How doctors should act if a patient’s personal conviction prohibits him or her from receiving proper treatment? Should treatment be compulsory?
The problem of forcible treatment in modern conditions should be discussed, as soon as a numerous religious and “pseudo religious” sects and organizations exist. Their members are limited undergoing different medical manipulations including whole blood transfusion, organs’ transplantation, etc. The Jehovah’s Witness organization is a multitudinous organization represented nearly in any countries all over the world. Its members are restricted by transfusion of homologous or autologous whole blood, plasma, platelets, WBCs or PBCs (Brezina & Moskop, 2007). They have to get replacement fluids and erythropoietin instead of whole blood. On the one hand bearing in mind such religious and/or personal convictions helps in scientific manufacturing of new artificial fluids, substances, organs for their treatment; on the other hand nowadays in emergent cases (accidents, earthquakes’ or fire effects) it is still nearly impossible to provide correct resuscitation management without whole blood.
To my mind, it is also necessary to discuss this problem concerning children and persons with dementia or low mental abilities, whose relatives are the members of any religious organization, which forbids conducting any of medical manipulations. As for adult conscious persons, they may control their way of life, treatment, even the end of life (they may refuse from CPR in general, etc). However newborns, children, persons with dementia or low mental abilities simply cannot to estimate the gravity of their illness. Perhaps, in this case, the rejection from emergent medical manipulations including blood transfusion may be considered as some kind of manslaughter or homicide by misadventure…
This problem has to be solved. New documents regulating physician or surgeon activity in any cases have to be worked out in order to protect physicians or surgeons in their difficult work and to help avoiding any kinds of clangers and mistakes in their practice.
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