Ethical Care of the Children of Jehovah’s Witnesses

  • Liza-Marie JohnsonEmail author
  • James M. West


The right of adults with full decision-making capacity to refuse specific treatments such as a blood transfusion is well-established in the legal and ethical realms. In adults who have lost their decision-making capacity, the principle of substituted judgment has also been well-defined. However, in the case of parents or guardians who refuse a child’s recommended medical treatments for religious or other reasons, conflicts may arise. In this chapter, we examine the clinical case of an adolescent with a malignancy requiring surgery and, quite likely, a blood transfusion whose parents are some of Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW). We also discuss the ethical, legal and medical ramifications of this clinical situation.


Capacity Consent Assent Jehovah’s Witness (Refusal of) Transfusion Decision-Making Pediatric 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pediatric MedicineSt. Jude Children’s Research HospitalMemphisUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnesthesiologyMethodist-LeBonheur HealthcareMemphisUSA

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