MATURE MINORS UNBORN CHILDREN PARENTAL OBLIGATIONS ADULT CHILDREN
MINOR CHILDREN and BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS
1960s Court Cases
PAGE 5 of 6
2000s Cases 1990s Cases 1980s Cases 1970s 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 RE GERALD GREEN was a 1969 Pennsylvania court decision. In June 1969, Gerald Green, age 16, of Philadelphia, collapsed during graduation exercises at Edward Bok Technical High School just after receiving his diploma. Transported to Einstein Medical Center BY THE POLICE, doctors discovered that Gerald Green was INTERNALLY HEMORRHAGING due to unreleased causes. When JW Step-father and JW Mother, Robert Armistead, age 47, and Ruby Armistead, age 46, not only refused to consent to life-saving blood transfusions, but indicated their intentions to physically resist such, Einstein Medical Center sought and obtained court intervention, including orders to arrest Robert Armistead and Ruby Armistead if necessary. The Judge also confined Gerald Green to the hospital until such time that doctors determined that dangers of all types to the teenager had passed. Robert Armistead and Ruby Armistead were outraged, and threatened a federal lawsuit for the supposed violations of their constitutional rights. Robert Armistead continued to threaten to reporters that he would REMOVE his step-son from Einstein Medical Center.
IN RE BABY DORTON was one of only a few court cases that we have found where a HALFWIT JUDGE refused to intervene where Jehovah's Witness Parents had refused to consent to blood transfusions for their newborn child. In this 1968 Kentucky court case, the JEWISH Judge Marvin J. Sternberg refused the request of officials from Louisville's St. Joseph's Hospital for a restraining order to prevent JW Parents Mr/Mrs Emmanuel Dorton Jr., of Louisville, Kentucky, from interfering with the administration of blood transfusions if and when such became necessary to protect the health and life of the JW Parents' 2-day old "Rh factor" newborn. Judge Marvin Sternberg refused to intervene until the baby's life unquestionably was in jeopardy. While that may sound reasonable in theory, such was STUPID in practice. Judges across the United States recognize that the health condition of any human, much less a 2-day old newborn, can fluctuate and drastically change directions in only a matter of minutes, and thus, under such circumstances, it is only reasonable and proper for medical professionals to be given advance legal authority to act immediately if and when a patient's condition so changes for the worse and puts that patient's life in jeopardy. JEWISH Judge Marvin J. Sternberg was a FOOL, and thankfully, his handling of this case was the exception in the industry and not the rule. Outcome unknown.
IN RE BARBARA COVALT was a 1968 California court decision in which yet another Jehovah's Witness child was KIDNAPPED by their own Jehovah's Witness Parents and deliberately taken out-of-state. In August 1968, Barbara Covalt was born at Los Angeles Children's Hospital to Mr/Mrs James Covalt Jr., who also had a second 6 year-old daughter. Barbara Covalt had intestinal problems which made one or possibly more blood transfusion necessary. At seven weeks of age, the Covalts ILLEGALLY ABDUCTED Barbara Covalt from Children's Hospital, and took her to the JW Wife's parents' -- Mr/Mrs Elugio Reyes -- home in San Antonio, Texas, in order to avoid the transfusions. The Los Angeles County Court issued a warrant for the arrest of the Covalts due to Barbara Covalt being a ward of the court. Barbara Covalt's condition was given as "hazardous" due to diarrhea and vomiting. San Antonio Police eventually found and took Barbara Covalt into custody and transported her to an area hospital for emergency treatment. Outcome unknown.
IN RE KEVEN HELZER was a 1968 California court decision. In October 1968, Keven C. Helzer, age 11, was working with his JW Father, Richard C. Helzer, at a construction site in North Hollywood, California, when his right leg was crushed between the spout of a concrete truck and a tree as the young boy attempted to flag a concrete delivery truck. Having already lost a large amount of blood, the child also faced additional blood loss due to the required amputation of his right foot. Mr/Mrs Richard C. Helzer, of Sylmar, California, refused to consent to life-saving blood transfusions due to their WatchTower beliefs. Valley Doctor's Hospital sought and obtained court intervention, which included declaring Kevin to be a "neglected child", as well as authorizing all needed medical care. Keven survived this ordeal.
IN RE AFRICAN-AMERICAN TEEN GIRL was a 1967-68 Wisconsin court case which involved an unidentified 14 year-old African-American girl who suffered from sickle-cell anemia -- a hereditary disease marked by periods of anemia when blood transfusions are necessary, and periods of remission, when the patient's condition improves -- and who had been receiving blood transfusions since she was a child. In January 1968, apparently sometime after this girl's parents had converted to the WatchTower Cult, a court hearing was held when Milwaukee's Children's Hospital sought court intervention after this girl's JW Parents refused to consent to the needed blood transfusions. The girl's father, whom frequently quoted from the Bible during his testimony, testified that he would not permit a transfusion, even if doctors said the girl would die without one. The JW Teenager also declared that she would no longer consent to anymore transfusions, stating, "In the Bible, it plainly states that we should not take blood into our bodies. ... I wouldn't go and violate God's law, because I wouldn't have a chance to be resurrected."
IN RE PHILLIPS TWIN BOYS was a June 1967 Tennessee court case in which Jehovah's Witness Minister Samuel D. Phillips and his wife, Louisa Readus Phillips, of Brentwood, Tennessee, refused to give their consent for necessary life-saving blood transfusions for their premature newborn 3-pound twin sons. Officials at Vanderbilt University Hospital were forced to HURRIEDLY seek and obtain legal custody of the newborn twins in order to save their lives. Transfusions were begun immediately after a hospital official telephoned from the courthouse that legal custody had been granted to a custodian who had consented to save the two boys lives. The twin boys were listed in satisfactory condition after receiving the necessary life-saving blood transfusions.
IN RE MUNOZ TWIN BOYS was an April 1967 Texas court case. JW Parents, Mr/Mrs John Munoz refused to consent to life-saving blood transfusions required by their "blue baby" twin boys. Administrators at Santa Rosa Medical Center sought and obtained court intervention.
IN RE BABY GIRL GRIFFIN was a 1967 California federal court decision involving the newborn daughter of James T. Griffin and Mary Alice Griffin of Oxnard, California. The baby was born with Rh factor issues, and doctors at Navy Hospital at Point Huneme needed the option to administer blood transfusions if such became necessary. The Jehovah's Witness Parents both refused to give their consent, so authorization was sought from the USDC. The federal court was forced to approach this issue differently than state courts. The court first issued a restraining order prohibiting the parents from refusing their consent, and when such expired, then issue an injunction forcing the parents to give consent. Outcome unknown.
IN RE DANIEL FALCON was a 1967 Illinois court decision which involved a newborn boy named Daniel Eliseo Falcon. Daniel Falcon was the son of Jehovah's Witness parents, Miquel Falcon and Evelyn Falcon of Chicago, who refused to give consent for blood transfusions needed to completely exchange the baby's blood, which was absolutely essential to save the baby's life. In fact, doctors at Wesley Memorial Hospital requested an emergency hearing that required a Judge to go to the hospital late during a snowy night. The JW parents stated that they were not concerned about the baby dying, since they believed in the resurrection.
IN RE BETH ANN STEPHENSON was a 1967 Illinois court decision. In October 1967, Beth Ann Stephenson was born with a life-threatening blood disorder at Chicago's St. Anthony's Hospital. Via unknown circumstances, the newborn shortly ended up at Chicago's Sarah Morris Hospital. When her Jehovah's Witness parents, Mr/Mrs Phillip Stevenson, refused to allow doctors to perform an exchange transfusion, the hospital sought and obtained court intervention -- which was accomplished when a local judge brought his courtroom and all necessary officials to Sarah Morris Hospital.
ON APPLICATION OF MICHAEL REESE HOSPITAL was a 1967 Illinois court decision. Only two days after the above Stephenson drama, another unidentified Jehovah's Witness newborn required transfusions at Chicago's Michael Reese Hospital. The hospital lounge served as that courtroom.
IN RE CARMEN BATENCOURT was a February 1966 New Jersey court decision. Leonard Batencourt and Emelina Batencourt, of Newark, New Jersey, were recent Cuban immigrants who refused to provide consent for life-saving blood transfusions for their critically ill 17 month-old daughter, Carmen Batencourt, who suffered from a blood disease and anemia. Such forced United Hospitals of Newark to seek and obtain a court-order to save the child's life. Outcome unknown.
