Home Blood Transfusion Jehovah’s Witness loses case over blood transfusion in Supreme Court

Jehovah’s Witness loses case over blood transfusion in Supreme Court

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court in Copenhagen ruled that a blood transfusion to a man who was a Jehovah's Witness was legal. Photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen / Ritzau Scanpix

Original article published in Danish by TV 2 on February 1, 2022

Because an unconscious patient was in mortal danger when he received a blood transfusion, it was not illegal.

Copenhagen, Denmark – It was not in violation of the right to self-determination when an unconscious male patient who was a member of the faith community Jehovah’s Witnesses underwent a blood transfusion in 2014.

That is what the Supreme Court ruled in a ruling on Tuesday. Thus, the Supreme Court reverses the judgment of the High Court, where the patient was upheld.

Thus, the Supreme Court held that it was not contrary to either the Health Act or the European Convention on Human Rights when a hospital gave the patient a blood transfusion.

Among other things, because the patient was in danger of death and the blood transfusion was “required for his survival”, the verdict reads.


Had neither given refusal nor consent

The man had been hospitalized after a fall accident, and here an urgent need arose for a blood transfusion.

The male patient had neither given informed refusal nor consent to blood transfusion in connection with the current admission.

And that is, among other things, what makes it, according to the Supreme Court, not illegal.

This is true even though the healthcare professional was aware that the patient had previously indicated that he, as a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses, “under no circumstances” wanted to receive blood.

Among other things, the man wore a card at the hospital where it appeared.

– The fact that A (the patient, ed.) At the time of the fall accident and the hospitalization wore a card stating that he would not receive blood, did not meet the requirement in section 24 (2) of the Health Act that a refusal to receive blood must be given on an informed basis in connection with the current disease situation, the Supreme Court writes in its decision.

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Danish Court: Blood transfusion to unconscious Jehovah’s Witness was legal

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Lester Somrah writes about the beliefs and practices of Jehovah’s Witnesses on his social media platforms and was baptized as a member in 1998.

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