, of Clayton, Indiana, knew that their Rh factor incompatibility would likely required that their newborn son receive an exchange blood transfusion. Although the Smocks already had had two surviving children (can't help but wonder if prior to their conversion to the Cult), they had lost their first child due to Rh factor incompatibility, in 1951. Because the Smocks refused to provide the hospital and doctors with advanced consent to administer transfusions to their newborn, their doctors sought and ultimately attained court-authorization well in advance of the delivery. Interestingly, at that two-hour court hearing, the Presiding Minister at the Danville, Indiana Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, named John Hathaway, cast a curse on the court, stating that if the Judge ruled against the Smocks, "God judge you, the witnesses, and the attorneys". Three days after Daniel J. Smock was born, Danny received the life-saving exchange transfusion.
IN THE MATTER OF PATRICIA ARMSTRONG was a 1958 California court decision. In April 1958, Patricia Armstrong, a 19 year-old expectant mother, who already had one child, was operated on for a ruptured spleen at Downey Community Hospital. The surgery had to be performed without benefit of a blood transfusion due to the refusal of Patricia and her husband, Robert Armstrong, 20. Two days after the surgery, Patricia was in danger of dying from a severely low blood count. However, she and her husband, supported by his mother, two brothers, and Overseers from their Jehovah's Witness congregation, refused to consent to the life-saving transfusions.
At that point, Patricia Armstrong's own mother, Mrs. Michael Biggers of El Cajon, who was NOT a JW, had had enough and hired attorneys to petition a local court for authorization to administer life-saving blood transfusions to her daughter over the objections of the Jehovah's Witness In-laws. A local Los Angeles Judge rushed to the hospital and conducted an emergency hearing in which Armstrong was declared a ward of the court. Life-saving transfusions were ordered barely in time. The judge based his decision on concern for the unborn child. Reading from an affidavit submitted by one of Armstrong's doctors, the judge quoted: "Failure to accept the blood transfusion will result in severe abnormality to the unborn child and possibly affect the lives of both mother and child." While his pregnant wife laid in intensive care, listed in critical condition, pipefitter Robert Armstrong sobbed to reporters that the Judge had violated his wife's religious beliefs. Robert's mother, Elsie Finley, told reporters, "We're just trying to help our daughter. Pat didn't want a transfusion."
In September 1963, in Pocatello, Idaho, the local newspaper was following the story of a hospitalized, unidentified Jehovah's Witness Wife who was suffering with unspecified hemorrhaging at the local Bannock Memorial Hospital, while refusing to consent to needed blood transfusions. The newspaper eventually reported that JW Wife's Husband had appeared before a local court and requested that the Judge issue a court order authorizing blood transfusions for JW Wife. The local Judge refused to issue such an order -- presumably because JW Wife was a competent adult, and because Husband neither presented, nor did the Judge consider any possible parental or other legal obligations which might exceed JW Wife's constitutional right to choose to die.
Interestingly, the very next day, the newspaper retracted the previous day's report based on a statement made to them by the Presiding Minister of the Pocatello Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, named Francis N. Scharfen. Francis Scharfen revealed that JW Wife already had been successfully operated on by an unidentified new surgeon whom had agreed that no blood transfusions would be administered, and that JW Wife was now in stable condition. However, the DUMBASS Francis Scharfen could not leave well enough alone. Francis Scharfen further alleged that the newspaper's previous day's report that Husband had went before the local court seeking authorization for blood transfusions for JW Wife was INACCURATE. Francis Scharfen claimed that Husband actually had appeared before the Judge to seek a court order which would require JW Wife's primary physician/surgeon to violate his own personal and professional beliefs and go ahead and treat/operate on JW Wife without the use of blood transfusions.
DUMBASS Francis N. Scharfen was either too STUPID, or too IGNORANT, or BOTH, to understand that his last statement made this scenario appear even more outrageous to the general public than it already was. Francis Scharfen also was too stupid to understand that the general public easily could see that he had just LIED to the newspaper. While Husband may have been upset enough to request a court order forcing the original surgeon to operate without having transfusions as a safety backup, it is plain to see that Husband would have done so ONLY AFTER the Judge had denied his original request for a court order authorizing blood transfusions for JW Wife.
