Monday, December 3, 2007

Religion claims another victim

Anyone who says that religion does nothing but help people ignore stories like this one. A 14-year-old boy refused a blood transfusion that could have saved his life, because blood transfusions are banned by the Jehovah's Witness faith. A Washington judge ruled that he had the right to refuse treatment, and the child died of leukemia.

When an adult wants to make some ridiculous decision based on religion they have that right, as long as it hurts no one but themselves. But no 14-year-old in the world has enough perspective or independence to make such critical decisions.

So let this be a reminder that whether it is a newborn baby boy getting his most precious organ partially chopped off (I'm proud to say that my son has everything in tact) or it is simply telling children that their non-christian friends are going to hell, the greatest victims of religion are children. Somebody please think of the children!

1 comment:

tom sheepandgoats said...

The initial flurry of blog articles on this matter was almost uniformly negative. Then, two posts emerged from those who actually knew or spoke to persons involved, not just taking it from the newspaper report. The new posts substantially change the story. I've listed the two sources in my own post.

One of the blogs (by a friend of Dennis) says this:

"A related side note: I have read twenty years of the New England Journal of Medicine's articles on what he had. In the list of treatments recommended, Blood transfusion was not mentioned. The only reason they recommended it was to try to buy more time for the blood thickening drugs to bring the levels up so he could accept the continuation of chemotherapy. Also, they got to it too late. He'd already had leukemia for a long time and nothing could save him; the only thing a transfusion could do was extend his misery a couple years at most."

The other (by a med student who spoke to some involved) says this:

"The treatment denied by the judge was not the stem cell transplant. It was a blood transfusion. Why is this distinction important? Stem cell transplants are the single most expensive procedure in medicine (hundreds of thousands of dollars just to do the procedure). We do them (and many health insurers cover them) because they work, but not all patients facing leukemia choose to be transplanted. Some cannot afford it. Some do not want to go through the pain of the procedure. Others (like this patient) have different reasons. If after providing all of the information, the patient does not consent to a procedure, the medical establishment usually respects this decision. Keep in mind that the legal decision here was related to the blood transfusion which could keep the patient alive for several days, not the stem cell transplant, which has 70% survival at 5 years as reported in the media. It's not as simple as a 750 word article would have you believe. (Although the Seattle PI wrote a good story overall.)"