Why Don’t Jehovah’s Witnesses Accept Blood Transfusions?
Some people will say – Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe in medicine or medical treatment.
The fact is – Jehovah’s Witnesses make sure to get the best medical care for themselves and their families. When they’re not feeling well, they go to doctors who are good at treating them without using blood. There have been improvements in medicine. The treatments developed to help people Jehovah’s Witnesses, are now also helping everyone in the community. In lots of countries, anyone can choose to avoid the risks that come with blood transfusions, like diseases, reactions from the immune system, and mistakes made by people.
Here are a few more of what people thinks about Jehovah’s witnesses and their medical options:
Myth: Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that faith will heal a person’s ailments.
Fact: We do not practice faith healing.
Myth: Avoiding blood transfusions is very costly.
Fact: Medical treatments that avoid blood transfusions are cost-effective. a
Myth: Many Witnesses, including children, die each year as a result of refusing blood transfusions.
Fact: This statement is totally unfounded. Surgeons regularly perform such complex procedures as heart operations, orthopedic surgery, and organ transplants without the use of blood transfusions. b Patients, including children, who do not receive transfusions usually fare as well as or better than those who do accept transfusions. c In any case, no one can say for certain that a patient will die because of refusing blood or will live because of accepting it.
Why don’t Jehovah’s Witnesses accept blood transfusions?
This is a religious issue rather than a medical one. Both the Old and New Testaments clearly command us to abstain from blood. (Genesis 9:4; Leviticus 17:10; Deuteronomy 12:23; Acts 15:28, 29) Also, God views blood as representing life. (Leviticus 17:14) So we avoid taking blood not only in obedience to God but also out of respect for him as the Giver of life.
At one time, the medical community generally viewed strategies for avoiding transfusions, so-called bloodless medicine, as extreme, even suicidal, but this has changed in recent years. For example, in 2004, an article published in a medical education journal stated that “many of the techniques developed for use in Jehovah’s Witness patients will become standard practice in years to come.” d An article in the journal Heart, Lung and Circulation said in 2010 that “‘bloodless surgery’ should not be limited to J[ehovah’s] W[itnesses] but should form an integral part of everyday surgical practice.”
Thousands of doctors worldwide now use blood-conservation techniques to perform complex surgeries without transfusions. Such alternatives to blood transfusions are used even in developing countries and are requested by many patients who are not Jehovah’s Witnesses.