Nigerian court legalizes blood transfusion for Jehovah witness children

Nigerian court legalizes blood transfusion for Jehovah witness children

With the incessant and unnecessary loss of lives due to refusal of accepting blood transfusion which could have saved the life especially that of children who depend on their parents consent to be saved in such context.

The Parents might refuse based on their religious beliefs which they claim frown at blood transfusion and some other form of medications.

With the latest court ruling, doctors can now take step to transfuse blood to a child or administer any medication to save the child’s life despite the religious beliefs of the parents who may oppose same.

The Supreme Court in TEGA ESABUNOR & ANOR. VS. DR. TUNDE FAWEYA & 4 ORS (2019) 7 N. W. L. R, PART. 1671, P. 316 @ PP. 340, PARAS. C-G, 344, PARA. C, 347, PARAS. D-E laid this quagmire to rest.

In the aforementioned case, the 2nd Appellant who is a member of JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES CHRISTIAN sect gave birth to little Tega on the 19th April, 1997, at the Chevron Clinic, Lekki Peninsula, Lagos State.

On 11th May, 1997, within a month of his birth, her son fell gravely ill and was taken back to Chevron Clinic. Dr. Tunde Faweya immediately commenced treatment and after administering several medications, the child had poor colour, was convulsing and having difficulty in breathing.

Upon proper diagnosis, it was discovered that the child urgently needed BLOOD TRANSFUSION to stay alive.

Surprisingly, the mother and father of the dying child objected to the blood transfusion because their religious belief required them to abstain from blood transfusion.

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The Doctor however, did not agree with the parents. He promptly incidented the matter to the Nigeria Police Force on the strength of which the Police filed a Motion ex-parte before the Magistrate Court pursuant to sections 27(1) and 30 of the Children and Young Persons Law, Cap. 25, Laws of Lagos State, 1994, for an order that the Hospital be allowed to do all and anything necessary for the protection of the life and health of the Child and same was granted.

Armed with the Order, the Child was taken away from the parents and the blood transfusion was carried out. After he became well, he was handed over to the parents.

Being irked by the decision of the doctor to carryout the blood transfusion against their wish, the mother filed an action in Court against the doctor, hospital, Commissioner of Police and even the Magistrate that granted the order was made a party. The matter was dismissed both at the High Court and Court of Appeal.

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