IN RE ALIDA AVILA was a 1966 New York court decision. Limited details. Alida Avila, 14, died from severe blood loss due to bleeding from an unspecified liver and spleen ailment. The girl's Jehovah's Witness Mother, Inocencia Avila, refused to consent to needed blood transfusions. St. Luke's Hospital, in Manhattan, sought and obtained court intervention, but the girl died two days later.
IN RE BABY GIRL CREDLE was a February 1966 New Jersey court case in which JW Parents, Mr/Mrs Glenwood Credle, of Newark, New Jersey, refused to consent to life-saving blood transfusions for their newborn daughter, who was born with hemorrhagic
disease, and was anemic. Administrators at Riverview Hospital were forced to seek and obtain
court intervention to save the newborn's life. At that hearing, a local JW Elder (Servant) named John Mitchell lectured the judge and doctors on the blood substitutes which the WatchTower Cult "permitted" its Jehovah's Witnesses to receive. The doctors in turn educated that JW FOOL that the newborn baby needed whole blood simply to survive. The court appointed a hospital administrator special
guardian of Baby Girl Credle, and authorized him to permit
transfusions and other medical treatment that might be necessary for the
child's health and welfare.
IN RE BARBARA DUNBAR was a 1966 Ohio court decision. In February 1966, Barbara Dunbar, age 13, died in an unidentified Painesville, Ohio area hospital from complications of a ruptured appendix. Jehovah's Witness parents, Mr/Mrs Ralph Dunbar, refused to consent to needed transfusions, so court intervention was sought and obtained. Angered by the judge's decision, Ralph Dunbar stated to a reporter,"Since when do courts have the right to become parents - or God? ... ... The Bible does not permit Christians to use blood for food, so I couldn't give the doctor permission.''
IN RE BABY GIRL BOTHA was an April 1967 Maryland court case in
which Jehovah's Witness Parents, Mr/Mrs Robert Botha, of Baltimore, Maryland (probably African immigrants) refused to consent to life-saving exchange blood transfusions required by their newborn daughter,
who suffered from a genetic blood disease, and was born anemic and with jaundice. Administrators at Baltimore's Sinai Hospital were forced to seek and obtain court intervention.
IN RE BABY BOY BOTHA was a 1965
Maryland court case in which Jehovah's Witness Parents, Mr/Mrs Robert Botha, of Baltimore, Maryland (probably African immigrants) refused to consent to life-saving exchange blood transfusions required by their newborn son, who
suffered from a genetic blood disease, and was born anemic and with jaundice.
Administrators at Baltimore's Sinai Hospital were forced to seek and obtain court intervention. Just what America and American taxpayers need -- more genetically defective REJECTS immigrating from Africa.
LARRY LEITH v. HENRY FORD HOSPITAL was 2000 Michigan civil court case that involved life-saving blood transfusions administered to a Canadian Jehovah's Witness all the way back in 1966. In August 1966, an 18 year-old Jehovah's Witness, named Larry Leith, who was described as a transient farm laborer from Pembroke, Ontario, was seriously injured when his motorcycle collided with an automobile. Bleeding badly from a partially severed right leg, Larry Leith was first transported to Lemington General Hospital, and then transferred to a Windsor hospital. At both hospitals, both Larry Leith and his JW Mother, Mrs. Joseph Leith, refused to consent to blood transfusions.
Because Canadian hospitals would not perform the needed amputation without administering blood transfusions, and not wanting to deal with legalities with the Canadian WatchTower Society, Leith was transferred to Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. There, over the protests of Leith's JW Mother, an unconscious Larry Leith was given a five-pint blood transfusion during surgery needed on the damaged leg just to keep Leith alive.
In thanks, the Leiths had Larry transferred the next day to Crittenton Hospital, where a JW Doctor, named Dr. Henri Enfroy, was supposedly on staff. (Dr. Henri Enfroy is currently listed as an Elder at the Bloomfield Hills, Michigan Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses.) There, the following day, the mangled right leg was amputated -- supposedly without blood transfusions. Dr. Henri Enfroy proudly told a reporter about the iron injections that were being given to Leith to "build up his blood". Maybe Enfroy should have more correctly designated such as "what is now Leith's blood", because without the five pints of blood received at Henry Ford Hospital, Leith would not have survived until the amputation, and he certainly would never have survived a "bloodless" amputation without those transfusions.
Larry Leith evidently lived a much longer life thanks to those blood transfusions, because Canadian newspapers reported, in May 1996, that Leith was an Elder at a Jehovah's Witness Congregation near Brockville, Ontario. Larry Leith was involved in two criminal court cases in which two Jehovah's Witnesses were being prosecuted for sexual abuse charges, and Leith and the other JW Elders at that Brockville Kingdom Hall had refused to testify against the two accused JWs.
Interestingly, it was in September 1996 that Larry Leith discovered that he had the Hepatitis C virus. Apparently due to the WatchTower Society's repeated and continuous exaggerated claim that everyone who receives a blood transfusion has a significant chance of being infected with one or more diseases, in 1997, Leith filed a medical malpractice and assault/battery civil court case against Henry Ford Hospital alleging that he had suffered physical, emotional, and spiritual damages caused by the unwanted blood transfusion.
Unfortunately, the Michigan trial court granted the Hospital's motion for summary judgment, and that was later affirmed in May 2000 by the Michigan Court of Appeals. I say "unfortunate", because I would have liked to have seen Leith prove that the Hep C diagnosed in 1996 came from a transfusion in 1966.
IN THE MATTER OF ROCKY VERNON was a 1965 Wisconsin court decision. Four month-old Rocky Vernon was the son of Jehovah's Witnesses, Mr. and Mrs. Lome Vernon of Pardeeville, Wisconsin. Suffering from complications of pneumonia the boy was transferred from a Portage, Wisconsin hospital to a Madison hospital in December 1965. The boy's condition was dire, but his Madison doctor thought that blood transfusions might save his life. Rocky's parents refused to consent. The hospital petitioned a local court for guardianship and authorization to administer life-saving transfusions. Unfortunately, the transfusions came too late. Rocky Vernon died, probably due to the multiple delays in getting proper medical care.
IN THE MATTER OF BABY BOY AGUILAR was a 1965 California court decision. In June 1965, a Jehovah's Witness named Rose Aguilar, of San Mateo, California, refused to give consent for doctors at Mills Memorial Hospital to administer needed life-saving blood transfusions to her premature newborn son. The hospital sought and obtained a court order for guardianship and authorization to administer needed medical care, including blood transfusions to deal with a congenital blood disorder. It is unknown where Robert Aguilar was in this scenario given that he was identified as NOT being a JW. This was the couple's fourth child.
IN RE JOHN LEWIS was a 1965 Iowa court case. In March 1965, JW Parents, Mr/Mrs Garnett Lewis, of Keokuk, Iowa, refused to consent to life-saving blood transfusions for their 5 year-old son, Johnnie Lewis, whom suffered from a blood disease called nephrosis. University of Iowa College of Medicine in Iowa City was forced to seek and obtain court intervention.
IN RE FREDERICK PIERCE was a 1965 Illinois court decision. In April 1965, 23 month-old Frederick Pierce, of Matteson, Illinois, was admitted to Chicago's Michael Reese Hospital, in a coma, suffering from acute hemolytic anemia. When the infant's Jehovah's Witness Father, Roy B. Pierce, refused to grant consent for life-saving blood transfusions, the hospital sought and received judicial intervention. Due to the delay, doctors gave Fred Pierce only a 50% chance of survival. Outcome unknown.
IN RE GLEN REX WATKINS was a 1965 Louisiana court decision. Glen R. Watkins, age 16, son of Minnie Evans Watkins, and from an extended Baker, Louisiana African-American Jehovah's Witness Family, was for unknown reasons in the legal custody of his aunt and guardian, Mary Stewart, when he was hospitalized in critical condition for malnutrition, and suffering with sickle cell anemia. Stewart refused to grant permission for life-saving blood transfusions, so doctors were forced to obtain judicial intervention. Watkins required three transfusions, and even that only brought him to fair condition.
