November 18th, 2004

For the want of a pint

I have a bandaid on  my right ring finger and a pressure bandage on my left elbow.  Yes, I just gave blood.  Once again I answered their prying questions.  No,  I have not taken money for my sexual favors.  No one has even offered me money for this purpose.

I talked with the lady taking my blood, and we somehow got onto an upsetting incident she had witnessed at the University of Chicago.  It involved an 18 year old woman who was a Jehovah's Witness.  She had sickle cell, and she needed a unit of blood.  But the Jehovah's Witnesses believed that blood transfusions are against God's law. 

(They have since softened their view on this, and allow certain kinds of transfusions, all without admitting that they changed their views.)

Now, if the young woman had been 17 years old, the problem would have been solved with a court order.  Under Illinois law, she would have been a minor without a right to decide her own medical treatment, and the doctors would have called up a judge right away and gotten the order and put some new blood into her.  And if parents or preacher tried to interfere, they would have been arrested.

But this young woman was 18, so she had the right to refuse treatment.  And refuse it she did.  The preacher stayed near her and seemed determined to keep the young woman on the path of holiness.  He was vigilant to keep her from agreeing to take blood.  And her parents backed him up.

She died.  For the want of a pint of blood.

The lady taking my blood was still upset about the case.  She said the preacher had seemed to her a "demon."  Well, that just about sums it up for me, too.  She said the parents looked awfully guilty after the girl died.  She said some people need something awful to happen before they can see the truth.  Well, yes.

Anyway, as I indicated parenthetically above, the Witnesses have found a theological loophole to soften their views.  Maybe they got sick of watching their children die.

How were they ever able to do this?  Well, there was a verse in the Bible, that went like this: "But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it."  Somehow this got twisted into a ban on blood transfusion, despite the fact that transfusion doesn't involve really eating meat.  How did they get out of this deadly article of faith?  Apparently they noticed that an unborn child is nourished through the placenta from... the mother's bloodstream... in a sort of placenta-mediated natural transfusion.  So God must approve of transfusions which resemble placental nourishment, mustn't he?  And from this they constructed an "out" of sorts.  Isn't theology grand?</content>

But according to this site this loophole is not big enough to allow platelets through, and they are unnecessarily losing children to leukemia in particular. That's an unholy sacrifice if ever there was one.

Rhyme of the Day:

Witness or witless?
You decide.
I'll just say that way too many have died.

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