A Nigerian widower, Emmanuel Timothy, has decided to press charges against members of his wife’s family who refused to allow her get blood transfusion after loosing so much blood during surgery, eventually leading to her death.
Timothy told the News Agency of Nigeria that his deceased wife, Grace, who was a member of the Jehovah Witness, died on Monday at the National Hospital, Abuja because her family refused to consent to her having a blood transfusion. She was a police corporal, assigned to the Wuse Zone 3 Police Division, Abuja.
“She lost her pregnancy at seven months, which resulted in a surgery to get the baby out. After the surgery she had complications. When she complained of serious stomach ache, we rushed her to the National Hospital where the doctor said her stomach had to be flushed. But, before the flushing, they said she needed blood transfusion because she had already lost such much blood. However, she did not get the blood transfusion because her religion and family forbid blood transfusion,” Timothy said.
Speaking on pressing charges, he said “I have to press charges because they prevented my wife from receiving blood transfusion.”
“Over our dead body. It is better she dies than for her to take another person’s blood,’’ they said to me.
Timothy was at the police station to report the wife’s death.
Her death is very sad and what makes it even more painful is that it could have been avoided. The decision to accept blood transfusion in most hospitals lies on the patient or his or her family. If there is a refusal, it is usually premised on religious or cultural reasons.
However, in some cases where the doctor knows a patient will most likely die if he or she does not accept blood transfusion, is it right to override the decision of the patient or family and give the patient blood?
What are your thoughts?