Wow, haven't been back here since I posted this article.
A couple thoughts after reading through all these comments;
I'd like to reiterate that the comparison between not vaxing, to allowing your child to die from withholding medical treatment does not hold up. Vaccinations and blood transfusions are apples and oranges. With vaccinations, you bring a healthy child to the doctor, they recommend a vax, you say no, end of story. Child is still healthy. There is a very small chance the child could contract a disease that the vax could have prevented, and a far smaller chance that the child could die or be harmed from that disease. With a blood transfusion, there are two different scenarios that could happen. You either have a child that is seriously sick with some type of disease, who seems to need a blood transfusion to continue to live or to recover from that disease. Or, you have a child who has undergone serious physical trauma and is bleeding to death, and needs it's blood volume replaced (by oxygenating blood, not blood volumizers) or it could suffer brain damage or die. In either scenario, if parents refuse blood, there is a very high probability that their child will die or be brain injured, as their child did not start out healthy. People are not given blood transfusions as a matter of routine medical care, it is only under extraordinary circumstances that one would even be mentioned. Vaccinations are preventative medicine, offered to every single healthy child in this country. Blood transfusions are only offered to seriously ill children who are thought to be dying. Withholding a vaccine can not directly cause a child's death. Complications from the disease that the vaccine may have prevented is the actual cause of death. Withholding a blood transfusion from a seriously ill child who needs one, will most often cause serious injury or death.
As much as we like to look at doctors in a less than favorable light here on MDC, they all are educated enough to understand the differences between withholding vaccines from a healthy child and withholding blood from a dying child.
Also, I'd like to throw in my 2 cents on the religious aspects to this story. It seems to be assumed that all parties are giving full informed consent as to withholding treatment or giving treatment to their dying child. It is assumed that the person is choosing that their child die in order to preserve their faith. As a former JW I do not believe that this is true. In a case like this where the parents are making a decision based on religious beliefs, and religious beliefs alone, informed consent takes on two meanings. First, are they fully informed as to what the bible's view of blood is, and as to what other bible scholars interpret these passages to mean? Are they fully informed as to who interpreted these particular scriptures within their own religion, that they are risking the life of their child for, and what that persons credentials were? Second, are they fully informed about what blood does to the body, and what benefits that blood has over blood volumizers? Most importantly, do they have the freedom within their religion to obtain this knowledge in order to make a fully informed decision? I would say no to all of these questions based on my personal experiences, but of course, one persons personal experiences probably don't hold a lot of weight in a discussion such as this. However, my point is not that I want to argue each of these questions that I raised, but only to point out that the questions are there, and that further complicates the whole issue.
For example, most JW's are not aware that blood volumizers will not carry enough oxygen to the brain of a child who is bleeding out. The child will end up brain injured or dead if given blood volumizers instead of a transfusion. When they demand blood volumizers, they truly believe that these will work just as well or better than blood. They simply don't know that they are very wrong, they truly believe that their child will be fine if they just pump something like saline into the childs veins. I believe that when a JW refused blood, they generally don't believe that their child is going to die without it. And because I know this about JW's, I also believe that it must be true about other religions that withhold medical treatment from their children.
So, in these cases, I don't believe that the parents are capable of making an informed decisions, therefore, the decision needs to be made for them. I think the court stepping in was the right thing to do in this case. I wonder why the Watchtower Society doesn't change it's policy on blood, instead of playing this little game with the court system though. It would seem that since they were okay with this article, they must have been in agreement with how this case turned out. If they were upset that the child was forced to have blood, they would have discouraged the parents from appearing in the article and using their real names, yet they seemed to sanction the article. This is very confusing, because when I was a JW (1 and half years ago) we were told to resist a blood transfusion as if it were a rape. Yet, these parents obviously did not do that, yet the Watchtower seemed to approve of this. Perhaps this indicates there is a change in their blood policy in the works? Or perhaps they want the court system to know that they are very much for court orders now? Or perhaps the article was not reflective of the Watchtower Societies true feelings.