MATURE MINORS UNBORN CHILDREN PARENTAL OBLIGATIONS ADULT CHILDREN
MINOR CHILDREN and BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS
1980s Court Cases
PAGE 3 of 6
2000s Cases 1990s Cases 1970s Cases 1960s Cases 1950s Cases
JEHOVAH'S WITNESS PARENTS WILL REFUSE TO CONSENT TO A BLOOD TRANSFUSION
EVEN IF THEIR REFUSAL MEANS THEIR CHILD WILL DIE
In the March 1, 1981 issue of the WATCHTOWER magazine, the Governing Body of the WatchTower Cult published a brief article, entitled Finding Spiritual Contentment in Denmark, which was intended to encourage Jehovah's Witness Parents worldwide to ABDUCT and KIDNAP their children from hospitals if and when hospital staff ever attempted to administer life-saving blood transfusions to those children against the JW Parents' wishes -- even when that hospital had received legal guardianship:
However, in Denmark there is one area where feelings have been running high, perhaps more so than in other places. This involves the stand taken by Jehovah’s Witnesses with reference to blood transfusions. This question was dramatically publicized in March 1975, when a young couple took their three-year-old son from the children’s hospital in Copenhagen. They did so because the doctor, in order to administer a blood transfusion against the wishes of the parents, had legal custody taken away from them.
Knowing that they most likely would be pursued by the police, the parents sought refuge with some of their fellow believers. At the same time, they tried to find a doctor who was willing to treat the child without the use of blood. A national police hunt, with raids, ransacking and border controls, took place. This was accompanied by a veritable persecution campaign in the press, with headlines such as "Child Killers," "Religious Fanatics" and "Cynical Parents." Even bomb threats and cases of outright violence occurred. A couple of clergymen and a member of Parliament raised the question of whether the authorities should not take action against Jehovah’s Witnesses. Meanwhile, the parents did find a doctor who was willing to respect their faith and to use alternate methods of treatment. Today the boy is alive and healthy.
IN RE BABY GIRL BOOKER was a June 1989 Tennessee court case in which James Booker and Lonna Renee Booker of Dickson, Tennessee, refused to grant consent for their newborn daughter to receive necessary life-saving blood transfusions. Baby Girl Booker was born 12 weeks premature at Nashville's Baptist Hospital, and weighed only 33 ounces. Hospital officials were forced to seek legal custody of the newborn, which was granted by Judge James Everett. Multiple blood transfusions were required to save the baby's life.
Satan's spokesperson from WatchTower World Headquarters, Fred Rusk, provided the news media with the typical litany of quotes portraying the JW parents as "the victims" -- stating that forcing blood transfusions on an unwilling patient was equivalent to a "forcible rape", and was a "moral atrocity"; stating that while the JW Parents were absolved by "Jehovah" of any responsibility for this physical "assault" on their baby, that the hospital officials and doctors would be held responsible by "Jehovah"; while stating that Jehovah's Witnesses were not fanatics, not unreasonable, and not against medical care; BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. May Fred Rusk rot in HELL!!!!
The WatchTower Cult's local Tennessee representative was Dr. Charles Albury, a Nashville area oral surgeon and Jehovah's Witness Minister, who asked the Judge to instruct Baptist Hospital to find others ways to aid the 33 ounce premature newborn besides administering blood transfusions --- BECAUSE blood transfusions allegedly sometimes caused shock and killed babies. Baby Girl Booker remained at Baptist Hospital for 60 days before being sent home healthy and weighing nearly 8 pounds.
LUIS ALVARADO and CARLOTTA ALVARADO v. ELMHURST HOSPITAL I was a 1989 New York court decision. Luis Alvarado was born suffering brain seizures after being delivered via caesarean on September 6, 1989, at Elmhurst Hospital. The baby was transferred to Mount Sinai Hospital, where on September 8, he was diagnosed as clinically brain dead. He was then returned to Elmhurst Hospital, where his Jehovah's Witness Parents, Luis Alvarado and Carlotta Alvarado, of Queens, refused to allow the removal of life support. Apparently, in trying to be "polite" during a bad situation, a doctor asked for the Alvarado's permission to remove life support in a situation where the doctor or another hospital official should have simply informed the parents that life support was going to be removed. The hospital's lapse in judgment resulted in the baby's corpse remaining on life support for over 40 days.
The hospital was also forced to spend time and money fighting the Alvarados in court, which further placed the hospital in a nightmare position of appearing to be insensitive to the whole situation. It was either that or start setting the precedent of allowing the families of patients to decide when a patient is legally dead rather than medical professionals. Dr. Lydia Eviatar, the chief of pediatric neurology at Long Island Jewish Hospital was eventually appointed by the court to examine the baby. Eviatar said the baby was brain dead, and that she saw no chance for the brain to recover. ''The baby does not breathe on its own and does not have any cognitive or motor function,'' said Eviatar. On October 18, 1989, the court overruled the Alvarados claim that New York's definition of death as ''irreversible cessation of brain function'' was unconstitutional and deprived families of due process, because the definition was established by the state's health department rather than the state's legislature, and because families have no say-so in the removal of life support.
LUIS ALVARADO and CARLOTTA ALVARADO v. ELMHURST HOSPITAL II. The Alvarados vowed to sue Elmhurst Hospital for medical malpractice for not performing the caesarean sooner, which they claimed led to the baby suffering the seizures. The Alvarados also claimed that the hospital knew that Carlotta Alvarado, 36, had diabetes, and that an earlier pregnancy with Luiz Alvarado had ended in miscarriage. Outcome of that second lawsuit unknown.
IN THE MATTER OF DARIAN PAGAN was a 1989 New York court decision. In 1987, 2-year-old Darian Pagan, of Brooklyn, New York, was diagnosed with leukemia. For two years, Darian Pagan was given chemotherapy at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Then, in 1989, for a reason we can only suspect (conversion), Darian's parents, David Pagan, age 36, and Migdalia Pagan, age 35, withdrew consent for Darian to receive the blood transfusions given in conjunction with the chemotherapy. The hospital sought and obtained a court order to continue treating Darian Pagan.
David Pagan then KIDNAPPED Darian from the hospital. "Someone" had told the Pagans that a Dr. Jan Van Eys, at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, in Houston, Texas, could treat Darian without using blood transfusions. David Pagan attempted to drive cross-country to Houston with his four year-old son , when a telephone call to "someone" in Brooklyn revealed that his wife, Migdalia Pagan, a/k/a "Dolly Pagan", had been jailed for two days, because the judge did not believe that she did not know where was the father and son. David and Darian, who could not afford to fly to Houston, then flew home to Brooklyn. The judge was actually sympathetic. He released Dolly Pagan from jail. He gave David Pagan a suspended sentence. Although Darian Pagan was returned to the hospital under protective custody, the Pagans were allowed supervised visits. Later, the judge even allowed the Pagans to seek out treatment at the Houston hospital. Outcome unknown.
Within a few months, the entire Pagan Family traveled to California where they were privileged to spend an evening with MICHAEL JACKSON at a circus performance. Migdalia Pagan related how Darian Pagan wanted to meet fellow Jehovah's Witness MICHAEL JACKSON, and how Darian Pagan watched all of MICHAEL JACKSON's music videos over and over, and how four year-old Darian Pagan even could "moonwalk". The WatchTower Cult must have been so proud!!!
IN THE MATTER OF SUZANNE KOERNER was a 1989 New Jersey court decision. In October 1989, while awaiting the school bus, 15-year-old Suzanne Koerner of Monroeville, New Jersey, was struck by an automobile. Suzanne Koerner sustained severe injuries to an arm and a leg. At Cooper Hospital University Medical Center, Suzanne Koerner and her Jehovah's Witness Mother, Susan Koerner, both refused to consent to needed blood transfusions. After emergency surgery performed with blood transfusions, a leg wound remained open, and Suzanne Koerner continued to lose blood. The hospital then petitioned the local court to authorize necessary blood transfusions.
INTERESTINGLY, in what the media report may have failed to realize was an attempt at a "mature minor" argument, the Koerner's attorney, Carl A. Price, led his arguments against the granting of authorization for blood transfusions with an affidavit from Suzanne Koerner which stated her awareness of the gravity of her condition, but asked that no
transfusion of blood or blood products be given, "even if it means that I would
pass away". However, the competent judge cited PRINCE and other pertinent cases that the freedom to believe was absolute, but that the right to exercise that
freedom was not. He ruled that the court must protect the best interests of the
child, and ordered that the hospital administrator act as special
medical guardian for the purpose of deciding about a transfusion. No mention of a JW Father in this case. Outcome unknown.
