For decades, Jehovah's Witnesses have been criticized for refusing blood transfusions. This refusal, based on the biblical command to “abstain from […] blood”, has sometimes been met with what doctors believed to be in the medical interest of their patients. (15 Acts: 29).
However, among health professionals, more and more experienced specialists are drawing attention to the medical reasons for using clinical methods that do not use blood transfusion.
In its Spring 2013 issue, a journal published by Stanford University School of Medicine (Stanford Medicine Magazine) published a special feature on blood. One of the sections was titled “Against the Tide: Why the Decline in Blood Transfusions? The author of this article, Sarah Williams, makes this observation: “Over the past decade, a growing number of studies have shown that in hospitals around the world blood is used more often and in greater quantities than what is needed to care for patients - whether in the operating theater or in hospital wards. "
The author quotes Professor Patricia Ford, founder and director of the Center for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery at the Pennsylvania Hospital: “The idea that people are going to die if they don't have a certain amount of blood. , that blood is the best way to save lives, is truly ingrained in medical culture. […] This is true in very specific cases * ; but for most patients, and in most cases, this is just plain wrong. "
Professor Ford, who treats around 700 Jehovah's Witnesses each year, adds: “Many doctors I have spoken to… mistakenly believe that many patients cannot survive if they do not receive blood. Besides, I myself have thought about it to a certain extent. But it didn't take me long to realize that we can treat these patients by applying a few simple methods. "
In August 2012, the review Archives of Internal Medicine published the results of a 28-year study of cardiac surgery patients from a certain institution. Jehovah's Witnesses fared better than patients in comparable situations who received blood transfusions. Compared with transfused patients, Witnesses had fewer complications during their hospitalization, a better survival rate immediately after the operation, and a similar survival rate 20 years after the operation.
In an article of the Wall Street Journal dated April 8, 2013: “Surgery without transfusion (ie operating without using donated blood) has been practiced for years on patients who refuse the transfusion for religious reasons. Today, this practice is spreading more and more in hospitals […]. Surgeons who are supporters of bloodless surgery say that while the practice reduces the costs of buying blood, storing it, treating it, analyzing it and transfusing it, it also reduces the risk of blood loss. transfusion, risk of infections and complications, which prolong patients' stay in hospital. "
No wonder Robert Lorenz, medical director of blood management for the Cleveland clinic, says: “At the time, it seems to be helping the patient by transfusing him […]. But long-term data suggests it's quite the opposite. "
The Bible commands not to absorb blood. We should therefore not accept whole blood or any of its major components in any form (food, transfusion or otherwise). Let’s examine a few verses:
Genesis 9: 4. After the Flood, God allowed Noah and his family to add meat to their diet. But he asked them not to eat the blood:
“The flesh with its soul - its blood - you must not eat it. "This command applies to all humans, since all descend from Noah.
Leviticus 17: 14.
“You must not eat the blood of any kind of flesh, for the soul of every kind of flesh is its blood. Whoever eats it will be cut off. "God considered that the soul, or life, was in the blood and belonged to it. Although this law was given only to the nation of Israel, it shows that eating blood was very serious in the eyes of God.
15 Acts: 20. God imposed the same commandment on Christians as on Noah:
"To abstain [...] from blood". History proves that early Christians were determined not to eat or drink blood, or even to use it for medical reasons.
Why does God ask us to abstain from blood?
On the medical side, there are excellent reasons to refrain from blood transfusions. But above all, God asks us to refrain from blood because for him, what blood is sacred is sacred (Leviticus 17:11; Colossians 1:20).