Readers have not spent enough time on our two websites if they do not understand that JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES ARE THE BIGGEST LIARS IN THE WORLD, and the higher the position in the CULT that a JW holds, the bigger the LIAR they are!!! It is this FACT that essentially proves that the WatchTower Cult's real founder and sponsor is SATAN THE DEVIL, who continues to mentor the Cult's top leaders.
IN RE FETUS BROWN v. DARLENE BROWN was a 1997 Illinois state appellate court decision. WatchTower attorney Donald T. Ridley represented Darlene Brown, while a separate Illinois attorney filed an Amicus Curiae brief on behalf of the WatchTower Bible & Tract Society. In June 1996, then 26 years old Darlene Brown was approximately 35 weeks pregnant with her third child. Brown was admitted into Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Harvey, Illinois, to have a cystoscopy and then to remove a urethral mass. Brown did not discuss with Dr. Walsh that she was a Jehovah's Witness before the surgery.
During the surgery, Brown lost approximately 700 cubic centimeters of blood, so Dr. Walsh ordered three units of blood for transfusion. Once the blood arrived in the operating room, Brown, who was fully conscious and alert during the procedure, refused the blood, explaining that she was a Jehovah's Witness. The doctors believed Brown was competent to refuse the blood and they completed the surgery using other techniques to control her bleeding. By the end of the surgery, Brown had lost almost 1,500 cubic centimeters of blood.
After the surgery, Brown had a hemoglobin level of 4.4 grams per deciliter (9 to 11 or 12 grams per deciliter would be normal for a woman at this stage of pregnancy). Dr. Walsh explained that Brown's low hemoglobin level and the abrupt change in that level posed a significant, life-threatening risk both to Brown and to the fetus (a/k/a her unborn baby). After consulting with Brown and her husband, Lester Brown, as well as physicians at other hospitals, Dr. Walsh attempted to use alternative medical procedures, compatible with the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses, to raise Brown's hemoglobin level. Unfortunately, Brown's hemoglobin level continued to drop. Dr. Walsh spoke with numerous hematologists and oncologists. Dr. Walsh also spoke with a renowned researcher about other possible treatments. At the time of the hearing, it was Dr. Walsh's medical opinion that if Darlene Brown did not have a blood transfusion, her chances of survival, as well as those of the fetus, were only 5%. On June 28, 1996, the State filed a petition for adjudication of wardship and a motion for temporary custody of Baby Doe, a fetus. A hearing was held the same day. Although Brown contends that she was never served, the Browns were represented by counsel at the hearing and Lester Brown was present. The court began by appointing the public guardian of Cook County, over his objection, to represent the fetus (Fetus Brown). Next, uncertain as to jurisdiction under the Juvenile Court Act, the court found it inappropriate to proceed under the State's petition for adjudication of wardship. Thus, invoking the court's equitable powers, the State filed a "Petition for Hearing on Whether a Temporary Custodian can be Appointed to Consent to a Medical Procedure: To Wit Blood Transfusion."
At the hearing, Dr. Walsh testified to the facts of Darlene Brown's condition as indicated above. Dr. Walsh also stated that, from the blood transfusion, Darlene Brown had a 1 in 1,000 risk of contracting hepatitis and a 1 in 5,000 or 10,000 risk of contracting HIV. Dr. Walsh explained that the blood transfusion was necessary, not to get blood to the fetus, but rather to get oxygen to the placenta via the mother's blood. Dr. Walsh explained that, while there were other methods of oxygenation, the problem was that the maternal blood was the only medium for transporting the oxygen to the placenta.
