Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Blood Transfusion



    I am certain there is something I can learn from Jehovah's Witnesses, or Jay-Dubs as these courageous men and women and children are sometimes called. In 1945, their guiding body, which has its headquarters in Broklyn Heights and Dumbo, in New York City, developed the view that blood transfusion is unforgivable sin that most certainly sends a soul to Heaven's much warmer alternative.  The doctrine defines blood as - red cells, white cells, platelets and plasma. Transplant of organs, however, is permitted so long as there is no blood transfusion during the operation.  Which generally places the medical profession in a most unholy dilemma when negotiating earthly matters with Jay Dubs, tort law and their own nine principles of medical ethics.  The ninth reads: "A physician shall support access to medical care for all people."  Which in my view runs just a little bit contrary to principle six:  "A physician shall, in the provision of appropriate patient care, except in emergencies, be free to choose whom to serve, with whom to associate, and the environment in which to provide medical care."


    Acts chapter 15 verse 20 is the passage sometimes quoted for the Jay-Dub prohibition against donating or being the beneficiary of other peoples blood. The King James Bible verse 20 of Acts 15 reads: "But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood." Acts chapter 15 begins with the following insight:  "And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved."  Jay-Dub I am told is the short form of Jay-Dubla, or JW and the somewhat pejorative expression may have originated with Mormon Missionaries, who also have the habit of bravely knocking on the front doors of complete strangers in their search for personal salvation.   The prohibition against "things strangled" is a reference to the distinction made between blood and flesh.  In the course of strangulation, I am told,  "blood is made flesh."  Which is why "a beast of the field," must be correctly butchered.  "Fornication," I am told is some sort of sexual misconduct, or impurity outside of the boundaries of marriage.  "Pollutions of idols," remains something of a mystery to me, but currently I believe it has something to do with eating meat sacrificed to the wrong god.  I am so looking forward to Spring.

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