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21 MAY 2010

Teenage Jehovah's Witness dies after refusing blood

Bible - istockphotoA teenage Jehovah's Witness who was crushed in a car accident has died after refusing a blood transfusion in hospital.

The schoolboy, aged 15, was airlifted to hospital from the incident in Smethwick, West Midlands, on Saturday morning, but died later that day.

He is believed to have told doctors at Birmingham's Selly Oak hospital not to give him a blood transfusion because of his religious beliefs.

A spokesman for the hospital said he could not comment on the individual case but described the issue as an "extraordinarily complex area" with no set rules.

"There is not one single policy and not one single law regarding transfusions," the spokesman said. 

"There is no automatic right to override parental wishes or that of a minor. It is a very complex area that has to be approached on a case-by-case basis.

"Any decisions that have to be made are made in consultation with as many people as possible."

Jehovah's Witnesses refuse blood transfusions as they consider it a violation of God's law.

Clive Parker, an elder at Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in Smethwick, where the boy and his family worshipped, said the boy was conscious after the accident and "made a stand on the blood issue".

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