Court Puts Baby's Life Before Parents' Beliefs

Author:Mr Tom Hayes
Profession:Matheson Ormsby Prentice

In September 2011, the Coombe Women & Infants Hospital successfully applied to the High Court for a pre-emptive order, allowing them to carry out an emergency blood transfusion on a premature baby girl. The girl's parents, who are Jehovah's Witnesses, objected to the application on religious grounds.

At the time of the application, the baby girl who was born at 28 weeks and weighed under 1kg, was doing well and was not in any immediate danger. However, doctors were worried that the she might develop a number of serious complications, including an infection or respiratory difficulties. If the baby was to develop an infection, doctors treating her said that she would be at risk of permanent brain damage or death, and in such circumstances would require emergency treatment in the form of a transfusion of blood or blood products.

Counsel for the Hospital said that doctors had explained the seriousness of such...

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