IN RE DAUGHTER OF NELSON DUPRE was a 1965 Massachusetts court decision. In September 1965, the 3 year-old daughter of Jehovah's Witnesses, Mr/Mrs Nelson Dupre, was badly burned when she and another child were playing with matches in an upstairs bedroom. Curiously, neighbors put out the fire after the child ran out of the home. When the JW parents refused to consent to needed blood transfusions, Worchester City Hospital officials sought and obtained court intervention. The court took custody of the child and authorized all medical care. Hopefully, God showed mercy to that child - whatever the outcome.
APPLICATION OF BROOKLYN HOSPITAL was a 1965 court decision. Elizabeth Torres, the five year old daughter of Victor Torres and Fidelina Torres, suffered third degree burns over 25 per cent of her body when a gas dryer in the home malfunctioned and caught her clothes on fire. Blood transfusions were an necessary part of the medical treatments required to save Elizabeth's young life. Victor Torres and Fidelina Torres were Jehovah's Witnesses with 8 children. They refused to consent to the administering of blood transfusions. Brooklyn Hospital made an emergency appeal to the local court for appointment of a temporary guardian who would be authorized to consent to blood transfusions and other medical care needed to save Elizabeth's life. Doctors at the hospital testified that blood transfusions were absolutely essential for there to be any possibly for Elizebeth's life to be spared. In fact, without such, she would likely die within 5 hours. (In reality, a doctor rushed straight to the courthouse.)
The Puerto Rican father told the Judge that a blood transfusion could not help his daughter because "blood is made by the body." The Puerto Rican mother said that with her faith in God, her daughter couldn't die. The court granted the emergency petition without wasting time with lengthy legal reasoning, stating in part:
"All of the authorities that could be cited, and they are too numerous to mention, are based solely on the welfare of the infant. However, the Court does make reference to the case of Battaglia v. Battaglia, 9 Misc.2d 1067, 172 N.Y.S.2d 361. The authorities state the Court must act in relation to the infant as 'parens patriae.' In this context, the Court has paramount rights to decide what is best for the infant even over that of the natural parents. All of the uncontradicted medical testimony adduced at this hearing points in only one direction. The welfare of this child could be seriously, indeed fatally endangered if this medical procedure, as outlined by the physician testifying, is not followed. The Court is convinced after hearing the doctor that this child will die if the procedure is not followed."
IN THE MATTER OF LYDIA D'ANDREA was a 1965 Massachusetts court decision. In May 1965, Mr. and Mrs. John D'Andrea refused to give their consent for blood transfusions to be administered to their newborn daughter, Lydia D'Andrea, who had been born with Rh negative factor blood complications. Boston's University Hospital sought an emergency court order for guardianship and authorization to administer the needed transfusions. A judge interrupted court proceeding to hear out the hospital's attorney. He thereafter signed the attorney's handwritten petition, and authorized three transfusions, as needed to save the baby's life.
The Jehovah's Witnesses parents had curiously recently immigrated from Switzerland, although the father was supposedly from Italy, and the mother was possibly from France. They already had a 2 year-old named Enrico D'Andrea. John D'Andrea, who was were upset at the court order, stated: "I don't feel its right. It goes against my religion.There was still life in the baby and she might have lived anyway. I wanted them to try and save her without the blood."
At the hearing, a JW Overseer told the judge that JWs would refuse to consent to blood transfusions even if such meant that death of the newborn would be a certainty. The Judge responded that in such circumstances that would be equivalent to killing the child. The JW Overseer responded, "Well, it sounds worse to you than it does to us."
Amusingly, after having listened to the WatchTower spiel, which includes the ridiculous idea that blood transfusions are the same as eating human blood, and that transfusions are using blood as food, the Judge asked the JW Overseer, "Do you think the court would allow parents to refuse to feed the child?" The JW Overseer responded that such was not a proper analogy.
IN THE MATTER OF DAVID FERREIRA was a 1965 Wisconsin court decision. In January 1965, David Ferreira was born with a blood disorder, which caused him to turn yellow soon after birth. Doctors at a Milwaukee hospital testified that his condition necessitated replacement of his type "0" blood with type "A" blood. Otherwise, his condition might lead to cerebral palsy or a similar brain ailment. David Ferreira's father, Santos Ferreira, informed the doctors that he was a Jehovah's Witness, and would not give his consent for the blood exchange or any other blood transfusions. The hospital then petitioned the local court for guardianship and authorization to administer any medically required care, including blood transfusions. Petition was granted. Afterwards, Santos Ferreira, who only spoke Spanish, retorted: "I'm the one to decide what I want to do. Its my faith. ... This whole procedure is really an invasion of any American citizen's freedom of religion." Ferreira further said the judge's action was "equal to what goes on in totalitarian states". Kinda makes you wonder who the interpreter was, and whether he was helping Santos Ferreira out with his anti-American comments. Santos Ferreira should have STAYED wherever he came from. (Researchers, check bankruptcy records.)
IN RE BABY PERNICK was a 1965 Pennsylvania court decision. In April 1965, Mr/Mrs John A. Pernick, of Russellton, Pennsylvania, refused to consent to exchange blood transfusions needed by their newborn, because of their WatchTower beliefs. Tarentum's Allegheny Valley Hospital was forced to seek and obtain court intervention to save the newborn's life. Outcome unknown.
IN RE SHARLENE FENNELLY was a 1965 New York court decision. In August 1965, Sharlene Fennelly, age 15, and her Grandmother came to NYC, from Medford, Massachusetts, to attend the WatchTower Convention. While crossing a street, they both were struck by an automobile. The grandmother died. Fennelly was admitted to St. Clare's Hospital in critical condition and in need of a blood transfusion. When the Jehovah's Witness parents, Mr/Mrs Daniel Fennelly were contacted back in Medford, they declined to consent to the needed transfusions, so the hospital sought and obtained court intervention. Outcome unknown.
IN RE BABY GIRL SIMPSON was a 1964 Michigan court decision. In June 1964, a Jehovah's Witness Couple, named Mr/Mrs George C. Simpson, of Corunna, Michigan, refused to consent to blood transfusions needed by their newborn baby girl, whom had hemolytic blood disease. Officials at Flint Osteopathic Hospital sought and obtained court permission to administer transfusions as needed. Outcome unknown.
IN RE RUSSELL SCOTT MAYDOLE was a 1964 Washington state court case in which this child's Jehovah's Witness Parents, Norman C. Maydole and Carolyne L. Maydole, refused to give their consent for life-saving blood transfusions which might be necessary during the treatment of the child's erythroblastosis fetalis, which thereafter required a hospital/doctor to seek and obtain court-ordered intervention and authority to administer such transfusions if needed. No transfusions were required.
IN RE DEE ANNE ZOCHER was a 1964 California court case which involved 6
year-old Dee Anne Zocher, who suffered a hip fracture in early September 1964
when she was struck by an automobile while riding her bicycle. Dee Anne
needed orthopedic surgery performed at the treating Sacramento Hospital, but
the surgeons would only operate if Jehovah's Witness Mother, Mari Zocher, would give her
consent to administration of blood transfusions should such become necessary
during the surgery. When Mari Zocher refused, administrators at Sacramento
Hospital sought court intervention. Mari Zocher then ABDUCTED Dee Anne Zocher
from Sacramento Hospital. At the court hearing the Zocher were supported
by over 150 local Jehovah's Witnesses. Despite that overwhelming
display of stupidity and ignorance, the court ordered that Dee Anne Zocher
be returned to Sacramento Hospital, where the court ordered that
all needed medical care be provided to ensure the health and safety of
Dee Anne Zocher.
IN RE RICHARD R. GRANGER III was a 1964 Pennsylvania court decision. In June 1964, Richard Granger III, age 8, was taken to Philadelphia's Children's Hospital to be treated for leukemia. Mr/Mrs Richard R. Granger Jr, of Chester, Pennsylvania, refused to consent to necessary blood transfusions due to their WatchTower beliefs. The hospital sought and obtained court intervention. Outcome unknown.