IN THE MATTER OF BRIAN ROSSI was a 1989 California court decision. Child of Jehovah's Witness Parents, Brian Rossi aka Bryan Rossi, suffered from aplastic anemia -- a condition in which the bone marrow fails to produce blood cells needed to fight infection and support other vital functions -- as did one or more of Brian Rossi's siblings. See KIDNAPPING, INTERSTATE FLIGHT, and DEATH of sister Elizabeth Rossi in our 1973 case summaries.
In April 1989, JW Parents Gary Rossi and Jan Rossi, whom lived in the Antelope Valley section of the San Bernardino Mountains, and reportedly HOME-SCHOOLED their children, took Brian to Loma Linda University Hospital for his routine weekly blood test. There, tests determined that Brian was in need of a blood transfusion. Gary Rossi and Jan Rossi refused to consent. Already familiar with the Rossi Family, Loma Linda and county officials told Gary Rossi and Jan Rossi that Brian was in protective custody. Doctors and a county social worker then telephoned a judge to obtain authorization for the needed blood transfusion. However, Gary Rossi and Jan Rossi then fled with Brian from Loma Linda. Sheriff's deputies went to the Rossi Family compound where Brian Rossi was taken into protective custody and immediately airflighted to Loma Linda University Medical Center for a court-ordered transfusion. Yet another instance of JW FOOLS creating additional burdens and expenses for the American judicial, medical, and law enforcement communities.
Gary Rossi denied that Brian's life was in danger, and told reporters that he believed that the doctors had rushed into giving his son the transfusion before it was necessary, and that the court order had taken his rights away. "They're making us look like neglectful parents mishandling a situation and like religious fanatics, which we're not," Gary Rossi said.
The Loma Linda spokesperson described this Jehovah's Witness case as "routine", and said similar emergency court orders were issued over blood transfusion refusals about four or five times a year. "It happens every day in hospitals across the country."
WatchTower Cult HQ spokesperson and FOOL, Merton Campbell, stated, "The Bible says you do not eat blood. I think the reasonableness of this is being shown today when it has been determined that there are many problems with blood, such as AIDS, hepatitis."
IN THE MATTER OF NEWBORN BABY CABAN was a 1989 New Jersey court decision. "Baby Caban" was born six weeks prematurely at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden, New Jersey, in October 1989. When doctors informed the unidentified Willingboro, New Jersey Jehovah's Witnesses Parents, surnamed CABAN, that "Baby Caban" might need a blood transfusion to save his life, the Jehovah's Witness Parents refused to give their consent even if it meant that the newborn would die. The hospital then petitioned the local court for authorization to provide all needed medical care. Jehovah's Witness Attorney Carl. A. Price stated that the Caban's religious beliefs equated the ingestion of blood with rape and adultery. The court granted the petition authorizing transfusions only in the emergency situation that such were needed to save the newborn boy's life. In making his ruling, the judge cited PRINCE, and stated: "Parents may choose to become martyrs themselves, but they cannot make martyrs of their children. The right to belief is absolute, but the exercise of that belief is not." Outcome unknown.
IN RE STEPHEN KYLES was a 1989 Iowa court case. In October 1989,
the Jehovah's Witness Evans M. Kyles family of Downers Grove,
Illinois, were traveling on I-35 near Osceola, Iowa, when they
were involved in a three car accident. All six members of the Kyles Family were transported to Clarke County Hospital in Osceola. While
four family members, including JW Mother Thelma Kyles, suffered only
minor injuries, 13 year-old Stephen Kyles and his father, Evans
Kyles, age 30s, suffered serious injuries. After denying ER doctors the use of
blood transfusions, Stephen Kyles and Evans Kyles were transferred to
Iowa Methodist Hospital, in Des Moines. While Evans Kyles apparently recovered, Stephen Kyles' internal injuries and hemorrhaging
quickly led to his death. Although the ER trauma surgeon at Iowa Methodist
Hospital requested that administrators seek court intervention, he did
not have time to wait for such. That surgeon went ahead and attempted
to save Stephen Kyles' life, but Kyles' injuries, multiplied by the
delayed treatment, combined in Stephen Kyles' death.
Afterwards, a WW2 DRAFT-DODGER (see UNITED STATES v. WILLIAM C. WALDEN)
and WatchTower Hospital Liaison Committee Spokesperson
from Des Moines, Iowa, named William C. Walden, joined by Evans Kyles, raised holy
hell with hospital staff and administrators about the blood transfusions
administered to Stephen Kyles. Evans Kyles confronted the surgeon who had done
his best to save 13 year-old Stephen Kyles' life, "I hope you didn't let my boy see the
bottle. It would tear him apart. We told you and told you."
The WatchTower HLC FOOL Bill Walden acted as if this whole situation was some kind of game, whining to
the media, "We feel we didn't have an opportunity to contest the
IN RE JOHN GOLDEN was a 1989 Florida court case. In April 1989, 5 year-old John Golden was being treated at Plantation General Hospital suffering from cancer and a progressive neurological disorder. Jehovah's Witness Mother, Lori Golden, of Tamarac, Florida, refused to consent to required blood transfusions. An emergency hearing was conducted via telephone. A judge authorized the hospital to administer blood transfusions as needed. Outcome unknown, but prognosis not positive.
IN THE MATTER OF TARA CABRERA was a 1989 Pennsylvania appellate court decision. In February 1988, African-American JW Parents, Frank D. Ingram and Virginia Ingram, transported their six-year-old daughter Tara Cabrera to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for diagnosis and treatment for her fever, limp, and pain in her hip. Dr. Kwaku Ohene-Frempong, the Director of the Sickle Cell Program and Hematology at Children's Hospital, was the attending physician for incoming patients diagnosed as having sickle-cell anemia. After a series of neurological and orthopedic tests, a CAT scan revealed evidence of "an old stroke" in Tara's brain. Her symptoms were diagnosed as the recurrence of her initial stroke. In order to calculate the extent of damage sustained by Tara, Dr. Frempong recommended a blood transfusion to reduce the number of sickle-cells in her system. This would avail the doctor the opportunity to gauge more accurately the damage caused by the stroke(s), and, thus, prescribe a course of treatment.
Tara's parents, Frank and Virginia Ingram, were Jehovah's Witnesses, and they refused to give permission for Tara to receive a blood transfusion, on both medical and religious grounds. As a result, Children's Hospital filed a petition with Common Pleas Court seeking its appointment as special guardian to Tara to consent to a series of blood transfusions.
A hearing was held on March 2, 1988, in which Doctor Frempong testified that Tara's condition was consistent with other children with sickle-cell anemia who have had strokes and are not transfused, i.e., 70% of them will have a recurrent stroke and 80% of those recurrences will take place within the first three years after the initial stroke. As a consequence thereof, Doctor Frempong noted the likelihood of increased risk of crippling and mental retardation. As for the risk of death in such cases, he stated: "The risk of death is smaller in children and much higher" in adults. The "only" treatment presently available for the illness, as observed by Doctor Frempong, was blood transfusions, which, it was stated, would prevent strokes from recurring in 90% of the cases.
Although there were inherent risks in administering transfusions, Doctor Frempong believed it "may be the best of two evils" in the treatment of sickle-cell patients. Once the tests were conducted, the doctor would have a better idea of the damage to the blood vessels in the brain, and what risks would be involved if transfusions were not ordered.
Virginia Ingram appeared at the hearing and voiced her objections to the transfusions. Her religious arguments were linked to her WatchTower beliefs which did not subscribe to the use of blood in any form in the individual. As for her medical objections, she pointed to the fact that Doctor Frempong would not "guarantee" her that Tara would not die immediately after the transfusions. Since she perceived her daughter to be in good health, she saw no need for the transfusions.
The court permitted Children's Hospital to conduct the transfusions to assess Tara's brain damage, if any. Then, once that was completed, it could be determined whether transfusions would be in order for four years or more to minimize a recurrence of another stroke. At the follow-up hearing held on April 5, 1988, Doctor Frempong testified that the results of Tara's arteriogram indicated that she had blood vessel damage to the right and left sides of her brain. This type of damage was consistent with "sickle cell children who have had strokes." As for Tara, who clearly showed signs of "major" vessel disease, Doctor Frempong opined that the probability of recurrence of a stroke would be in the 70-80 percentile range.
Before the court made its decision on whether to order additional transfusions, Frank and Virginia Ingram were afforded the chance to secure opinions from other doctors as to alternative forms of treatment for this child. As a result thereof, a hearing was held on the 29th day of April, 1988, wherein Virginia Ingram presented evidence from two doctors supposedly supportive of her contention that blood transfusions, and their inherent risks, were not the only means by which to minister to Tara's condition.
The first physician was Doctor Pourfar, a hematologist residing in New York City. Virginia Ingram and Tara visited him, and he examined Tara and her hospital records. He recommended, in his two-page hand-written letter, that transfusions should be implemented only if Tara's hemoglobin (Hb) level dropped below 7.5 grams. He noted that folic acid and aspirin should be continued to be administered to the patient.
