High Court permits blood transfusion for Jehovah’s Witness
Hayes recently acted for a Dublin hospital which successfully applied to the President of the High Court for an Order permitting doctors there to administer a blood transfusion to a three year old child from the Jehovah’s Witness community if it should be necessary during or as a result of surgery. Due to their religious beliefs, the parents were not in a position to consent to the transfusion.
A tonsillectomy and the insertion of grommets were procedures deemed necessary by the child’s medical team due to repeated infections and a delay in the development of his speech. The Court was given evidence that the child was at risk of brain damage and death should doctors be prevented from giving a transfusion if needed. Doctors confirmed to the Court that they would avoid giving a transfusion in so far as was possible.
Mr Justice Kearns granted the Order sought.
Application is made to the High Court in situations like this because of the conflict that arises between the parents’ wishes for the child and medical opinion as to what is or is not in the child’s best interests. The status of the Hospital’s actions, were it to proceed without High Court permission and in face of the parents’ refusal to consent, would be uncertain. The process is cumbersome, time consuming and expensive but it enables a considered decision to be made on the evidence and provides an opportunity for both sides to be heard.
For further information, please contact a member of our Healthcare team.