IN THE MATTER OF NATHAN RICHARDSON was a 1964 Maryland court decision. In October 1964, one-month-old Nathan Richardson, of Baltimore, Maryland, needed surgery to correct a defect in the newborn's heart. Doctors at Baltimore's City Hospital informed Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Richardson that blood transfusions would be needed during the surgery. The Richardsons informed the hospital that they were Jehovah's Witnesses, and that they would not consent to do what the Bible forbids. The hospital sought and obtained guardianship and authorization to administer required medical treatment. Outcome unknown.
IN THE MATTER OF CHARLES WARREN SENS JR was a 1964 Maryland court decision. In March 1964, 16/17 year old Charles W. Sens Jr. was seriously injured when the truck he was driving left the road and struck a tree. Due to the amount of blood loss, doctors at Salisbury's Peninsula General Hospital informed Mr. and Mrs. Charles Sens that their son would likely need a blood transfusion to save his life, but the Sens refused to give their consent based on the beliefs as Jehovah's Witnesses.
After learning of the situation, an Uncle living in Virginia hired a local attorney to seek and obtain custody of his nephew, as well as obtain authorization for the hospital to administer all necessary medical to save Junior's life. In deference to the family's beliefs, the hospital decided to administer a transfusion only if absolutely necessary. Fortunately, Junior recovered without requiring a transfusion. He was discharged about three weeks later, although transfusions might have speeded his recovery. (Typically, when a JW recovers without having received a blood transfusion, the boasting JWs fail to mention that such often means much longer hospital stays which are paid by taxpayers or policyholders.)
In April 1964, young Charles had to appear in traffic court where he was convicted of reckless driving after the investigating police officer testified to signs of excessive speed. The young Jehovah's Witness pled "not guilty", and testified that he ran off the road in an attempt to miss a dog.
IN RE WENDELL DEAN CLEMENTS was an August 1963 Texas court case which involved 18 month-old Wendell D. Clements, whom suffered from an unspecified kidney ailment. Houston's Children's Hospital sought and obtained court authorization to administer blood transfusions if such became necessary, after Mr/Mrs William Clements, of Pasadena, Texas, refused to provide consent due to their WatchTower Cult beliefs. Transfusions supposedly were never required. (Readers should understand that in certain cases, particularly those involving children, some hospitals may have provided incorrect info to the media in naive efforts to lessen negative publicity for the JW Parents, and to reduce the chance that a child whom had received a transfusion would be stigmatized by the family's Jehovah's Witness congregants.)
ON APPLICATION OF SANTA ROSA MEDICAL CENTER was a 1963 Texas court decision. In September 1963, an unidentified San Antonio "young" Jehovah's Witness couple delivered a daughter who suffered from "blue baby" syndrome. When they refused to consent to blood transfusions needed to save the newborn's life, the hospital petitioned a local Judge to intervene. Within an hour, Judge Casseb summoned the DA, Children's Services, and all the involved parties, and conducted an emergency hearing in which the infant was made a ward of the court, and all necessary medical treatment was authorized. However, the JWs' attorney stopped the doctor's attempt to administer the transfusion by telling him that he was taking further legal action. The hospital contacted Judge Casseb, who instructed them to proceed. After the child's life was saved, the Judge received a letter from the JWs' attorney in which the couple expressed their appreciation for his intervention, and having saved their baby's life, while allowing them to maintain a clean conscience toward their religion.
JOHN M. LEVITSKY v. BILLY JEAN LEVITSKY was a 1963 Maryland appellate court decision. Dr. John M. Levitsky and Billie Jean Levitsky were married in 1949 immediately after the Doctor's graduation from the Medical School of the University of Nebraska. The mother was a Registered Nurse. Thereafter, the couple moved to Chicago, where they had twin daughters in 1953. and a son in 1954. In 1959, Dr. Levitsky moved his family to Baltimore, where he had been appointed to a fellowship for advanced study at Johns Hopkins University Hospital.
When the Levitskys married in 1949, they both were members of the Roman Catholic faith. However, in 1956, Billie Jean Levitsky started studying with the Jehovah's Witnesses, and eventually converted. Dr. Levitsky continued to attend the Catholic Church by himself on occasion.
IN RE NICHOLAS LEVITSKY. After living in Baltimore for only about six months, it appears that Dr. Levitsky took a new position in Alabama, and moved there by himself; thus separating from Billie Jean. In March 1960, the Dr. Levitsky obtained a divorce in an Alabama court. The custody case was conducted in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County. In December 1961, in the midst of the divorce and custody contest, the youngest child, Nicholas Levitsky, age 7, was admitted to a hospital and was hemorrhaging internally due to ulceration in the intestinal tract. His hemoglobin count became critically low, and Nicholas needed a blood transfusion to survive. However, Nurse Levitsky refused to consent to a blood transfusion for Nicholas. Probably due only to Dr. Levitsky's prominence in the medical community, the Hospital knew where he was and contacted him to obtain consent. Blood transfusions were administered, and Nicholas Levitsky was spared from becoming another martyr for the WatchTower Society.
By a decree entered May 11th, 1962, custody of the three minor children was awarded to Billie Jean Levitsky, subject to the right of Dr. John M. Levitsky to visit his three children and to have them visit him "at all reasonable times." The custody decree provided that Billie Jean Levitsky, R.N. was required to "give immediate notice to this Court, in writing, in the event any of the said children shall be admitted to a hospital for care or treatment of any kind." The Circuit Court also retained continuing jurisdiction over the children, so that the Court might require periodic reports by competent pediatricians, periodic reports of school attendance, achievement and adjustment, and such other information as may be reasonably required, to keep the Court informed of the welfare and progress of the children.
Dr. Levitsky appealed the award of custody of the children to Billie Jean Levitsky, but also lost the appeal. Unfortunately, I don't have access to what must have been an interesting decision. Commentary on the net indicates that the decision noted that it could not order Billie Jean Levitsky to consent to future transfusions due to her own right to religious freedom, but the court tightened the custody restrictions and made additional provisions to protect the children's lives in the event of any future need for blood transfusions.
IN RE THOMAS ALLEN BURNITT was an October 1963 Washington state court case in which Jehovah's Witness Parents, Clifford T. Burnitt and Joyce Burnitt, of Juneau, Alaska, refused to give their consent for life-saving blood transfusions for their 7 year-old son, Thomas A. Burnitt, whom needed emergency surgery to correct a peptic ulcer causing gastric intestinal hemorrhaging. Administrators at Seattle's University Hospital were forced to seek and obtain court-ordered intervention and authority to administer transfusions if needed, which occurred in this case.
KENTUCKY v. THOMAS ALLEN BURNITT was a 2009 arrest in Hancock County, Kentucky (location of Kentucky's only paper mill) on charges of DUI and permit violations. Outcome unknown.
IN RE MICHAEL LOOPER was a 1963 Mississippi court decision. Returning from the international WatchTower Convention in NYC, the Looper family of Lake Jackson, Texas, was involved in a serious auto accident near Anderson, Mississippi. The father, Marvin Looper, 46, was killed, and the mother and a daughter were hospitalized, along with Michael, 13, who was critically injured and needed a blood transfusion. When the mother refused to consent to any transfusions for herself or her two children, the Anderson Hospital sought and obtained court intervention. Relatives from Texas testified in favor of authorizing transfusions for Michael. Outcome of all three family members unknown.
IN RE DEBRA LONG was a 1962 California court case which has indications of
several different JW-related scenarios occurring. In April 1962, a Jehovah's
Witness Family from San Diego, California, which was composed of Julius Beck,
age 54, his much younger wife, Loretta Beck, age 32, and 7 year-old Debra Long,
who was Loretta Beck's daughter from her first marriage, were all involved in an
automobile accident. First, one can't help but wonder if this is yet another
instance of a lonely young housewife being targeted for conversion as a wife for an older JW widower or divorcee -- followed by estrangement and divorce from her husband, divorce, and re-marriage to the waiting older Jehovah's Witness Male. Second,
Julius Beck reportedly died as a result of the automobile accident. Other than
"karma", one must wonder if the death of Julius Beck was caused by the actual
accident, or whether Julius Beck died as a result of his refusing needed life-saving
blood transfusions. In any event, when Loretta Beck refused to consent to life-saving blood transfusions for Debra Long, hospital administrators sought and obtained court intervention.