The second doctor, William H. Pogue, was a hematologist from New Britain, Connecticut, and he prepared a two-page typed report in which he made reference to alternative methods of treating Tara, e.g., antiplatelet agents (coumadin, aspirin and sulfinpyrazone). However, he conceded in his report that he could "find no evidence in the medical literature of any systematic study of alternative therapy." In essence, it would appear that Doctor Pogue was espousing in his report the use of antiplatelet agents as an alternative therapeutic choice to blood transfusion therapy. Even though none had been tested, he believed the risk involved was no more acute than the present therapy with blood transfusion, the efficacy of which no one could "guarantee" in preventing another stroke.
When Doctor Frempong took the stand, he commented that Doctor Pourfar's recommendation that Tara might need a transfusion only if her hemoglobin dropped below 7.5 was "utter nonsense". Since the average blood count for most patients is between 6.0 and 9.0, at any one time, about 40% would have hemoglobin that low and still be healthy and without the need for any blood transfusion. Thus, remarked Doctor Frempong, Doctor Pourfar "is confused about the reason why we may be recommending transfusions for Tara."
As for Doctor Pogue's report, Doctor Frempong noted that some of the alternative therapies mentioned came from a study done at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. There, two patients were mentioned as having taken aspirin and sulfinpyrazone, but these were two patients who could not be transfused for various reasons. This treatment, observed Doctor Frempong, has never been tested in any research study or in any published study, and nobody has ever reported that such treatment would prevent strokes in a sickle-cell patient. It was mentioned simply as a fact about two patients. It was not cited as an alternative therapy that anybody should try. More particular, the doctor stated, the dispensation of folic acid, aspirin and coumadin in a sickle-cell case was considered to be a "risky" therapy since these medications dealt with the thinning of blood and sickle-cell disease was not a blood-clotting problem.
Doctor Frempong testified to the following risks attendant to any blood transfusion:
(1) The contraction of the AIDS virus. The statistical probability of doing so is one in forty thousand.
(2) The contraction of infectious hepatitis. The statistical probability of doing so is one in two thousand.
(3) The body may reject the transfusion.
(4) Iron overload may occur in the body; over a period of 15 to 20 years of transfusions, the body stores an excessive amount of iron which may endanger one's liver and heart. However, this is treatable.
Lastly, Doctor Frempong mentioned that if Tara did not receive the transfusion therapy, albeit she would not be in "imminent danger of death", the witness did think she was in "danger of recurrent strokes". The consequences of which would be that Tara would be exposing herself, in a percentage range of 70% to 80%, to: (a) losing her current level of intellectual functioning; (b) becoming "physically crippled"; (c) going blind, possibly; and (d) losing her ability to speak.
In addition, the guardian ad litem was present and stated, after speaking with the people involved and members of the medical community (e.g., a Doctor Stuart and Doctor Frempong), the therapy described by Doctor Frempong for Tara was "the standard therapy which is recommended and ordered by experts in sickle-cell disease". He was in favor of having transfusions administered to Tara since the state of medical knowledge indicated no effective alternative, i.e., hypertransfusion therapy was the "only" way to protect Tara.
After consideration of the aforementioned evidence, the court below denied Children's Hospital its petition seeking appointment as a special guardian for Tara. However, with the filing of exceptions to the order of court, a request for another hearing to present additional medical testimony was granted.
On May 25, 1988, a hearing was conducted in which Doctor Marie Jean Stuart, Chief of Hematology at Saint Christopher's Hospital, testified that there was a 16%-18% chance that Tara would die within one week to one year following her last stroke if transfusion therapy was not commenced. She also believed that Tara had an 80% probability of having a recurrent stroke because of her having suffered two prior strokes without transfusion. Further, Tara was considered to be a candidate to suffer severe neurological deficiencies or other complications relating to stroke, i.e., death.
Doctor Stuart concurred in Doctor Frempong's transfusion therapy as being the best medical treatment available. Likewise, she discounted the feasibility of alternative therapies, as was discussed in Doctor Pogue's report, since none had been tested positive against sickle-cell anemia. More importantly, she characterized Tara's condition as a "semi-emergency", which she considered to be a situation where a person faces death within a week to a year after diagnosis of an ailment.
The end result of the hearing was the entry of the June 6, 1988, order appointing Saint Christopher's Hospital as special guardian for the purpose of consenting to blood transfusion therapy for Tara for a period of one year only.
The Ingram's appealed, but this appellate court affirmed, stating in part:
"... an individual's right to hold and to practice his/her religious beliefs free from governmental interference is guaranteed by the First Amendment ...
"The guarantee of freedom of religion is intended to secure the rights of the individual as against the state. Underlying the guarantee is a principle of neutrality, a belief that religion is 'not within the cognizance of civil government.' ... Nevertheless, the right of the parent to control every aspect of a child's life is not absolute. When actions concerning a child have a relation to that child's well-being, the state may act to promote these legitimate interests. ... The existence of such authority is evident in the remarks of the Court in Prince v. Massachusetts, ... (1944) [a case involving the Jehovah's Witnesses using children to sell their WatchTower literature on the sidewalks]:
'... the family itself is not beyond regulation in the public interest, as against a claim of religious liberty. And neither rights of religion nor rights of parenthood are beyond limitation. Acting to guard the general interest in youth's well being, the state as parens patriae may restrict the parent's control by requiring school attendance, regulating or prohibiting the child's labor and in many other ways. Its authority is not nullified merely because the parent grounds his claim to control the child's course of conduct on religion or conscience. Thus, he cannot claim freedom from compulsory vaccination for the child more than for himself on religious grounds.
'The right to practice religion freely does not include the liberty to expose the community or the child to communicable disease or the latter to ill health or death. The catalogue need not be lengthened. It is sufficient to show what indeed appellant hardly disputes, that the state has a wide range of power for limiting parental freedom and authority in things affecting the child's welfare; and that this includes, to some extent, matters of conscience and religious conviction. ...'
"Accordingly, in cases where harm to the physical or mental health of the child is demonstrated, these legitimate state interests may override the parents' qualified right to control the upbringing of their children. ...
"The Ingrams cite In re Green, ... (1972) [another Pennsylvania Jehovah's Witness blood transfusion case], for the proposition that '... if there is no imminent danger to the child, then the State does not have an "interest of sufficient magnitude to outweigh the parent's religious
"In Green, there was a situation where a state hospital filed a petition seeking to have one Ricky Green declared a 'neglected child' under the then Juvenile Court Law ... and have it appointed as guardian.
"It appears that Green, 17 years old at the time of the appellate ruling, suffered from paralytic scoliosis (94% curvature of the spine). This prevented him from standing or ambulating due to the collapse of his spine. To relieve the problem, doctors recommended "spinal fusion", a dangerous operation to which the mother consented conditionally. Being a Jehovah's Witness, she would allow the surgery but not any blood transfusion. This prompted the hospital to seek relief through the courts. Superior Court reversed the lower court's denial of the petition seeking Green adjudged 'neglected' and the appointment of the hospital as guardian. On appeal, the Supreme Court reversed, remanding to allow the son the opportunity to voice his own position as to whether he wanted to have the operation, he being of age to make that decision without parental intervention. However, in the course of doing so, the Court wrote: '... as between a parent and the state, the state does not have an interest of sufficient magnitude outweighing a parent's religious beliefs when the child's life is not immediately imperiled by his physical condition.' ... This statement was the outgrowth of a case scenario in which, albeit the operation on Green would have been beneficial, there was no evidence that his life was in danger or that the operation had to be performed immediately. As a consequence, the Court was confronted with a situation in which a parent would not consent to a dangerous operation on a minor child requiring blood transfusion solely because of her religious beliefs.
"We believe the case at bar to be distinguishable from Green. For example, granted Tara was not in extremis physically, and Doctor Frempong stated as much when he responded to the question of whether Tara was in grave or imminent danger of death without the transfusions in the following manner: 'If she receives the current care available, I would not say that she's in imminent danger of death, but any child with sickle-cell disease faces a danger of death from certain complications. ... The most difficult of these complications would be a stroke in a part of the brain that controls breathing, heartbeat, and functions like that, for which, at this time, we have no way of reversing.
"The court below noted the absence of 'certainty' by the doctors in saying, unequivocally, that death would ensue if transfusions were not commenced in Tara's case. Nonetheless, an argument could be made that Tara's sustaining a debilitating consequence from her failure to receive transfusion, on a sliding scale of available medical information, undoubtedly was extant. As stated by the court below: '... Tara's condition is a matter of life or death. Although the exigency of the situation cannot be precisely determined, Dr. Frempong and Dr. Stuart have both testified that although they cannot say that Tara, without the long-term therapy will die today or tomorrow, they can say that without the therapy there is an eighty (80) percent chance of a recurrent stroke, the complications of which can be fatal. Dr. Frempong has testified that there is always the chance of complete recovery after a stroke but Dr. Stuart is of the opinion that according to research, there is a significant incidence of residual effects which can be fatal. For instance, after a major stroke a child could be left with an I.Q. of less than seventy (70) and be a mental cripple for the remainder of its life. Furthermore, without long-term treatment, Tara's life span will definitely be shortened and recurrent strokes will result in cumulative damage to her life functioning.
