Birmingham & Black Country

Judge rules on Jehovah's Witness baby blood transfusion

Birmingham Children's Hospital Image copyright Other
Image caption Doctors from Birmingham Children's Hospital applied for an order to give the baby boy blood transfusions

A High Court judge has said a baby boy can undergo blood transfusions despite his parents' objections.

The baby has complex heart disease but his parents, who are Jehovah's Witnesses, said they could not consent to a transfusion on religious grounds.

Birmingham Children's Hospital had applied for an order to proceed with cardiac surgery and transfusions.

The judge, Mr Justice Keehan, heard the boy had no "long-term prospect of survival" without the surgery.

'Best interests'

The boy was born at the University Hospital of Coventry and Warwickshire on 7 February and placed in special care. He was transferred to intensive care in Birmingham the following day.

Although the baby's parents had agreed to surgery, they said they could not consent to their son receiving blood.

However, Mr Justice Keehan said receiving blood was in the boy's best interests, notwithstanding his parents' "understandable objections".

In a written ruling following a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London, he said: "I entirely understand and sympathise with the stance of these parents."

However, he added: "It is in [his] best interests to receive blood products both during the surgery and, if necessary, subsequent to it."

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