ON APPLICATION OF COLUMBIA HOSPITAL FOR WOMEN was a 1962 Wash DC court decision. In June 1962, the hospital was forced to seek and obtain court intervention, when the unidentified Jehovah's Witness Parents of a 2 year-old infant refused to consent to a life-saving exchange transfusion made necessary by intense jaundice. Sketchy details relate to the birth of a "blue baby" to a Jehovah's Witness Mother and a non-JW Father at McCook Memorial Hospital, in Hartford, Connecticut, in September 1962. The JW Mother refused to grant permission for a life-saving blood transfusion, and officials at McCook Hospital sided with the JW Mother despite the non-JW Father's permission. The non-JW Father quickly had his newborn child transferred to Hartford's Saint Francis Hospital where doctors administered the needed medical treatments. Outcome unknown.
IN RE BABY WALSH was a 1962 Ohio court decision. In June 1962, an extremely pregnant Jehovah's Witness, named Mrs. Lennis M. Walsh, traveled from Ontario, Canada to Columbus, Ohio to attend a WatchTower Convention, without her JW husband. The newborn needed a blood transfusion to survive due to Rh factor problems, and both mother and father refused to give consent. The unidentified Columbus hospital sought and obtained court intervention. Judge Rose pointed out to the JWs arguing otherwise that religious belief was one factor that a child did not necessarily inherit from its parents.
IN THE MATTER OF DENNIS LEROY JOHNSON was a 1962 Indiana court decision. In January 1962, Dennis Leroy Johnson, of Wawaka, Indiana, suffered an injured kidney and internal bleeding after the snow sled on which he and his father were riding collided with a fence post. Jehovah's Witness Parents, Gene Johnson, age 32, and Patricia Johnson, age 30, refused to consent to any blood transfusion that might be needed during the required surgery. LaGrange County Hospital officials petitioned a local judge for court-ordered authorization to provide all necessary medical care. After listening to the Johnsons and a local JW Overseer recite the WatchTower Society's nonsense, the Judge declared the parents' actions to be "child neglect", and awarded guardianship to the hospital. Patricia Johnson reportedly screamed at the Judge, "You are killing my son." Previously, the Johnsons had given the hospital a signed statement which read, "We would rather see our son dead than permit the use of blood transfusions to save his life." IDIOTS!!!
IN RE THOMAS TENHENGEL was a 1962 New Jersey court decision. In September 1962, Thomas Tenhengel, age 14, of Meadow Lake, New Jersey, was seriously injured after being struck by an automobile while crossing a major highway on a Saturday (while out in field service?). Jehovah's Witness Parents, Mr/Mrs John Tenhengel, refused to consent to blood transfusions required due to internal hemorrhaging and required during the DELAYED surgery to repair internal injuries. Thomas died despite St. Clare's Hospital having sought and obtained court intervention.
IN RE BABY BOY FOWLER was a 1962 Maryland court decision. In May 1962, Mr/Mrs Melvyn Fowler, of Baltimore, Maryland, refused to give consent for necessary blood transfusions for their newborn son, who was suffering from jaundice and facing possible brain injury and possible death. Baltimore's University Hospital then sought and obtained court authorization to administer all necessary medical needed to save the infant's life. Outcome unknown.
IN THE MATTER OF PETER SANTOS v. GOLDSTEIN was a 1962 New York criminal court appellate decision. Famous WatchTower attorney Hayden C. Covington represented the Jehovah's Witnesses parents. The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children filed criminal charges against Felix and Juana Santos after they refused to give parental consent for the administration of blood transfusions in the event such became necessary during necessary surgery planned for their son, Peter Santos. On May 25,1961, a NYC trial court ruled Peter Santos had been "neglected" by his Jehovah's Witnesses parents under the provisions of the New York City Domestic Relations Court Act. The trial court's ruling was affirmed on appeal, and the WatchTower Society's attempt at further appeal was dismissed.
NEW JERSEY v. JOHN PERRICONE and RUTH PERRICONE was a 1962 New Jersey Supreme Court decision. Famous WatchTower attorney and one-time Vice President of the WatchTower Society, Hayden Covington, argued the appeal for the Perricones. (Hayden Covington also represented non-JWs like Mahommed Ali's famous draft case. Covington was eventually disfellowshiped for alcoholism, but reinstated shortly before his death. Covington once revealed that second WatchTower President J.F. Rutherford had had a mistress at Bethel.)
The infant son of Jehovah's Witnesses John and Ruth Perricone was admitted to Pollak Hospital on March 1, 1961. The infant was blue around the lips and on the nail beds, and showed clubbing of the fingers and the toes, which is evidence of chronic lack of oxygen. Further examination revealed that his heart was enlarged, and he had a heart murmur.
At admission, Ruth Perricone had consented to the performance of such surgical operations as the physicians thought necessary for the boy's welfare. Although this consent had no restrictions, the infant's Progress Record contained the notation: "Parents are Jehovah Witnesses - request no usage of blood transfusions." The physicians treated John without the use of blood transfusions until they thought such transfusions were essential. At that point they requested permission from the Perricones to administer blood. When permission was denied, Hospital applied to the local court "to have a special guardian appointed for this child for the express and sole purpose of having the necessary medical attention given to the child in the form of blood transfusions, which the physicians believe to be necessary."
Trial was held on March 3, 1961. Dr. Martin Frank, one of the two physicians who had attended the child, testified that the infant was in danger of death, that John was "critically ill" and that "the most likely clinical diagnosis involved an abnormal communication between the right and the left ventricles of the heart, a condition associated with a narrowing of the out-flow tract of the right heart which created enough resistance to force the blood to flow from right to left and was responsible for the blueness." According to Dr. Frank, the hospital had attempted procedures other than blood transfusions to treat the child "but none of these is as effective as the blood itself would be." The child's condition grew steadily worse during the 36 hours following his admission to the hospital. Dr. Frank stated that: "at the present time this child suffers from oxygen lack, which is a chronic problem and is a result of the reduction of the quantity of blood flowing through his lungs. The treatment which is recommended is that he receive a blood transfusion which will not entirely correct this problem, but will alleviate it. The purpose is to supply red cells which carry oxygen which have a special function and for which, at the present time, there is no known medical substitute." In response to the question of whether the danger of death could be averted to a degree by the use of a blood transfusion, he said, "I think his chances will be improved for survival." It was his opinion also that: "An adequate supply of oxygen to the brain, given in time and frequently, assisted by the use of blood transfusions, may prevent severe irreversible damage to the brain and be life-saving." Furthermore, he pointed out that the child had lost 3 1/2 ounces of blood as a result of a catheter used for diagnostic studies when the patient was admitted. The volume of the loss seemed less critical, in the doctor's opinion, than the patient's response to the loss. The latter led Dr. Frank to conclude that the patient's oxygen carrying capacity was poor, and that a blood transfusion was necessary. On cross-examination by the Perricone's attorney, Dr. Frank testified the child's chances of dying that very night would be "two or three times greater" if he did not have a blood transfusion.
Dr. Gilbert E. Levinson, the only other doctor who had examined the child, corroborated Dr. Frank's testimony. Transfusions, he asserted, would free the child of possible neurological disability also. On cross-examination he said: "I think without transfusion he has only an outside chance for surviving," and even if under the circumstances the child did not die, his mentality would be impaired.
The Perricones produced no medical witnesses. Although he knew his son might die without the transfusion, he had not sought advice from other doctors regarding the advisability of a transfusion. Ruth Perricone was in full accord with her husband's decisions. John Perricone testified that he was a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses and that his sole reason for refusing to permit a blood transfusion was based upon passages in the WatchTower Society Bible, New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (1961 ed.). He stated:
"I have dedicated my life to do God's work in accordance with scriptures of the Bible. One of the particular scriptures makes mention of taking of blood or transferring it from one person to another. The one part I have in mind is taken from the book Leviticus, 17th Chapter, Verse 11-12. It states the life of the flesh is in the blood. No soul of you shall eat blood; neither shall any stranger that so joineth meeting you eat blood. From the view point of this scripture and others that point to this, I can assume then, from my position as a dedicated minister of Jehovah's Witnesses, to hold fast to the belief or to the teachings which were set down in the Bible."
The court found the Perricones guilty of neglect of their infant son by their refusing to grant permission for necessary blood transfusions. Thomas J. Finn, Superintendent of the Berthold S. Pollak Hospital was appointed guardian of the infant, including custody and care, and the court authorized Finn to execute the necessary consent for a blood transfusion. In spite of the blood transfusions finally administered, the child died.