"Furthermore, we have a situation sub judice, unlike in Green, where the procedure to be implemented is not categorized as 'dangerous' nor is the parent's objection to the transfusion premised solely on a religious ground — Mrs. Ingram's medical fears were "stronger" than her religious objections [or at least that was the strategy her attorney recommended]. As she phrased it: '... I'm seeking an alternative to blood transfusions, another way of treatment. ... I want any thing that will be able to help [Tara]. Any drug that they found that will be helpful, I will agree with it. ... If they can administer anything helpful, I wouldn't be against it at all. I would never be against it.
"Even the guardian ad litem was able to detect the root of the parent's concerns, as evidenced from his testimony in court that Mrs. Ingram's 'major' objection about what should be done for Tara was 'her disagreement with the medical opinions of Doctor Frempong and Children's Hospital'.
"We read Green as not requiring that a patient be at death's door before medical intervention need be allowed to alleviate (or even minimize) the likelihood of a patient sustaining a debilitating or even fatal injury to her person as a result of abstaining from the only medically accepted measure of treating his or her ailment.
"Granted, death is not an 'immediately' impending consequence if Tara is not afforded transfusion. On the other hand, just as acute is a 70% probability that Tara will sustain a stroke, which is an 80% probability of coming to pass within the first three years of an initial stroke. Such has occurred twice in Tara's case, so state the doctors. Any further strokes present the real problem of resultant mental retardation, loss of speech, severe paralysis (which includes hemiplegia or paraplegia, paralysis of one-half of the body), and loss of other intellectual functions on a selective basis without profound mental retardation is also possible. ... ... ...
"We hold that it is in the best interest of society as a whole that children be protected in situations where death may occur between one week and one year of the diagnosis and refusal of treatment, a statement made by Doctor Stuart in reference, specifically, to sickle-cell patients. ... ...
"... As noted in Prince, supra, it does not follow that parents who wish to be martyrs for their religious beliefs have a right to impose such martyrdom upon their offspring before they reach their age of full and legal discretion. ... ... ."
ON APPLICATION OF HARRIS COUNTY CHILDREN'S PROTECTIVE SERVICES was a 1988 Texas court decision. In December 1988, an unidentified 13 year-old male was placed in the custody of Harris County Children's Protective Services due to the refusal by his Jehovah's Witness Parents to consent to blood transfusions made possibly necessary by an in-home accident that resulted in a severe cut to the boy's leg. The court authorized that the boy receive all necessary medical care, including blood transfusions, if such became necessary. Vascular surgery and followup skin graft surgery were performed at Ben Taub Hospital in January 1989. Outcome unknown.
IN RE CALIFORNIA JW FEMALE TEENAGER. In August 1988, an unidentified female teenager was injured in an automobile accident in California. The teenager's Jehovah's Witnesses parents refused to consent to blood transfusions. The hospital sought and obtained a court order to administer the needed transfusions, but such were too delayed. The unidentified female JW teenager died.
IN RE LEZLIE PAROS was a 1988 California court case. In January 1988, Lezlie Paros, age 14, of El Centro, CA, along with her father Ernesto Paros, age 35, and her younger brother, Matthew Ryan Paros, age 11, were all riding in the family's pickup truck, driven by the mother, Bertha Paros, age 36, on Interstate 8, when they collided with a CalTrans vehicle. While Bertha Paros and Ryan Paros were only slightly injured, Ernesto Paros died, and Lezlie Paros was taken to El Centro Regional Medical Center in critical condition. Lezlie Paros lost so much blood that life-saving blood transfusions were needed. However, Bertha Paros refused to give doctors her consent based on her beliefs as one of Jehovah's Witnesses. The attending doctors were forced to petition the local court for legal intervention. Outcome of the legal battle is unclear, but Lezlie Paros barely survived despite suffering a disabling head injury. It is believed that after this tragic drama that Bertha Paros eventually left the Jehovah's Witnesses.
IN THE MATTER OF TEQUILA THOMAS was a 1988 South Carolina court decision. In September 1988, a madman named James William Wilson, who had been hospitalized five times for mental illness, went on a shooting rampage at Oakland Elementary School in Greenwood, South Carolina. Among the eleven teachers and students shot was a 8-year-old girl named Tequila Thomas. Thomas was struck in the neck and chest by a .22 caliber bullet. She never regained consciousness. Taken to Self Memorial Hospital, doctors immediately administered blood transfusions in an attempt to keep her from dying there in the emergency room.
When Tequila Thomas's African-American Jehovah's Witness Parents, Alfred G. Thomas, age 33, and Marie Dawkins Thomas, age 34, arrived, they not only refused to consent to additional needed blood transfusions, but they demanded that the doctors stop the ongoing transfusions. The hospital sought and received an emergency court order to continue administering the needed transfusions. Tequila Thomas died three days later from the damages caused by the gunshot wound. She would have died the day of the shooting from massive blood loss if not for the doctors' efforts. Tequila Tomas was survived by her 6 year-old sister, Tecola Monique Thomas.
A JW Elder and FOOL, named Kenneth E. Casper, ran around making uninformed comments about how the hospital did this and did that without first contacting the JW Parents, and giving them a chance to explain their WatchTower beliefs, and violating the parents' civil rights, blah, blah, blah -- as if that is a hospital's first priority when they have 11 gunshot victims bleeding to death in their ER.
Alfred Thomas was more concerned that one of the media outlets had reported that Marie Thomas and he were "relieved" that the hospital had sought court intervention so that their daughter could be administered blood transfusions. Alfred Thomas made it clear to reporters that, "My wife and I both refused blood transfusions for our daughter, adamantly or vehemently." Alfred Thomas had sufficiently recovered from his grief by November 1988 to travel to NYC to appear on an episode of the GERALDO RIVERA SHOW.
ALISHA DANIELLE NUCKOLS. In November 1988, Alisha D. Nuckols was born in the front seat of her Jehovah's Witness Parent's Honda Civic station wagon parked on the shoulder of a California freeway. James Nuckols and Stacey Nuckols, age 25, who lived in Big Bear, had decided that, rather than deliver their baby at any number of hospitals close to their home, that they would deliver at St. Joseph Hospital all the way in Orange, California. Paramedics later transported mother and daughter to the hospital, and both were apparently okay. Why would these JW Parents put the lives of the mother and baby at risk in order to travel that far? They told a reporter that they were concerned that blood transfusions "might" become an issue at a local hospital, and that for whatever reasons such would not be the case at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California.
IN THE MATTER OF CARLOS HEURTEMATTE was a 1988 Florida court decision. Mr/Mrs Robert Heurtematte, the Jehovah's Witnesses Parents of 5 year old Carlos Heurtematte, rushed him to the emergency room at Miami's Mount Sinai Medical Center. Tests revealed that Carlos Heurtematte had lost a lot of blood due to a hole inside his intestines. When doctors told Robert Heurtematte and wife that Carlos would need blood transfusions to save his life, the Jehovah's Witness Parents responded that they would not consent to blood transfusions. The hospital then filed an emergency petition for guardianship with a local Dade County court, and requested authorization to administer the necessary transfusions. Citing PRINCE, the judge stated that adults who follow the faith of Jehovah's Witness may refuse blood for themselves. However, the law is different when children were involved. Florida law says parents may not refuse medical care for their child if that refusal jeopardizes the child's life or health, said John Kelner, attorney for the hospital, Mount Sinai Medical Center. The petition was granted.
IN THE INTEREST OF J.V. was a 1987 Florida appellate
court decision. Limited details. On April 22, 1987, Florida's Department of
Health and Rehabilitative Services' petitioned a local court for dependency,
alleging that the parents of "J.V." had abused their minor child, and that the
child was in critical condition, and in need of blood transfusions. At an
emergency hearing, a physician testified that "J.V." had an abnormally low level
of blood platelets and that it was medically necessary for the child's survival
to administer transfusions of blood and/or blood products. The parents
of J.V. had refused to give their permission for the transfusions because of
their religious beliefs as Jehovah's Witnesses. The lower court found
J.V. to be a dependent child, and ordered the authorization of blood
transfusions that were medically necessary to "sustain life and restore said
child to good health." The parents appealed, but the appellate court affirmed
the lower court's authorization of blood transfusions, but remanded on
the "dependency" issue, because the trial record failed to include the reasoning
for such -- presumably parental "neglect", stating in part:
"We find no abuse of discretion in the court's
authorization of blood transfusions to the child. Section 39.01(30), Florida
Statutes (Supp.1986), defining neglect, provides that a court may direct medical
treatment to a minor child if a parent or guardian does not furnish the
necessary services because of legitimate religious beliefs. The overriding
interest of the state as parens patriae in interfering with the parental custody
and control of the child, for the purpose of ensuring that the child is given
medical treatment necessary for the protection of his life, is judicially
well-recognized. ... We therefore affirm as to this issue."
