Watchtower Falsifies
Blood Death Numbers
An article titled "Blood Transfusions Overrated?" on the back cover (page 32) of the October 15, 1993 Watchtower  magazine concludes that "Any medical risk of refusing blood is probably less than the risks involved in accepting blood transfusions." (emphasis added)

(Click to see Watchtower article.)

But The Watchtower  cites no statistics to support this claim
--because the Watchtower Society knows this claim to be false.

Statistics already in the Society's files show refusing blood to be many times more dangerous than taking it.

  This Watchtower  article quotes a doctor favorable to JWs to the effect that
significant costs and possible side effects make blood transfusions not worth it. But he
admits that forgoing transfusions adds "0.5% to 1.5% mortality to the overall operative
(Click to see Watchtower article.)

That averages out to 1% or 1 out of 100 JWs dying for refusing blood in routine
operations. That percentage seems small, but applied to 5 million active Witnesses or
13 million Kingdom Hall attenders, that 1% means many, many deaths.

  The November 22, 1993 Awake!  article titled "Jehovah's Witnesses and the
Medical Profession Cooperate" quotes from an academic paper* delivered at the
University of Paris. And that very paper, in a portion Awake!  chose not to quote, reports
"one death for every 13,000 bottles of blood transfused."
(Click to see Awake!  and academic paper.)

*"Blood, Sin, and Death: Jehovah's Witnesses and the American Patients' Rights Movement," by Dr. Charles
H. Baron, professor of law at the Boston College Law School, presented at the Colloquium "Sang et Droit."

So, the Watchtower Society knew from information in its own files
that transfusions cause only one death for every
thirteen thousand bottles of blood transfused
--much better odds than the 1 out of 100 JWs dying from refusing blood!--
yet the Society falsified this by presenting refusal as safer.

The Watchtower  hides the odds. [dice]
It declares there is greater risk in taking blood than in refusing,
but its own sources quote these odds:

1 out of 100 JWs refusing blood dies (in routine surgery)
1 out of 13,000 units of blood used causes death

The Watchtower  admits refusing blood products adds "0.5% to 1.5%
          mortality to the overall operative risk" (Oct.15, 1993, p. 32)
--which translates to hundreds, perhaps thousands of JW deaths.

[nurse and doctor; art copyright Metro ImageBase, Inc., used with permission]

new offensive
on blood

...puts hospitals
under surveillance
EVER since the Watchtower Society
banned blood transfusions for its follow-
ers back in 1945. JWs have scrambled to
keep watch at patients' bedsides and to
remove children through hospital win-
dows--all with the aim of blocking blood
transfusions. Except for the occasional
organized distribution of booklets to
doctors, the Watchtower Society usually left parents, spouses, and JW patients
themselves to carry the burden of defending their stand before doctors and judges.
However, that situation has changed.

  The November 22, 1993 Awake!  magazine reveals a major new offensive spearheaded
from Watchtower headquarters in Brooklyn, New York. It says JWs "are being assisted to
obey Jehovah's perfect law on abstaining from blood..." (p. 27) Committees of specially
trained JW elders now enter directly into hospitals and court-rooms, to intervene on the
Witness patient's behalf. These Hospital Liaison Committees are armed with persuasive
literature--medical, legal, and sociological. Their basic tool is a 260-page loose-leaf
handbook titled Family Care and Medical Management for Jehovah's Witnesses , updated
constantly with new information on blood substitutes, alternative treatments, and
patients' rights, plus evidence that JWs are good parents.
  One aim, of course, is to stop judges from declaring JW children wards of the state for
the purpose of giving them needed blood, and to stop doctors from seeking such court
orders. Adult JW compliance with the blood ban is also enforced by the watchful elders.

...attacks transfusions as unnecessary
  The November 22nd Awake!  article, titled "Jehovah's Witnesses and the Medical
Profession Cooperate," gives the impression that transfusions are really unnecessary, and
that "informed" doctors can secure "the healthy recovery of the patient" through alternative
treatments. The article presents recombinant erythropoietin (EPO) as a wonder drug
eliminating the need for blood transfusions. But long-time JWs may recall Awake!
speaking excitedly about "artificial blood" (Aug. 8, 1980, pp. 29-30) which was later found
ineffective and its use abandoned. (The Watchtower, Apr. 15, 1985, p. 21.)
  The Guardian, a British newspaper, reported on March 12, 1993 that Yvonne Leighton
bled to death after childbirth. Blood substitutes approved by the local JW Hospital Liaison
Committee were administered but didn't help. The report quoted Dr. Arun Choudry as
saying, "I am positive her life would have been saved if she had accepted blood."
  Carlton Johnson, 25, was struck by a car while changing a tire. The Dallas Morning
of July 27, 1993 reported his death. It quoted Dr. Robert Simonson as saying "his
chances of survival were pretty good"--with a transfusion. But Johnson carried a "no
blood" card in his wallet. Dr. Simonson administered blood substitutes, but said plasma
with its clotting properties was needed to stop the bleeding. In his 11 years of emergency
room service, Dr. Simonson said, he had seen 20 cases of Witnesses refusing blood. "In
most cases the patient died," he added.
  Awake!  boasts that more than 30 "bloodless medical and surgery centers" have been set
up worldwide and that a growing list of over 30,000 physicians are "willing to cooperate,"
which means--when nonblood alternatives won't do the job--willing to let the JW die.

E-mail us: see more information

Adapted from Comments from the Friends © 1993 by David A. Reed, Editor*Box 819, Assonet, MA 02702*Vol. XIII, No 1, Winter 1994 ISSN 1063-7575

For a full discussion of Jehovah's Witnesses and medical treatment, see
-Confessions of a Jehovah's Witness Minister
by David A. Reed

ISBN 1-57392-059-2 published by Prometheus Books

See this book reviewed in JAMA Feb.5,1997 p.425
JAMA="Journal of the American Medical Association"

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