Kurt Johnson, the senior vice-president and chief operating officer of Ingalls Memorial Hospital, testified that he was prepared to accept temporary custody of the fetus in order to consent to the blood transfusion. The parties stipulated that, if called to testify, Lester Brown would confirm that Darlene Brown understood the risks to herself and the fetus if she did not accept the blood transfusion. The parties further stipulated that Lester Brown supported Darlene Brown's decision not to accept the blood transfusion. At the time of the hearing, the Browns had been married for two years and both worked to take care of Darlene's eight-year-old and three-year-old daughters. The parties also stipulated that, if anything happened to Darlene Brown, Lester would continue to take care of the two surviving children and both Darlene's and Lester's parents would be available for care and support of the children. The Browns then rested.
The trial court granted the State's petition and appointed the hospital administrator as "temporary custodian of Fetus Brown, with the right to consent to one or more blood transfusions for Darlene Brown, when advised of such necessity by any attending physician." Darlene Brown was transfused with six units of packed red blood cells beginning on the night of June 28 and continuing to approximately noon on June 29. Darlene Brown tried to prevent the administration of the transfusion; requiring the hospital to forcibly restrained and sedated her. On July 1, 1996, Darlene Brown delivered a healthy baby, and both baby and mother were later discharged from the hospital.
On July 8, 1996, the court held a status hearing, and discovering that all had ended well, the court vacated the temporary custody order, dismissed the State's petition, and closed the case. However, with the advice of the WatchTower Society Legal Department no doubt, Darlene and Lester Brown filed an appeal to challenge the previous circuit court's order appointing a temporary custodian for the fetus with the ability to consent, on Darlene Brown's behalf, to a blood transfusion for the viable fetus. They wanted to make sure that an unborn fetus never again interfered with WatchTower doctrine, at least in the state of Illinois. This Illinois appellate court ruled that the trial court erred in appointing a temporary custodian for Fetus Brown, with the ability to consent on behalf of Darlene Brown to a blood transfusion for the viable fetus, stating in part:
"... While the factual issues are moot, the remaining legal issue satisfies the public policy exception to the Illinois mootness doctrine. ... The issue is a public one requiring authoritative determination for the future guidance of public officials, especially given the emergency and expedited nature of such proceedings. ...
"... on appeal, Darlene Brown challenges the propriety of the trial court's order appointing a temporary custodian to consent, on her behalf, to blood transfusions for the benefit of her viable fetus, Fetus Brown. Darlene Brown contends that, under federal and Illinois law, as a competent adult, she has an absolute right to refuse medical advice and treatment. In contrast, the State urges that its substantial interest in the viable fetus outweighs the minimal invasion presented by the blood transfusion. The public guardian also appeals, seeking guidance regarding its role as protector of fetal rights, ... ... ...
"... In Stallman, the court determined that a tort cause of action may not be maintained by a fetus against its mother for the unintentional infliction of prenatal injuries. ... In so deciding, the Stallman court reasoned that 'the law will not treat a fetus as an entity which is entirely separate from its mother. ... Moreover, the court stated that, in Illinois, a fetus cannot have rights superior to those of its mother. ... The court thus held that a pregnant woman owes no legally cognizable duty to her developing fetus. ...
"Following the reasoning of Stallman, the Baby Boy Doe court held that Illinois courts should not engage in a balancing of the maternal and fetal rights such that 'a woman's competent choice in refusing medical treatment as invasive as a cesarean section during her pregnancy must be honored, even in circumstances where the choice may be harmful to her fetus.' ... In reaching this decision, the Baby Boy Doe court applied the rationale of Stallman to determine: 'A woman's right to refuse invasive medical treatment, derived from her rights to privacy, bodily integrity, and religious liberty, is not diminished during pregnancy. The woman retains the same right to refuse invasive treatment, even of lifesaving or other beneficial nature, that she can exercise when she is not pregnant. The potential impact upon the fetus is not legally relevant; to the contrary, the Stallman court explicitly rejected the view that the woman's rights can be subordinated to fetal rights.'
"... the Baby Boy Doe court left open the question of whether blood transfusions, involving 'relatively noninvasive and risk-free' procedures, could permissibly be ordered in such a circumstance. ...