On appeal, the Perricones argued that their constitutional rights of parental care and religious freedom had been violated; that the court was without jurisdiction to take custody of the child from them under [New Jersey law] because they were not unfit parents, nor "cruel" nor "neglectful", as the terms are used therein; and that [New Jersey law #2] providing that parents shall not be denied the right to treat or provide treatment for an ill child "in accordance with the religious tenets of any church," was violated by the court order. The Perricones also contended that it is not within the competency of courts to say what is or what is not reasonable in reference to religious beliefs. And on summation and at oral argument the Perricones (Hayden Covington) advanced the argument that the use of blood transfusions in the treatment of disease is still of doubtful if not of harmful value. Any doubts, they say, should be resolved in favor of the parents' judgment.
Hospital argued that the common law doctrine of "parens patriae", as incorporated in New Jersey statutory law provides that the Superior Court or the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court may order that custody be taken from parents when the parents are unfit or neglect to provide proper protection, maintenance and education. Hospital further urged the view that [New Jersey law #2] is restricted in application to cases where parents are subjected to criminal prosecution for neglect. On the constitutional religious issue, Hospital argued that the right to religious freedom must give way when that which the State is charged with protecting, a child in this case, is placed in "immediate and present danger." The Supreme Court of New Jersey affirmed, stating in part:
"We first consider appellants' argument that the trial court violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States ..., by depriving them of freedom of religion and their rights as parents. ... ...
"It is conceded that appellants' interpretation of these [Bible excerpts] is in accord with the tenets of their religion and that appellants at all times acted sincerely with the best interests of their child in mind. ... ...
"... freedom of religion and the right of parents to the care and training of their children are to be accorded the highest possible respect in our basic scheme. ... But 'neither rights of religion nor rights of parenthood are beyond limitation.' Prince v. Massachusetts ... .. In Prince the court held that Massachusetts, acting to safeguard the general interest and well-being of its youth, could prohibit a child of a Jehovah's Witness parent from distributing religious pamphlets on the street even though the child was accompanied by her adult guardian. The court observed: 'The right to practice religion freely does not include liberty to expose the child to ill health or death.' ...
"The facts in the instant case clearly evidence a more compelling necessity for the protection of a child's welfare than those in Prince. .. We hold, therefore, that ... the action of the trial court pursuant to the statute is [not] violative of either the Federal or the State Constitution.
"Historically, the jurisdiction here exercised by the trial court was in its character parens patriae, i.e., a sovereign right and duty to care for a child and protect him from neglect, abuse and fraud during his minority. ... Parents were under a similar duty to provide reasonable care, protection, maintenance and education for their children. While, absent a statutory provision, a parent could not be convicted of a crime for refusing on religious grounds to provide certain medical aid for his child, ... the common law courts could act to protect the interests of the child, take custody from the parents and appoint a guardian when the parents had failed in their duty or were unfit to be intrusted with the care of the child. ...
"The principles regarding the State's interest in infants were specifically written into the statute establishing the jurisdiction of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. ..
"Ordinarily children are brought within the jurisdiction of a court when proceedings are instituted affecting the person of the infant. ... ... ...
"We are of the opinion that [applicable New Jersey laws] authorize the action taken by the trial court here. ...
"... the refusal of parents, on religious grounds, to submit their infant child to a blood transfusion necessary to save its life or mental health amounted to statutory neglect, and therefore it was proper to appoint a guardian and to award custody to him for the limited purpose of authorizing transfusions. ... the Legislature has provided that the jurisdiction of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court shall extend to protect infants from neglect and to enforce legal obligations due them. .. ... ...
"... the only reasonable interpretation is that the Legislature intended to protect from criminal prosecution persons acting pursuant to their religious beliefs where the welfare of children is involved. But it does not follow that because such persons are immune from criminal prosecutions, the State is helpless in protecting children. .. ...
"... appellants contend that as blood transfusions are not universally recognized as beneficial or safe, the trial court was in error in authorizing the guardian to permit the treatment. We cannot agree with appellants. True, not every refusal to consent to treatment for an infant constitutes evidence of unfitness or neglect to provide proper protection. For example, refusals to permit corrective surgery for a congenital arm deformity ... and to correct rachitis ... have been held insufficient grounds for taking custody from the parents. Although the court in Hudson reasoned that refusal to consent to a surgical operation would not of itself indicate that the parents were unfit, the facts in that case are distinguishable from the case at hand. The infant's life was not considered in imminent danger and the proposed operation constituted a significant element of danger in itself. .. ...
"Concededly, medicine and surgery are not yet exact sciences and the result of any given operation or treatment cannot be foretold with complete accuracy. However, courts can be guided only by the prevailing medical opinion. Had there been a relevant and substantial difference of medical opinion about the efficacy of the proposed treatment or if there were substantial evidence that the treatment itself posed a significant danger to the infant's life, a strong argument could be made in favor of appellants' position. No such evidence was here presented. The medical testimony was unanimous n its endorsement of the necessity for immediate blood transfusions.
"The question arose at oral argument as to why the trial court felt it necessary to appoint a special guardian for the limited purpose of ordering a blood transfusion rather than directly ordering a transfusion. Probably the trial court was motivated by considerations suggested in Labrenz. There, the chief probation officer of the trial court was appointed and directedto consent to the transfusions. The court retained jurisdiction in case further orders were found necessary. ... a transfusion had been administered ..., and that the child's health had greatly improved. The court then ordered the child released from the hospital and returned to her parents. However, it refused to discharge the guardian at that time because it felt that periodic medical examinations might be necessary to determine the need for additional transfusions (and if so the guardian could order them without instituting another suit). We think the court here acted properly in appointing a guardian under the facts presented." ... ...
IN RE KENNETH CLARK was a 1962 Ohio court decision. In September 1962, Kenneth Clark, age 3, was severely burned at his Bowling Green, Ohio, home when he "fell" into a bathtub of hot water. Kenneth was first admitted at the Bowling Green Hospital, but was transferred to Toledo's Mercy Hospital, with second and third degree burns over 40 percent of his body. As Kenneth's blood condition deteriorated, his Jehovah's Witness Parents, Mr/Mrs Paul Clark, were asked to consent to blood transfusions if such became necessary to save his life. Kenneth's parents refused. Dr. James G. Sullivan then petitioned a local court for permission to administer blood transfusions if such became medically necessary. The court granted the Hospital's petition citing Ohio's Juvenile Code, which provided for emergency medical and surgical care for children, as well as the court's right under common law to act in behalf of the interests of the child.
Kenneth's condition gradually improved, and it appeared that a blood transfusion would not be necessary. Kenneth's parents, represented by JW Attorney, Walter Kobil, then attempted to vacate the outstanding court authorization -- contending that Kenneth's was not an emergency situation, and just about every other legal, medical, and nonsensical argument over a two and one-half hour session. The court rejected the arguments, and declined to vacate the order in the event that Kenneth's "critical condition" suddenly worsened, and a transfusion would be needed to save his life. In fact, the boy's condition did worsen, and a transfusion was administered to save his life. In ruling against the JW Parents, Judge Paul W. Alexander eloquently stated with often quoted verbiage:
Do the parents own their child's body? Is he their chattel? It is true that parents exercise a dominion over their child so mighty and yet so minute as to be sometimes frightening. ... But there are well-defined limitations upon this appalling power of parent over child.
No longer can parents virtually exercise the power of life or death over their children. ... They may not abuse their child or contribute to his dependency, neglect, or delinquency. ... And while they may, under certain circumstances, deprive him of his liberty or his property, under no circumstances, with or without due process, with or without religious sanction, may they deprive him of his life!
The evidence was undisputed that blood transfusion was necessary, and the best available medical opinion held that to deprive the child of it would have been to risk his life. We hold the parents had no right to subject their child to such a risk. ...
The Biblical passages relied on to require vacation of the Court's emergency order were as follows: Genesis 9:3,4; Leviticus 3:17, 17:14; Deuteronomy 12:23; Acts 15:28, 29. To a layman unversed in the seemingly esoteric art of theological interpretation of the 17th century English version of ancient Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, these passages are, to say the least, somewhat obscure. They have to do with blood and the eating or taking thereof. Blood transfusion as administered by modern medicine was unknown to the authors of these cryptic dicta. Had its beneficient effects been known to them, it is not unlikely some exception would have been made in its favor -- especially by St. Luke who is said to have been a physician.