IN THE MATTER OF CHANTILLY R. TILLACKDHARRY was a 1987 Florida court decision. In August 1987, 10 month-old Chantilly Tillackdharry, of Miramar, Florida, was being treated at North Miami Medical Center for a blood-clotting problem, when her doctor recommended a blood transfusion. Jehovah's Witness Parents, Ramdharry A. Tillackdharry, age 32, and Anna G. Tillackdharry, age 28, refused to consent to such based on their WatchTower Cult beliefs and practices, and apparently REMOVED their daughter from the Medical Center against the doctor's wishes. That unidentified doctor reported the situation to Florida's Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, which sought court intervention.
Acting on a judge`s verbal order, Miramar police officers went to the Ramdharry Tillackdharry home to take Chantilly Tillackdharry into protective custody, and get her the needed medical treatment. There, the Miramar police department encountered an unidentified Jehovah's Witness Elder from the Miramar Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, whom had directed the Tillackdharry Family to shut and lock the 8 foot high fence/gate which surrounded their home. For 30 minutes, that JW Elder attempted to control what both the Tillackdharry Family and Miramar police were doing. The police attempted to be "nice", but when that JW Elder thought that he was ruling the situation, the police gave that JW Elder and the Tillackdharrys an ultimatum -- open up or their fence would be pulled down (apparently SWAT was onsite) and they would go to jail. Chantilly R. Tillackdharry was transported to the emergency room of Memorial Hospital in Hollywood, Florida, where she was checked out and eventually released to her JW Parents without treatment.
That was NOT the end of this medical situation. That was just the end of the media coverage. Kenneth Miller, a WatchTower spokesperson excused the parents' actions, saying they were extremely upset. "When you take your daughter to the doctor and he says I am going to force blood into the girl, and the next thing you know you've got police banging at the door ... ." Yeh, that was a fair characterization of what had happened.
IN RE AMANDA HERNANDEZ was a 1987 Texas court decision. In January 1987, a 15 year-old girl named Amanda Hernandez was admitted to Texas Children's Hospital with complete kidney failure due to chronic kidney disease. When both the 15-year-old and her Jehovah's Witness Mother, Cleotilde Hernandez, refused to consent to necessary blood transfusions based on their WatchTower Cult beliefs, the hospital sought and received court-ordered authorization administer the life-saving transfusions. life".
JW Elder, Lloyd Snell, cited a passage from Leviticus that reads: "Whatsoever man ... eats any manner of blood, I will cut him off from among his people," as having the meaning that if a JW Parent consented to a transfusion for their child, then not only would the parent have sinned, but even the child would be denied "everlasting life".
Although we can't confirm that this is the same "Cleotide Hernandez", in August 2011, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services REVOKED the Child Care license of a "Cleotide Hernandez", age 62, of Mission, Texas.
IN THE MATTER OF NEWBORN BRADLEY TWIN BOYS was a 1987 Florida court decision. In March 1987, Pame Bradley, the Jehovah's Witness Mother of twin boys delivered two months prematurely at Fort Lauderdale's Broward General Medical Center refused to consent to life-saving blood transfusions for her newborn twins. The hospital petitioned and received court authorization to administer blood transfusions and other necessary medical care for the two boys who weighed only about 32 ounces each, and were surviving on a respirator.
IN RE BABY GIRL SCHOONMAKER was a 1987 Florida court case. In August 1987, an unwed Jehovah's Witness Mother named Doreen Schoonmaker, age 20, of Davie, Florida, delivered her newborn daughter one-month premature at Fort Lauderdale's Broward General Medical Center. The newborn suffered with respiratory problems and lack of oxygen in the blood. Both Doreen Schoonmaker and her own JW Parents, Clifford B. Schoonmaker and Dorothy Schoonmaker, all refused consent for life-saving blood transfusions. Court intervention was sought and received. Outcome unnknown.
IN RE BABY GIRL BRYANT was a 1987 Pennsylvania court decision. In February 1987, an UNWED, UNEMPLOYED mother of a 17 month old son, Kimberly Bryant, age 23, of Oakland, Pennsylvania, refused to consent to blood transfusions needed by her 35 ounce one-day old premature newborn baby daughter, who was on a respirator suffering from respiratory distress. Via telephone Pittsburgh's Mercy Hospital petitioned for and was granted guardianship and authorization to provide all necessary medical care for the premmie. When the Judge spoke via telephone with Kimberly Bryant, he asked her if it mattered to her if her newborn daughter died. Kim Bryant sobbed, "It's my baby. I should have the say-so. I don't want my baby to have no blood transfusion. Are you going to go over my head?"
Kim Bryant identifed the father of her second OUT-OF-WEDLOCK child as being unemployed Kenneth Fryer, age 25, also of Oakland, Pennsylvania. Neither would Ken Fryer give consent for the required life-saving blood transfusions. INTERESTINGLY, local Jehovah's Witness Elders DENIED to reporters that Kimberly Bryant was a Jehovah's Witness -- despite Kim Bryant being surrounded by JW Family at the hospital. However, that did not stop multiple area JW Elders from citing to reporters their routine Old Testament scriptures about it being forbidden to "eat blood".
One of those JW Elders was a DRAFT DODGER named Raymond Comodor, who was a WatchTower Cult hero during the 1940s and early 1950s, due to a LIBERAL FEDERAL CIRCUIT COURT overturning his TWO 1940s draft-dodger convictions based on post-WW2 LIBERAL JUDGE BULLSH!T. What is never mentioned is the fact that Ray Comodor and his JW buddy Peter Niznik had went AWOL from a conscientious objector's camp in Tennessee in 1946, and returned home to Pennsylvania. See UNITED STATES v. RAYMOND COMODOR and UNITED STATES v. PETER NIZNIK.
IN THE MATTER OF ERNEST P. NOEL was a 1987 New York court decision. In April 1987, Ernest P. Noel, age 16, of Philadelphia, New York, was struck by a car when he ran out into the road to rescue his dog. Ernest Noel suffered two broken legs and a blow to the head. Unconscious, and in critical condition, Noel was admitted to Watertown's House of the Good Samaritan hospital. When informed that Ernest would need one or more blood transfusions, his Jehovah's Witnesses step-father, Lome Hudson, and his mother, Mabel Hudson, refused to give their consent. The hospital then sought and received court-ordered authorization. Thereafter, the step-father and a moronic local Jehovah's Witness Elder went running around threatening to sue everyone. The JW Elder told a reporter that the blood transfusions saved Noel's life, but Noel's "spiritual wounds" might not heal as easily -- no doubt due to that FOOL JW Elder and other JWs harping about such. Ernest Noel spent more than a month in the hospital, but was expected to make a full recovery.
NEW YORK STATE DEPT OF SOCIAL SERVICES v. DELVORINE COOPER and IVEY BRADFORD COOPER and DELVORINE COOPER and IVEY BRADFORD COOPER v. NEW YORK STATE DEPT OF SOCIAL SERVICES (1987) were related New York court decisions. The WatchTower Society has cited this case in amicus briefs submitted in other blood transfusion court cases as an example of:
"physician's opinion about urgent need for blood transfusions to correct child's low platelet and red cell counts proved erroneous 'when the child responded to medical treatment that did not entail a blood transfusion.'"
The WatchTower Society's characterization of what happened in NEW YORK v. COOPER is misleading. In that case, the Cooper's eight month old son was seriously ill due to thrombocytopenia. Because the child's blood count was at 21 and falling, the Hospital had discussed with Delvorine Cooper and Ivey B. Cooper that a blood transfusion would become necessary if that trend continued and the blood count reached a critcal level. Typically, the Jehovah's Witness Parents informed the Hospital that they would not consent to a transfusion. Therefore, rather than wait until the child's condition became life-threatening, the Hospital proceeded to file a neglect petition in order to gain authorization to administer a blood transfusion if and when such became medically necessary. In the meantime, the Hospital was making all other efforts to stop the falling blood count. Fortunately, those efforts succeeded and no transfusion was necessary. Therefore, the neglect petition was withdrawn.
However, the state welfare department had been involved in this scenario, and an official neglect report had been made regarding such. When Delvorine Cooper and Ivey Cooper, of Queens, New York, later attempted to adopt a foster child, that report was causing a problem with the adoption. Since the neglect petition had been withdrawn, the JW family sought to have the neglect report expunged from official records. The court granted the family's request, but noted that the anticipatory action of the hospital was "prudent" in preparing for the possibility of having to save the life of the child.
