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Chua R, Tham KF
Correspondence: Dr Raymond Chua, firstname.lastname@example.org
A 46-year-old Indonesian woman presented with signs and symptoms suggestive of an ovarian tumour and was advised to have surgery with exploratory laparotomy and removal of the mass. She agreed but refused blood transfusion any time in the course of her treatment or procedure, as she was a Jehovah Witness. As there was a high risk of intraoperative haemorrhage, steps were taken to reduce any consequent complications due to the surgery. The ethical conflict is between respecting patient autonomy and compromising standards of care, arising from the refusal of a standard therapy. The latest developments in the blood transfusion doctrine policy for the Jehovah Witnesses are also discussed in this case study.
Keywords: blood transfusion, ethical conflict, Jehovah Witness, patient autonomy
Singapore Med J 2006; 47(11): 994-1002