But in our humble civil court we must confine ourselves to the civil law of the State. Religious doctrines and dogmas, be they obviously sound or curiously dubious, may not control. The parents in this case have a perfect right to worship as they please. They enjoy complete freedom of religion. The parents also have the right to use all lawful means to vindicate this right (and in the present instance they appear to have done their full duty by their religion).
But this right of theirs ends where somebody else's right begins. Their child is a human being in his own right, with a soul and body of his own. He has rights of his own -- the right to live and to grow up without disfigurement.
The child is a citizen of the State. While he 'belongs' to his parents, he belongs also to the State. Their rights in him entail many duties. Likewise the fact that the child belongs to the State imposes upon the State many duties. Chief among them is the duty to protect his right to live and to grow up with a sound mind in a sound body, and to brook no interference with that right by any person or organization.
When a religious doctrine espoused by the parents threatens to defeat or curtail such a right of their child, the State's duty to step in and preserve the child's right is immediately operative.
To put it another way, when a child's right to live and his parents' religious belief collide, the former is paramount, and the religious doctrine must give way.
IN THE MATTER OF MELISSA DAWN VON BURGER was a 1962 Louisiana court decision. In November 1962, Melissa Dawn Von Burger was born with serious abdominal deformities which required an immediate attempt at surgical correction. Donald von Burger and his wife consented to the surgery, but as devout Jehovah's Witnesses, they refused to consent to the blood transfusion which the surgery required. Touro Infirmary then requested emergency court authorization for all necessary medical care, which was granted, but the one-day old baby girl died due to the serious birth defect. Donald Von Burger complained to a reporter that the hospital and doctors had taken his child and done what they wanted. "It might as well have not been our child," stated the grateful JW father.
IN RE JOSEPH MERKLEIN was a 1962 Idaho court case. After months of suffering with an unidentified illness which caused internal bleeding, in June 1962, Joe Merklein, age 17, of Pocatello, Idaho, was admitted to St. Anthony's Hospital, where his JW Father, Elmer Merklein, age 47, a widower, refused to consent to necessary blood transfusions. Despite the fact that Joseph Merklein himself signed hospital documents okaying blood transfusions, this typically over-cautious hospital, which did NOT need anyone's consent, still waited for the teenager's non-JW GrandFather to apply for and receive court intervention before administering the needed transfusions. Reportedly, Elmer Merklein did not even speak at the court hearing, but rather had a Congregation Servant deliver the routine WatchTower anti-transfusion sermon, including delivering to reporters the obligatory "curse" that the responsibility for the transfusion was now on the Judge's head.. Apparently, Elmer Merklein was happy that the court had intervened, YET, he still had endangered his son's life by protesting transfusions at the hospital, and delaying their administration. It is easy to see what and who was most important in his life. We thank Joe Merklein for his service in Vietnam.
IN RE LENEAU CRAWFORD JR was a 1962 New Jersey court decision which involved the two year-old son of Leneau Crawford Sr., 22, and Mary Crawford, 21. Junior was admitted to Jersey City Medical Center after being poisoned by playing with moth balls. Blood transfusions were necessary to save the child's life, but the two Jehovah's Witness parents refused to give consent. The hospital sought and obtained custody and court-ordered consent for all necessary medical treatment to save the child's life.
IN RE BABY GIRL BERRY was a Florida 1962 court decision. In August 1962, Mr/Mrs Calvin Berry, Pompano Beach, refused to consent to a necessary blood transfusion for their newborn daughter. The unidentified Fort Lauderdale hospital sought and obtained court intervention. The baby was in critical condition at last report.
IN RE BABY GIRL ACKERLAND was a 1961 Illinois court case. In January 1961,
Mrs. Gary Ackerland, of Moline, Illinois, gave birth to a baby girl who
suffered with congenital Rh factor blood disorder. The baby girl needed
exchange blood transfusions. However, Mr/Mrs Gary Ackerland had been
"studying" to become Jehovah's Witnesses. Husband Gary Ackerland refused to
give his consent for the transfusions. Mother Ackerland gladly gave her
consent. However, the IDIOTS at Moline Public Hospital, who not only needed NO ONE'S
consent to save the life of a five-day old patient, but rather had the professional and ethical responsibility to do so, refused to perform the needed exchange transfusions -- simply because the father was objecting to such. Instead,
the chickenshit hospital administrators wasted time and sought court
intervention. Baby Girl Ackerland was made a ward of the local court, and eventually received the needed medical care.
ON APPLICATION OF VALLEY CHILDRENS HOSPITAL was a 1961 California court decision. In October 1961, an unidentified Jehovah's Witness couple from Kerman, California, refused to consent to an exchange blood transfusion, so that their 1-day-old newborn would survive. Hospital officials sought and obtained court intervention.
IN RE KIMBERLY JANE ENSLEY and IN RE KIMBERLY JANE ENSLEY were related August 1961 Oregon court cases in which JW Parents, Mr/Mrs Jack P. Ensley, both age 23, of Salem, Oregon, refused to consent to necessary life-saving blood transfusions for their 5 month-old daughter, Kimberly Ensley, whom was suffering from kidney failure. First, administrators at Salem Memorial Hospital sought and obtained court authorization to administer necessary blood transfusions, which occurred. Whether for genuine medical reasons, or because of the transfusion controversy, Kim Ensley was transferred to the University of Oregon Medical School's Children's Hospital, in Portland, Oregon. There, administrators also were forced to seek and obtain court intervention regarding blood transfusions. Unfortunately, Kimberly Ensley died -- whether because of delayed medical treatment is unknown. The Jack Ensleys already had two older daughters -- Angela Ensley and Shari Lynn Ensley.
IN THE MATTER OF BRENDON HOOD was a 1960 California court decision that came too late. In January 1960, 4 year-old Brendon Hood had his tonsils removed at Woodland Park Community Hospital. The Jehovah's Witness Parents, Thomas Hood and Darlene Hood, refused to consent to blood transfusions during the surgery. Brendon continued to bleed afterwards, but his parents refused necessary transfusions. The Hospital finally petitioned the courts for guardianship and authorization to save Brendon's life. A judge was contacted in Los Angeles; 40 miles away. When informed of the 4 year-old's dire situation, the judge had a police officer transport him with sirens screaming to Brandon's bedside. The emergency hearing was held and the petition was granted, all within 15 minutes. But, not in time to save Brandon's life. As the gavel fell, a nurse announced that the boy had died. "It is God's will," said both JW Parents. Forrest B. Tanner, Presiding Overseer of the Canoga Park Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, testified, "We love our children, but we must maintain our integrity in such a crisis as faces us today."
IN THE MATTER OF KAREN KEMLINE was a 1960 California court decision. Karen Kemline, age 9, fell through a plate glass window, and severed the major artery in her left leg. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Allan R. Kemline of Albany, California, first tried to treat the cut themselves, thus adding to the amount of blood loss. After finally taking Karen to Kaiser Foundation Hospital, the JW Parents told Dr. Zaharias to do whatever he must to save Karen's life, but not to use blood transfusions because they were JWs. Zaharias telephoned Superior Court Judge Taylor who authorized Zaharias to go ahead and give Karen the transfusion she needed. Karen Kemline recovered, and these JW Parents expressed their gratitude for the doctor doing "whatever was necessary" to save Karen's life. It seems that in this scenario all parties understood each other, and were on the same page.
IN RE DAVID RODRIGUEZ was a 1960 California court decision. In February 1960, 3 month-old David Rodriquez was admitted to King's County Hospital with complications from pneumonia. An abscess had developed on the infant's lung, and doctors were forced to remove a rib to allow the abscess to drain. Because Mr/Mrs Cuelleimo Rodriguez refused to consent to a needed blood transfusion, due to their WatchTower beliefs, further complications developed, and the hospital was finally forced to seek court intervention to save the child's life.