ON APPLICATION OF DEACONESS HOSPITAL was a 1987 Indiana court case. An unnamed 16 year-old son of Jehovah's Witness Parents was shot during unknown circumstances. His JW Parents refused to give their consent for life-saving blood transfusions -- forcing Deaconess Hospital, in Evansville, Indiana, to petition the local Vanderburgh County court for guardianship to provide the necessary transfusions, which was granted.
IN RE BABY BOY MCLAMORE and IN RE TAMMY MCLAMORE were related 1986 Florida court decisions. In April 1986, a 15 year-old unwed DEVOUT Jehovah's Witness named Tammy McLamore gave birth by cesarean section to a baby boy at Fort Lauderdale's Broward General Medical Center. Both the mother and son were in a "life-threatening situation", but neither Tammy McLamore or her own DEVOUT JW Mother, Katie McLamore,would consent to the required life-saving blood transfusions due to the McLamore Family strict religious beliefs. Court intervention was sought and received on behalf of both Tammy McLamore and her newborn son. Outcomes unknown.
IN THE MATTER OF BABY BOY MORRIS was a 1986 California court decision. In January 1986, the unidentified Jehovah's Witness parents of a seven weeks premature infant refused to consent to blood transfusions needed to save his life. Officials at Alta Bates Hospital contacted the Berkeley Police, who in turn sought and received a court order authorizing the needed blood transfusions.
IN THE MATTER OF EMMANUEL DELGADO was a 1986 Florida court
decision. In December 1986, Emanuel Delgado was born to parents Rigoberto
Delgado and Maria Delgado, at Broward General Medical Center. The newborn soon
suffered from pneumonia and respiratory distress syndrome. The hospital
requested the parents' consent to administer a blood transfusion. The Delgados
refused citing their WatchTower beliefs as Jehovah's Witnesses. The hospital
then petitioned the local court for authorization to administer a blood
transfusion in order to save the infant's life. Petition granted.
IN RE NICHOLAS ELI DAWSON was a 1986 Pennsylvania court decision. HOME BIRTHED Nicholas Eli Dawson was the 10th child born to Jehovah's Witness Parents, Edward Dawson and Rita Louise Dawson of Tannersville, Pennsylvania. Born with multiple congenital defects, doctors needed to perform emergency surgery on the newborn's large intestine to correct a perforated bowel, but Edward Dawson and Rita Dawson refused to consent to blood transfusions that would be necessary during and after the surgery. Officials at Allentown Hospital were forced to seek and obtain court approval to provide the baby with all necessary medical care needed to save its life. At the hearing, Edward Dawson read multiple passages from the Old Testament about forbidden "blood eating".
ON APPLICATION OF BARNERT MEMORIAL HOSPITAL was a 1986 New Jersey decision. In April 1986, the a 6-year-old daughter of unidentified African- American Jehovah's Witnesses Parents received two blood transfusions to treat her sickle-cell anemia. The Jehovah's Witnesses parents of the critically ill 6-year-old refused to give their consent for the transfusions, so the hospital petitioned the local court for guardianship and authorization to administer the needed transfusions. The petition was granted. The transfusions were administered, and the child was discharged.
IN THE MATTER OF HEIDI HOFFMAN was a 1986 Massachusetts
court decision. In March 1986, 10-month-old Heidi Hoffman, was admitted to
Springfield's Baystate Medical Center due to leukemia. When informed that Heidi
would need blood transfusions in conjunction with chemotherapy, Kyle Hoffman and
Sharon Hoffman refused to give their consent based on their beliefs as Jehovah's
Witnesses. The hospital sought and was granted court-ordered guardianship and
authorization to administer all needed medical treatment, including blood
transfusions. Thereafter, Heidi was given five transfusions over a period of
several weeks of chemotherapy. There was temporary improvement, but due to the cancer, outcome is unknown.
ON APPLICATION OF KAISER-PERMANENTE MEDICAL CENTER was a
1986 California court decision. In June 1986, an unidentified Jehovah's Witness
delivered twins at Sacramento's Kaiser-Permanente Medical Center. When doctors
informed the unidentified Jehovah's Witnesses parents that one of the premature
twins needed a life-saving blood transfusion, the parents refused to give their
consent. Due to the emergency situation in the early A.M. hours, the hospital
first contacted police, who after arriving at the hospital, then telephoned and
woke up a judge, who in turn authorized the needed transfusion. Outcome
IN RE BABY BOY SMITH was a 1985 Florida court decision. Baby Boy Smith was born in November 1985 at Fort Lauderdale's Broward General Medical Center to Jehovah's Witness Parents Kenneth Smith and Lilly Smith. Baby Boy Smith suffered from a dwarfing syndrome known as thano trophoric. Within a matter of weeks, complications made life-saving blood transfusions necessary. Consent was refused by Kenneth Smith and Lilly Smith. INTERESTINGLY, although hospital administrators sought ROUTINE court intervention, Judge Leonard Fleet refused to intervene. The DISABLED baby DIED. Apparently, everyone was pleased with the outcome.
IN THE MATTER OF MICAH J. COLBERT was a 1985 District of Columbia court decision. Micah J. Colbert, of Martinsburg, West Virginia, was a 3 month old baby that had been placed in anticipation of adoption with foster parents named Stanley and Veena Colbert. The Colberts were described as devout Jehovah's Witnesses. However, in October 1985, Micah was admitted to City Hospital in Martinsburg (been there) with broken ribs, a fractured skull, and possibly other injuries. The baby was airlifted to Children's Hospital in Washington D.C., where the Colberts were asked to consent to a blood transfusion. They refused. The Hospital was forced to petition a local court for authorization to administer medically required transfusions. Petition granted.
However, the baby died two days later from the original injuries. It was determined that Veena Colbert had physically abused Micah. Both parents were charged in Micah's death. However, charges were first dropped against Stanley Colbert, and then later dropped against Veena Colbert, because it was determined that Veena Colbert was severely mentally ill. Prosecutors did not believe they could convict her because her multiple personality disorder prevented them from proving "intent".
IN RE ASHLEY MAE LONG was a 1985 Pennsylvania court decision. In August 1985, 26 ounce Ashley Mae Long was born 13-14 weeks prematurely to a young Jehovah's Witness Couple, named James Burton Long, age 21, (son of JW Elder Richard Long) and Tammy Lynn Long, age 22, of Kutztown, Pennsylvania. When doctors told the JW Parents that their newborn preemie daughter would require blood transfusions to stay alive and/or avoid permanent physical injury, the Longs refused to give their consent. Officials at Allentown Hospital were forced to seek court approval. Dr. Edward Denny testified that the preemie would die or suffer brain damage - including severe mental retardation, cerebral palsy, deafness or blindness - without blood transfusions, but had a 75 percent chance of survival with them. The judge issued a temporary injunction authorizing Allentown Hospital to give the required blood transfusions. Four days later, the hospital announced that the newborn was now out of danger and doing well, and further agreed to allow the court order to be dissolved. James B. Long announced to reporters that no blood transfusions had been necessary after all. We will assume that he actually believed what he publicly stated. Long-term outcome unknown.
IN RE DANIELLE SNYDER was a 1984 Pennsylvania court decision. In November 1984, officials at Allentown Hospital were forced to seek court approval for blood transfusions needed by a full-term newborn, named Danielle Snyder, who had needed surgery soon after birth. Jehovah's Witness Parents, Jeffrey Snyder and Linda Snyder, of Allentown, Pennsylvania, refused to give their consent for the needed transfusions. Similar to the LONG case above, about a week after transfusions had been court-ordered, it was announced that Danielle Snyder was by then doing fine, and amazingly, that she had not needed any blood transfusions after all. Again, we will assume that her JW Parents actually believed such. (I would not doubt that there were Circuit Assembly or even District Convention talks in this area during this time period that publicized the "medical miracles" that "Jehovah" was performing for JWs who refused blood transfusions.)
IN THE MATTER OF MELISSA PINA ACOSTA was a 1984 California court decision which arose because the Jehovah's Witness Parent with primary custody was refusing to consent to necessary blood transfusions. Melissa Pina Acosta, age 15, of Los Alamitos, was suffering from a form of lupus, with kidney problems, gastro-intestinal problems, and other associated complications, including excessive bleeding, which made blood transfusions imperative. The child's mother, Susie Pina Acosta, was a converted Jehovah's Witness, and refused to consent to the needed life-saving blood transfusions. Arnold Thomas Acosta, age 34, of Huntington Beach, the divorced father of Melissa Pina Acosta, sought emergency custody of his daughter, but the judge instead granted "medical custody" only to a county social services attorney, who was authorized to consent to the needed blood transfusions. The mother retained physical, and all other custody. Despite a later surgery to remove part of her intestine, and other medical efforts also, Melissa Acosta died less than four months later due to the degenerative kidney problem. Thereafter, the two parents continued to battle over their daughter's corpse. Arnold Acosta wanted his daughter buried as a Catholic given that she had been so baptized, plus requested an autopsy to determine the actual cause of death. Susie Pina Acosta wanted the corpse cremated asap, and fought the autopsy. A local judge refused the autopsy request, but allowed Melissa Pina Acosta to be buried as a Catholic by her father.
