A British High Court judge has given permission for a baby boy to undergo blood transfusions during an operation notwithstanding his parents’ objections on religious grounds.
Mr Justice Keehan had been told by a specialist that the baby – whose parents are Jehovah’s Witnesses – had complex heart disease and no “long-term prospect of survival” if he did not have cardiac surgery.
The baby’s parents had agreed to surgery but said they could not consent to their son – who is a few weeks old – receiving blood.
But Mr Justice Keehan concluded that receiving blood was in the little boy’s best interests – notwithstanding his parents’ “understandable objections”.
The judge did not identify the little boy but said doctors at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital had applied for an order that surgery could proceed with blood transfusions.
Detail emerged in a written ruling following a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.
“Their objection is on the basis of their religious beliefs as Jehovah’s Witnesses and they cannot consent to (their son) receiving blood products during or subsequent to the surgery. I entirely understand and sympathise with the stance of these parents,” said Mr Justice Keehan.
“Standing back and looking at (the baby’s) welfare best interests, I am in no doubt whatsoever that it is in his best interests to undergo the surgery that is proposed.”
He added: “On the basis that that is my view, it is inevitable that he must receive blood transfusions during the course of or subsequent to the surgery.
“Accordingly, I am again of the view, notwithstanding the parents’ understandable objections on religious grounds, that it is in (his) welfare best interests to receive blood products both during the surgery and, if necessary, subsequent to it.”