NZ Court take guardianship of Jehovah's Witness' Child over Blood Transfusion
Judge steps in to save sick girl's life IAN STEWARD Last updated 05:00 15/07/2012
An Auckland girl suffering a rare kidney disease has been put into the guardianship of the High Court because her Jehovah's Witness parents will not consent to her receiving a life-saving kidney and liver transplant.
The 2-year-old girl, whose name and identifying details are suppressed, has had her kidneys removed and is being kept alive by dialysis. Because of her precarious health, she is at risk of infection and doctors believe she needs to have an urgent kidney and liver transplant or she will die from infection.
Jehovah's Witnesses allow transplants but the faith is strict in rejecting the inevitable blood transfusions that would accompany such an operation. They believe blood that leaves the body must be disposed of and not consumed or transfused.
The Auckland District Health Board went to the High Court last month and sought urgent orders placing the girl under the care of the court. A team of doctors including renal, blood, liver and gastroenterology specialists care for the girl.
Justice Helen Winkelmann, who heard the application, said the team agreed the day before the court hearing that "without a liver and kidney transplant M will most likely die from infection within weeks to a couple of months.
Justice Winkelmann's judgment indicated the parents of the girl were in step with the hospital apart from the one issue of blood transfusion. They accepted the girl needed the transplants to live but were unable to consent to the transfusion.
The Sunday Star-Times understands the girl has had blood transfusions before, given to her by the hospital under emergency provisions in the Care of Children Act. That provision is unable to be used, as the operation is planned and not an unforeseen emergency.