IN THE MATTER OF SENTHYLAS O'NEIL was a 1984 Florida court decision. One year-old Senthylas O'Neil Jr. was admitted to the ICU at John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Atlantis, Florida with meningitis. When his African-American Jehovah's Witness Parents, Senthylas O'Neil Sr., age 33, and Mabeline O'Neil, age 20s, were asked for their consent to administer blood transfusions if such became medically necessary, the parents refused. The Hospital was forced to petition a local court for authorization to administer medically required transfusions. Petition granted. Successful outcome.
IN THE MATTER OF SEAN WAGMAN was a 1984 Florida court decision. In September 1984, Sean David Wagman was born to Jehovah's Witness Parents, Scott Wagman and Mary Wagman, at Miami's North Shore Medical Center. Sean Wagman immediately suffered from jaundice due to an overabundance of red blood cells -- a condition which if left untreated would have led to severe mental retardation. When routine light therapy treatments failed to cure the condition, doctors requested permission from the JW Parents to perform the necessary blood exchange transfusions. The Wagmans refused to consent, so the hospital sought and obtained court ordered permission for such.
In August 1984, an unidentified 13 year-old Jehovah's Witness Male being treated for acute lymphocytic leukemia at San Francisco General Hospital was placed in emergency protective custody by a local judge after the JW Parents refused to consent to necessary blood transfusions. Outcome unknown.
IN THE MATTER OF DENNIS DOWNY was a 1984 Pennsylvania court decision. In December 1983, a Jehovah's Witness named Deborah Downey, age 20, of Riverhead, Pennsylvania, gave birth to Dennis Downey. The newborn suffered from a deformed heart. In March 1984, State University Hospital sought and obtained a court order which would allow the hospital to perform corrective surgery on Dennis' heart. Deborah Downey refused to give her consent to the administering of blood transfusions, which were required during open heart surgery on a 4 month old infant. Outcome unknown.
APPLICATION OF SUTTER MEMORIAL HOSPITAL was a 1984 California court decision. In October 1984, an unidentified Jehovah's Witness prematurely delivered a baby at Sacramento's Sutter Memorial Hospital. When informed that the newborn would require a blood transfusion in order to live, the Jehovah's Witness Mother refused to allow such. Evidently, this JW Mother did more than resist verbally, because the hospital were forced to call the police. The infant had to be placed in protective custody of the county Children's Protective Services Department. The hospital sought and was granted a court-order to administer the blood transfusions needed to save its life.
IN RE DEREK SALONE was an August 1983 Fort Worth, Texas case which apparently was yet another instance of another "Jehovah's Witness Mother" having insufficient morals to keep from having a child out-of-wedlock, but sufficient "morals" to allow that child to die by following WatchTower dictates against blood transfusions. The unwed mother was Phillippia Salone, age 16, daughter of Jehovah's Witness Mother, Henrietta McGruder. Interestingly, Henrietta McGruder was also a "secretary" at John Peter Smith Hospital, where this drama took place. Derek Salone was born premature and required life-saving blood transfusions. Phillippia Salone and her own Jehovah's Witness Mother, Henrietta McGruder, refused to grant consent to the necessary transfusions forcing an emergency court hearing at the hospital. A local judge ordered that Derek Salone be given whatever medical treatments were necessary to save the baby's life. Outcome unknown.
IN THE MATTER OF WILLIAM CLEMENS was a 1983 Michigan court decision. In October 1983, seriously ill 6 year-old African-American William Clemens Jr., was admitted to Mount Carmel Mercy Hospital, in Detroit. The child was pale, lethargic, appeared jaundiced, and had a low blood count. Tentative diagnoses included sickle cell anemia or leukemia.When informed that the child would need a blood transfusion, his Jehovah's Witness Parents refused to give their consent. The hospital sought and received a court order to proceed with the necessary treatment. When the child's father, William Clemens Sr, of Highland Park, Michigan, learned that hospital administrators were seeking court intervention, William Clemens Sr. removed an intravenous needle from the child's arm and KIDNAPPED his son from Mount Carmel Mercy Hospital despite efforts to stop him. Clemons then flew with his son to Chicago, where William Clemens Jr., was taken to Michael Reese Hospital, which had been experimenting with the later banned Flurosol. Who do readers think provided the air transportation, and informed the father where to take the child?? Outcome unknown.
IN RE BABY BOY QUINTANA was a 1983 New York court decision. Conception Quintana delivered a baby boy three months premature in November 1983, at Queen's Booth Memorial Hospital. Congenital respiratory problems mandated transfer to Long Island's Hillside Medical Center, where it was deemed that a blood transfusion would be needed to save the newborn's life. Such was administered without telling the parents. When Marco Quintana was told about the transfusion, he became very upset and forbid any further transfusions, in accordance with his and his wife's WatchTower beliefs. The Hospital then sought and obtained guardianship and court authorization to continue to provide all necessary medical care for the child.
IN RE MELONAE COOK was a May 1983 California court case which involved a 15
year-old Jehovah's Witness named Melonae Cook, of Pomona, California, whom
suffered a ruptured appendix, and was rushed to Pomona Valley Community
Hospital, where doctors refused to perform emergency surgery without
permission to perform blood transfusions, if so required. Jehovah's Witness Mother, Judith
Smith, age 39, refused to give consent, so the Department of Public Social
Services consent officer at the Pomona hospital sought court intervention.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Burton Bach made Melonae Cook a ward of the court,
and authorized all necessary medical care. "Someone" -- probably the
WatchTower Society's local Hospital Liaison Committee -- raised a stink about
the court order, and supposedly made arrangements with "Doctors Hospital",
in Santa Ana, California, which supposedly guaranteed to perform
the emergency surgery without using blood transfusions. Probably tired
of the mess, Pomona Valley Community Hospital released Melonae Cook,
who was airflighted to Santa Ana, where surgery was successfully
performed without the need for a blood transfusion. The local HLC made much
adoo to the media about their victory over Pomona Valley
Community Hospital. Most media reports made it sound as if the surgery had been performed at Pomona Valley Community Hospital, they would
have administered unnecessary blood transfusions to Cook, which was not
the case. Pomona Valley Community Hospital simply wanted permission
to administer a blood transfusion if such became medically necessary.
IN THE MATTER OF NICOLE LEAL was a 1982 Florida court decision. In June 1982, a Jehovah's Witnesses couple, named Ibrahim L. Leal, age 31, and Paula Jean Leal, age 26, of Key Largo, Florida, refused to give consent for their newborn daughter, Nicole A. Leal, to receive blood transfusions needed to keep her alive. The hospital sought and was granted a court order authorizing life-saving blood transfusions to the 10 day old infant. Ibrahim Leal, an a home improvements contractor, said his decision to refuse permission for the transfusion had been based on a strict reading of Scripture. "I had to keep my integrity to the God of the Bible," he said.
IN THE MATTER OF DAVID ERIC HESS was a 1982 Oklahoma court decision. In August 1982, 13-year-old David Eric Hess, of Muskogee, Oklahoma, needed a life-saving blood transfusion during surgery made necessary when David Hess was injured while "playing" inside a partially demolished commercial building. William David Hess and Alice Hess refused to consent for the blood transfusion due to their beliefs as Jehovah's Witnesses. They quoted a passage from Leviticus that reads: "Whatsoever man . . . eats any manner of blood, I will cut him off from the people.'' Muskogee General Hospital sought and obtained an emergency court order which authorized the needed transfusion. William D. Hess stated that the judge and doctors who obtained the blood transfusion for his 13-year-old son interfered with "God's law giving families the responsibility of raising their children.''
IN RE FELICIA B. WHITTLE was a 1981 Indiana court case caused by JW Parents Donald Whittle and Vickie Whittle, of Anderson, Indiana, who refused to consent to necessary life-saving blood transfusions needed by their 4 year-old daughter. Felicia Whittle was suffering from hemolytic uremic syndrome. Officials at Indianapolis' Riley Hospital for Children were forced to seek and obtain judicial intervention. Initially, a temporary order was issued to allow the hospital to administer emergency blood transfusions, and later at a full hearing, the court appointed a hospital official as Felicia's guardian for 60 days.
