Source: National Blood Donors Month
By Amy Corderoy
A pregnant Jehovah’s Witness and her baby have died after the woman refused a blood transfusion in a Sydney hospital.
Doctors described the harrowing effect on staff at the Royal Hospital for Women and Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick of what some felt were two otherwise avoidable deaths, after the woman refused the transfusion when she developed complications nearly seven months into her pregnancy and was discovered to be suffering from leukaemia.
More than 80 per cent of pregnant women suffering from the cancer, called acute promyelocytic leukaemia, will go into remission with proper treatment, and the outlook for their babies is good.
But the 28-year old’s religion forbade her from accepting the blood transfusion she needed to save her life and that of her unborn baby.
Ethicists and doctors say they are facing increasingly difficult decisions as the number of potentially life-saving treatments that can be done in utero grows. At the same time, debate has raged over NSW MP Fred Nile’s push to introduce laws making it a crime to seriously harm or kill a fetus in utero.
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