IN RE BABY GIRL FRACKER was a 1960 Washington state court decision. In May 1960, Jehovah's Witness Parents, Mr/Mrs Ray Fracker, refused to consent to blood transfusions needed by their newborn daughter, who suffered from Rh factor incompatibility, and needed a blood exchange transfusion. Seattle's Children's Orthopedic Hospital requested emergency judicial intervention. A local Judge held an emergency hearing at the Frackers' bedside, and took custody of the JW Couple's newborn baby girl, and authorized all necessary medical care. Citing PRINCE, the judge admonished the Frackers, "Parents may make martyrs of themselves, if they choose. But they may not make
martyrs of their children." Custody was returned to the Frackers two weeks later.
IN THE MATTER OF JOHNNY DALE MOORE and IN RE JOHNNY DALE MOORE were related 1960 California court decisions. Newborn baby, Johnny Dale Moore, was born in May 1960 with complications caused by Rh Negative factor blood. When his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Moore of Orangevale, California, were told that their newborn baby boy needed a series of life-saving blood transfusions, the Moores informed doctors at Sacramento County Hospital that as Jehovah's Witnesses they could not consent to giving their baby blood transfusions. The hospital first sought court intervention for the initial exchange transfusion, and thereafter petitioned a local court for guardianship and authorization to administer all needed medical treatment, including additional blood transfusions. NOTABLY, the first Judge had stated in his order, "It is my opinion that no order is necessary in cases of this kind, and it
is the doctor's obligation and duty to proceed despite
MICHAEL KNIGHT FAMILY. In August 1960, Michael Knight, age 12, severed an artery in an arm during an unspecified home accident in Loreno, Texas. His mother drove him to a Waco, Texas hospital. The news report only indicated that blood transfusions were forbidden after the arrival at the hospital of the Jehovah's Witness Father, W.T. Knight. Michael was in critical condition after surgery due to low blood volume. I can't imagine that blood had not been given prior to the arrival of the father.Given a severed artery, there would still be need for additional blood post-surgery, or after whatever point the father arrived and stopped any ongoing transfusions. Thus, Michael Knight may not have survived, unless the hospital later sought court intervention.
JAMES WILLIAM VOSBERG MANSLAUGHTER was the result of the meeting of ignorance and incompetence. In February 1960, while JW Parents Elwyn R. Vosberg and Wanda N. Vosberg, of Hood River, Oregon, were visiting in the Yakima, Washington area, their 12 year-old son, Jimmy Vosberg, fell down an embankment, struck his head on rocks, and suffered a skull fracture. Transported to Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital, Jimmy Vosberg clung to life for five hours despite his JW Parents insistence that he not be given blood transfusions. The incompetent fools at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital apparently did not know that court intervention could have been sought.
IN RE JEFFREY WARD ELAM was a 1960s Washington state court case in which this child's Jehovah's Witness Parents, Adrian William Elam and Beatrice Elam, refused to give their consent for blood transfusions which might be necessary during surgery required due to a damaged pancreas and internal bleeding caused by an automobile accident. The treating hospital/doctors were forced to seek and obtain court-ordered intervention and authority to administer such transfusions if needed. No transfusions were required during the successful surgery.
IN RE BRADLEY SCOTT SEELYE was a 1960s Washington state court case in which this child's Jehovah's Witness Parents, Laurin Seelye (committed suicide in 1966) and Geraldine Seelye, refused to give their consent for life-saving blood transfusions made necessary by erythroblastosis fetalis, which thereafter required a hospital/doctor to seek and obtain court-ordered intervention and authority to administer such transfusions if needed, which occurred in this case. Notably, the Seelye Family was a self-described "impoverished" and "dysfunctional" family of eight or more children and step-children -- most of whom went on to have substance abuse problems, and practically all of whom went on to have criminal records. This is the type of family frequently attracted to the WatchTower Cult. Spending a half-day very Saturday/Sunday peddling WATCHTOWERs door-to-door aggravates -- not helps -- the life circumstances of such families.
IN RE HEIDI JO LAWRENCE was a 1960s Washington state court case in which this child's Jehovah's Witness Parents, James Lawrence and Helen Lawrence, refused to give their consent for life-saving blood transfusions which might be necessary during the surgical correction of congenital defects, which thereafter required a hospital/doctor to seek and obtain court-ordered intervention and authority to administer such transfusions if needed. No transfusions were required.
IN RE MICHAEL PEN was a 1960s Washington state court case in which this child's Jehovah's Witness Parents, Jack Pen and Hazel Pen, refused to give their consent for life-saving blood transfusions which became necessary during Pen's treatment of his osteomyelitis and generalized staphylococcal infection, which thereafter required a hospital/doctor to seek and obtain court-ordered intervention and authority to administer such transfusions if needed, which occurred in this case.
IN RE JEANETTER SMITH was a 1960s Washington state court case in which this child's Jehovah's Witness Parents, Olite Smith and Azell Smith, refused to give their consent for blood transfusions which might become necessary during Smith's treatment of unknown injuries, which thereafter required a hospital/doctor to seek and obtain court-ordered intervention and authority to administer such transfusions if needed. No transfusions were required.
IN RE SHARILYN BROCKMAN was a 1960s Washington state court case in which this child's Jehovah's Witness Parents, Richard Brockman and Bernice Brockman, refused to give their consent for life-saving blood transfusions made necessary by erythroblastosis fetalis, which thereafter required a hospital/doctor to seek and obtain court-ordered intervention and authority to administer such transfusions if needed, which occurred in this case.
IN RE GERI LYNN NICHOL was a 1960s Washington state court case in which this child's Jehovah's Witness Parents, Neil Nichol and Patsy Nichol, refused to give their consent for life-saving blood transfusions which became necessary during surgical correction of congenital defects, which thereafter required a hospital/doctor to seek and obtain court-ordered intervention and authority to administer such transfusions if needed, which occurred in this case.
IN RE LOREN HARDY was a 1960s Washington state court case in which this child's Jehovah's Witness Parents, Gene Hardy and Donna Hardy, refused to give their consent for blood transfusions which might become necessary during Hardy's treatment for burns suffered under unknown circumstances, which thereafter required a hospital/doctor to seek and obtain court-ordered intervention, and authority to administer such transfusions if needed. No transfusions were required.
Around 1960, at Colorado Hospital, a newborn baby boy needed a life-saving blood transfusion due to hemorrhaging. Unknown medical circumstances (hemophilia in family) then dictated use of blood from a relative rather than stored blood. The child's Jehovah's Witness GrandMother finally agreed to provide the blood donation, but grieved to hospital/medical staff over her belief that she was "sinning" by doing so. JW GrandMother told staff that her transfused grandson would be "eating" her blood. Staff attempted to explain the factual differences between a transfusion and ingestion -- just as we have done above.
We try to resist posting court cases from foreign countries in this section, because we don't want to confuse readers with legal rulings and precedents from outside the United States. However, the following October 1960 newspaper report from Cambridge, England, claims to document a British court hearing which made "BRITISH LEGAL HISTORY" due to this being the first time that the then "uppity" British court system had conducted a hearing at a hospital (Note that by the 2000s that Muslim SHARIA LAW has been embraced in Britain. What a FALL -- from the developers of English common law to KOWTOWING MORONS):
Doctors Turn to Hospital Court, Save Baby's Life
emergency court set up in a maternity hospital saved the life of a day-old
baby boy and made British legal history. For 90 minutes, the baby hovered on
the brink of death. Only a complete change of blood could save him, but the
parents, both Jehovah's Witnesses, refused to allow a transfusion because it
was against their religious beliefs. The doctors turned to the law. A
makeshift juvenile court was held in a room adjoining the maternity ward.
County Welfare Officer Florence Valentine sought legal custody of the baby on
the ground that it was in danger of unnecessary suffering. A doctor testified
that if the child did not get the transfusion and lived, it would be a
The father still refused permission for the operation. "My wife and I are dedicated servants of God, and the decisions we are making are on his word," he said. "If we take a course of action
which might prolong life now, everlasting life will be cut off." As
the minutes ticked by, the father, a 30-year-old farmer from Newmarket, named E. J. Dale, was asked if
he would take the child into his home if the operation was
performed. "Yes, I love the child," he replied.
The magistrate, Lady
Rothschild, quickly gave her decision. She committed the baby temporarily
into the welfare officer's care, and thus allowed her to give permission
for the operation. Minutes later doctors began the transfusion. Later,
the hospital reported: "Everything is all right. The child's condition
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