IN THE MATTER OF SARA SALAS was a 1981 Illinois court decision. In May 1981, an out-of-control Puerto Rican driven automobile struck more than a dozen children on a school playground in Chicago. Of the three children in critical condition, 14-year-old Sara Salas was in a "life-threatening situation". Doctors at St. Mary's Hospital informed Raul Salas and Isabelle Salas that their daughter needed a blood transfusion to survive. The Salas informed doctors that they were Jehovah's Witnesses, and they would not consent to any transfusions. The hospital then sought and received authorization from a local court to administer all needed medical care, including blood transfusions. The court also placed Sara Salas into "protective custody."
IN THE MATTER OF JENNY LEIGH BLIZARD was a 1980 Texas court decision. In 1980, Paul and Pat Blizard discovered that a cut on their 5 weeks old daughter's finger would not clot and stop bleeding. Doctors at Santa Rosa Medical Center, in San Antonio, informed the Blizards that young Jenny Leigh Blizard would need a blood transfusion. The Blizards informed the hospital that they would not give their consent based on their beliefs as Jehovah's Witnesses. The hospital sought and obtained authorization to administer the needed transfusions, and temporary guardianship was placed with the state child welfare department. Paul Blizard, one-time WATCHTOWER BETHELITE, later reported that Jehovah's Witnesses Elders attempted to persuade he and his wife to ABDUCT and KIDNAP their daughter from the hospital before the transfusion could be administered. The transfusion saved Jenny Leigh Blizard's life, but she finally succumbed to her hemophilia in 1987. The Blizards eventually left the Jehovah's Witnesses, and they now pastor a Baptist Church in West Virginia.
IN RE JERRY BALDWIN and IN RE JERRY CASTRO were two separate state of Washington court cases which occurred in October 1982, after two Jehovah's Witness Minors riding a dirt bike collided with a truck in Kelso, Washington. Jerry D. Baldwin, age 13, and Jerry T. Castro, age 7, were both in critical condition when they arrived at St. Johns Hospital, in Longview, Washington. When Donna Hudson and Tom Castro, the JW Parents of each boy, refused to grant consent for life-saving blood transfusions, the doctor of each boy was forced to seek judicial intervention in separate actions. Court orders were eventually obtained, and each boy received the necessary transfusions, and lived.
Steve Dantiene, an Elder at the Kelso, Washington Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses called the Judges' decisions as bad as a death. "Its sickening that that would be done in a free country -- very, very upsetting; very disturbing. Its as bad as losing someone in death actually, I think," stated Steven Dantiene. Stephen Dantiene also told reporters that there existed an artificial blood substitute developed in 1977, in Japan, which was FDA approved, and could have been obtained quickly by the hospital. Regrettably, doctors then and since, are not as knowledgeable regarding such matters as a WatchTower trained JW Elder. (Further research indicates that the blood substitute to which Steve Dantiene referred had just been approved by the FDA that same year. It was not something that most major hospitals would have had on hand, much less a small local hospital. And, administration required accompanying treatments of other medical products, plus special training. The manufacturer pulled the product in 1987.)
IN RE BABY BOY CARTER was a 1981 Pennsylvania court case. "Baby Boy Carter" was born two months premature to Jehovah's Witness Parents, Clarence Carter and Kelly Carter, of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, who refused to consent to blood transfusions needed to keep their newborn alive. Administrators at Pittsburgh's Magee-Women's Hospital were forced to seek and obtain court intervention only a few hours after the child's delivery. The Carters stated that their son's "spiritual health" had priority over his physical needs. After nine days, the baby was listed in stable condition, but doctors only gave him a 50-50 chance of surviving. Outcome unknown.
IN RE CHRISTINA REID and IN RE CHRISTINA REID were related 1981 Oregon and Arizona parental kidnapping cases. Christina Reid was born AT HOME in March 1981, in Salem, Oregon, to Jehovah's Witness Parents, Kenneth Reid, age 21, and Janette Reid, age 18. When the Reids were forced to take their sick newborn to a local Salem hospital four days later, Christina Reid was diagnosed with hyperbilirubenemia -- a breakdown of the product of red blood cells. Blood transfusions were recommended to avoid brain damage and possible death, but the Reids refused to give their consent.
When that Salem hospital sought court intervention, Kenneth Reid and Janette Reid ABDUCTED and KIDNAPPED Christina Reid from that Oregon hospital and fled in a private airplane with their newborn daughter to Scottsdale, Arizona, where a "doctor" had been located who supposedly treated this disease with the use of "photo-therapy", rather than transfusions. An Oregon judge issued an order making Christina Reid a temporary ward of the state of Oregon, and ordered that she be returned to the Oregon hospital. Oregon officials apparently contacted Arizona law enforcement and/or child welfare officials, who sought and obtained court ordered guardianship and hospitalization in Arizona. Outcome unknown.
IN RE WILLIAM BALL JR was a 1980 Missouri case. In June 1980, William Ball Jr was born at an unidentified Kansas City, Missouri hospital suffering from a lung condition and anemia. The Jehovah's Witness Parents, William Ball, age 27, and wife, refused to grant doctors permission to administer blood transfusions needed to save the child's life. Judicial intervention was sought, and a court order was obtained to administer the needed transfusions. The child's father denied that his son would die without the needed transfusions despite the child's doctor testifying otherwise. Ball then asked the judge to first order doctors to use "artificial blood" as he had read about in WatchTower publications.
IN RE MICHAEL HARDING was a 1980 Tennessee court decision which involved yet another Jehovah's Witnesses parental kidnapping. In December 1980, Michael T. Harding and Olivia Harding ABDUCTED and KIDNAPPED their two year-old son, Michael Harding, from Memphis' Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center after being told that he suffered from anemia and needed a blood transfusion to survive. The Hospital sought and received court intervention after the JW Parents refused to consent to necessary blood transfusions. After the child was discovered missing from his hospital room, a police search was initiated. When questioned about the child's whereabouts by the Police, the great-grandmother would only say, "Jehovah will take care of it all." A more law-abiding relative hinted that the parents may have taken the child to an unidentified Jehovah's Witness doctor in Missouri. A Memphis judge ordered the child into state custody, and ordered that the child be returned to Children's Hospital. About a week later, in an undoubtedly WatchTower Society Legal Department orchestrated move, an attorney from Missouri contacted Memphis news media letting them know that Michael Harding was supposedly well and receiving medical care not involving blood transfusions. At the same time, Jerry Peck, the local WatchTower Society "City Overseer" spoke to the media stating that local authorities had typically "over reacted" to the Harding Family's choice to find non-blood medical care elsewhere. A few weeks later, when the Hardings had to return home to Memphis, they were forced to agree to a consent order in which Michael Harding was given a court-appointed guardian, who was authorized to monitor the medical care of the child by an agreed on Memphis doctor. Outcome unknown.
ON APPLICATION OF PORTER MEMORIAL HOSPITAL was a 1980 Indiana court decision. In August 1980, unidentified Jehovah's Witness Parents refused to consent to blood transfusions needed to save the life of their prematurely born baby. The Porter County Welfare Department intervened and sought a court order which would allow Porter Memorial Hospital to administer the life-saving transfusions. Outcome unknown.
IN RE BABY GIRL CUMMINGS was a 1979-80 Tennessee court case in which a TRO (temporary restraining order) was issued to prevent Jehovah's Witness Parents Michael R. Cummings and Judith D. Cummings, of McEwen, Tennessee, from interfering with the administration of necessary life-saving blood transfusions to their two-day old newborn daughter, who had heart and lung problems. Officials at Meharry Medical College's Hubbard Hospital apparently had requested legal intervention on behalf of the threatened newborn, and a judge issued the TRO until a hearing could be held the following week. UNBELIEVABLY, Baby Girl Cummings DIED two days later WITHOUT doctors at Hubbard Hospital administering a single transfusion. Insightful readers should be able to speculate a number of different scenarios which might have resulted in either the NEGLIGENT or INTENTIONAL DEATH of this innocent child.
IN RE SARA CYRENNE (1980) and ONTARIO v. DENNIS CYRENNE, BERNADETTE CYRENNE, and PETER CRAMB (1980-81) were related Canadian civil and criminal court cases which we include here due to repeated false assertions by the WatchTower Cult and its supporters claiming that Jehovah's Witness Parents have never kidnapped their own children from hospitals in order to avoid court-ordered blood transfusions.
In March 1980, 12 year-old Sara Cyrenne, whom suffered from a rare type of anemia, died after her JW Parents, Dennis Cyrenne, age 41, and Bernadette Cyrenne, age 40, accompliced by a JW Elder named Peter Cramb, age 52, ABDUCTED and KIDNAPPED Sara Cyrenne from an Ontario hospital to prevent doctors from administering a court-ordered blood transfusion.
Thereafter, a well-meaning prosecutor brought negligent homocide charges against the JW Trio, but as occurs in all similar cases, it could not be proven BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT that the failure to receive the blood transfusions was the actual cause of death. However, this was not the first such kidnapping case in Canada, and this criminal prosecution and its media coverage served to fire a shot across the bow of the WatchTower Cult to put a stop to such nonsense.