British Columbia government gives Canadian sextuplets blood transfusions

Friday, February 2, 2007

Last Friday the British Columbia government gave blood transfusions for two of the four surviving premature babies in spite of the parents' beliefs. Two babies had died from being premature: one a couple days after it was born, the other a couple of weeks after.

The B.C. government applied Section 30 of the B.C. Child, Family and Community Service Act in an attempt to save the babies born in Vancouver, British Columbia. The decision was only made public yesterday.

If doctors feel that the infants are in immediate need, they may ask for intervention.

The parents, who are unnamed due to a court order, are Jehovah's Witnesses who object to blood transfusions on religious grounds. When asked by Canadian reporters why they are against blood transfusions, a spokesman for the Jehovah's Witnesses cited a Bible passage:

"And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people," Leviticus 17:10-14.

The parents have accused the B.C. government of violating their children. They have asked the court to block future transfusions.

B.C. premier Gordon Campbell said yesterday, "We act, I think, with the children's best interest in mind, and we will continue to do that,"

The father of the sextuplets said in a court affidavit, "(My wife) and I could not bear to be at the hospital while they were violating our little girl,"; "We took our immense sadness and grief and tried to console each other in private."

The babies were back in the parents' custody since the transfusions were finished.