"... Darlene Brown urges that she holds an absolute right to refuse medical treatment grounded in Illinois common and statutory law, and based on the Illinois and United States Constitutions. Brown also argues that the Baby Boy Doe court's determination that blood transfusions are 'minimally invasive' is not a valid legal basis for divining when a patient's right to refuse treatment will be followed. Specifically, Brown argues that to qualify the patient's choice in refusing treatment undermines the patient's authority to make a competent treatment decision.
"Illinois recognizes a common law right of competent adults to refuse medical treatment. ... The right to refuse such treatment is based on the doctrine of informed consent, which requires physicians to obtain consent before performing any medical surgery or procedure upon a patient. ... The right to refuse treatment anticipates all forms of medical treatment, including life-saving and life-sustaining procedures ..., and includes the refusal of blood transfusions. ...
"The United States Supreme Court has stated that a person's interest in refusing medical treatment has constitutional underpinnings in the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment to the United States Constitution. In Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health, ...(1990), the United States Supreme Court explained that a patient has a liberty interest in refusing medical treatment which must be balanced in a given case against the relevant State interests. ...
"The right to refuse medical treatment, however, is not absolute. ... The State may intervene in a given case if the State's interests outweigh the interests of the patient in refusing medical treatment. This is true whether the refusal is based on common law or constitutional principles. ...
"In this case, the circuit court considered the four state interests ... and determined: (1) the transfusion was necessary to preserve the life of Darlene and the fetus; ... (3) the State's interest in protecting third parties was strong because Darlene has two minor children, ages three and eight, who would be orphaned if she did not receive the transfusion; and (4) the transfusion procedure would be minimally invasive and could 'be administered without additional pain or intrusion because Darlene already had two intravenous sites.' ... ...
"... Lester Brown, the natural father of the three-year-old, supported Darlene's decision to refuse consent. While there is no evidence in the record regarding the eight-year-old's natural father, Lester Brown as well as his and Darlene's parents all were willing to help support both minor children. Thus, the State's interest in protecting the living minor children is not determinative. We therefore encounter the ultimate issue, the State's interest in protecting the viable fetus. In Roe v. Wade, the United States Supreme Court explained that the state maintains an 'important and legitimate interest in preserving and protecting the health of the pregnant woman ... [and] the potentiality of human life.'... ... ...
"... while refusal to consent to a blood transfusion for an infant would constitute neglect ... without a determination by the Illinois legislature that a fetus is a minor for purposes of the Juvenile Court Act, we cannot separate the mother's valid treatment refusal from the potential adverse consequences to the viable fetus.
"Consequently, following the lead of Baby Boy Doe and Stallman, and in this case balancing the mother's right to refuse medical treatment against the State's substantial interest in the viable fetus, we hold that the State may not override a pregnant woman's competent treatment decision, including refusal of recommended invasive medical procedures, to potentially save the life of the viable fetus. We disagree with the Baby Boy Doe court's suggestion that a blood transfusion constitutes a 'relatively noninvasive and risk-free procedure' ..., and find that a blood transfusion is an invasive medical procedure that interrupts a competent adult's bodily integrity. We thus determine that the circuit court erred in ordering Brown to undergo the transfusion on behalf of the viable fetus. ... ...
"Although the public guardian is correct that Baby Boy Doe held that the mother's rights and the fetus' rights may not be balanced, this case did not involve such a balancing. Instead, the issue as framed in this case involved the mother's right to refuse medical treatment as considered against the State's interest in the viable fetus. The asserted legal interests did not require the public guardian's representation of the separate, putative interests of the viable fetus. Thus, the circuit court erred in appointing the public guardian to represent the interests of the viable fetus in this case. In conclusion, the circuit court erred in appointing a temporary custodian for Fetus Brown with the authority to consent to blood transfusions for Darlene Brown and erred in appointing the public guardian as guardian ad litem for Fetus Brown."
Blood Transfusions: A History and Evaluation of the Religious, Biblical, and Medical Objections (Jehovah's Witnesses perspective)