15-year old Joshua McAuley was crushed by a car and taken to a hospital. Unfortunately, because he was a Jehovah’s Witness, he refused to receive a blood transfusion. And then he died.
I don’t know what his condition would have been like even if he had accepted the blood, but no doubt there are many cases of JWs who die preventable deaths because of their silly superstition.
Do the parents deserve the blame? If they explicitly gave doctors the command to not give him blood, yes. But that’s not the case here. It looks like the kid made the decision for himself.
Do we blame the parents for brainwashing him? Perhaps… but it was ultimately his decision. If you want to blame the parents, you really have to blame the whole church. (And that shouldn’t be out of the question.)
Can we blame the doctors? I can’t understand how or why they would let a child die. This isn’t a person facing the end of life and choosing to die on their own terms; this is a child with most of his life still ahead of him. The doctors have a duty to keep him alive.
There’s a lengthy discussion about all this in the threads at Unreasonable Faith that’s worth checking out.
***Update***: In Australia, a 10-year-old boy was facing similar circumstances. He has an “aggressive form of cancer” that requires blood transfusions.
In a statement read to the court, the boy said transfusions carried spiritual consequences.
“The doctors have told me I might die and I don’t want to – but I don’t want blood,” he said.
“The blood will change me… when you take blood, you are taking someone else’s life.
“I really don’t want this and my heart is ripping apart.”
In his statement, the boy said he feared a transfusion would “make the Creator unhappy”.
“If I listen to my Creator then there will be a Paradise, which is like a new life,” he said.
“If I die, I will get another chance of living.
“But I still want to live now because I’m finding my life really good and I’m liking it.”
And, again, the parents are equally deluded:
The boy’s father said the application felt like “an unwanted attack” on his family’s beliefs.
“I love my son, I love him more than I love myself,” he said.
“If the court orders a transfusion, I will love him the same as before, and I will follow the law.
“But my son will suffer emotional and spiritual consequences for the rest of his life… he will always, in his own head, be unhappy.”
Right… until the day arrives when he comes to his senses, realizes he could’ve died because of his parents’ wacky religious beliefs, and thanks the doctors who saved his life.
If these doctors can do it, why can’t Joshua McAuley’s doctors?
(Thanks to Craig for the link)