Supreme Court have decided to what extent can a Member of "Jehovah Witness" sect refuse blood transfusion

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Supreme Court have decided to what extent can a Member of "Jehovah Witness" sect refuse blood transfusion

Unread post by Kunle Emmanuel » Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:28 pm

By Ike Aguata
https://twitter.com/Ike_Obiora/status/1 ... 5087606784

The Supreme Court have decided to what extent can a Member of "Jehovah Witness" sect refuse blood transfusion aimed at saving their lives and that of their infant wards.
ESABUNOR & ANOR V FAWEYA & ORS (2019) LPELR-46961(SC)


FACTS OF THE CASE:
The 2nd appellant is the mother of the 1st appellant. She gave birth to him on April 19, 1997 at the Chevron Clinic Lekki Peninsula in Lagos. Within a month of his birth (on 11 May, 1997) he fell gravely ill

His mother, the 2nd appellant, took him back to the Chevron Clinic on 11 May, 1997 for urgent treatment. It was the 1st respondent who treated the 1st appellant. He found that the 1st appellant urgently needed blood transfusion.

The 2nd respondent and her husband made it abundantly clear to the 1st respondent that on no account should their child (the 1st appellant) be given blood transfusion.

Their reason being that there were several hazards that follows blood transfusion such as contracting Aids, Hepatitis etc and that as members of the Jehovah witness sect, blood transfusion was forbidden by their Religion. Dr. Tunde Faweya (the 1st respondent) remained unyielding.

The next day, the learned counsel for the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State moved an Originating Motion Exparte before the 5th respondent.

The motion was brought under Section 27 (1) and (30) of the Children and Young Person’s Law Cap 25 of Lagos State.
The relief sought was: “that the medical authorities of the Clinic of Chevron Nigeria Limited Lekki Peninsula Lagos be allowed and are hereby permitted to do all and anything necessary for the protection of the life and health of the child TEGA ESABUNOR.


And for such further order or orders as the Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.”

After hearing counsel, the Chief Magistrate granted the application under its inherent jurisdiction.

On receipt of the Order of the Chief Magistrate, the 1st respondent administered blood transfusion on the 1st appellant on the same day. (I.e. May 12, 1997).

The 1st appellant got well and was discharged. His mother took him home


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Re: Supreme Court have decided to what extent can a Member of "Jehovah Witness" sect refuse blood transfusion

Unread post by Kunle Emmanuel » Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:32 pm

On May 15, 1997 the 2nd appellant filed an application on notice wherein she sought for the setting aside of the order made on 12 May, 1997. The application was unsuccessful. It was dismissed on May 21, 1997.

The appellants’ were dissatisfied with the proceedings before the Chief Magistrate, so they approached the High Court for an order of Certiorari and damages of N10 million. In a considered ruling delivered on May 28, 2001 the learned trial Judge refused their prayers and claims.

The appellants’ were not satisfied with the ruling of the High Court. They filed an appeal. The Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, heard it and the decision of the High Court was affirmed. Further dissatisfied, the Appellants appealed to the Supreme Court.

ISSUE:
(4) Whether the Court of Appeal was correct in holding that the 2nd Appellants’ refusal to give consent to blood transfusion amounted to an attempt to commit a crime or to allow the 1st Appellant to die.

RESOLUTION OF ISSUE NUMBER 4/LEGAL PRINCIPLE:
Resolving issue 4, the Supreme Court stated that an adult who is conscious and in full control of his mental capacity, and of sound mind has the right to either accept or refuse blood (medical treatment).

From abuse of his rights as he may grow up and disregard those religious beliefs. It makes no difference if the decision to deny him blood transfusion is made by his parents. See M.D.P.D.T. v. Okonkwo (2001) 7NWLR (Pt.711) P.206.

The Supreme Court held that when a competent parent or one in loco parentis refuses blood transfusion or medical treatment for her child on religious grounds, the Court should step in, consider the baby’s welfare,
i.e. saving the life and the best interest of the child, before a decision is taken. These considerations outweigh religious beliefs of the Jehovah Witness Sect. The decision should be to allow the administration of blood transfusion especially in life threatening situations.

Imagine this child grows up, turn an Atheist, Agnostic or join another denomination of Christian faith, becomes a lawyer and reads this decision of how his parents wanted to terminate his life and whatever the future holds for him because of religious brainwash.
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Re: Supreme Court have decided to what extent can a Member of "Jehovah Witness" sect refuse blood transfusion

Unread post by Kunle Emmanuel » Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:35 pm

I agree with my friend @chikezie._esq when he said that to think that the parents sought for 10million in damages for having their child saved against their wish is the most ridiculous angle to the case.
Can’t believe I used to be a Jehovah’s Witness. Can’t believe the number of friends I lost because they won’t accept blood transfusion. Can’t believe it could’ve been me. Goddamn.
Medical practice in real world discourages blood transfusion and encourages the use of none blood expanders. This has brought many successes
You don't want your child to have a transfusion that would save his/her life but you went to court and demanded to be settled 10million naira for the transfusion that saved the life of your child on the grounds that it's against your religion.
The interesting part for me is that they took their child home when she got well. Dem for leave am na...
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Re: Supreme Court have decided to what extent can a Member of "Jehovah Witness" sect refuse blood transfusion

Unread post by Kunle Emmanuel » Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:35 pm

If that Child grow up, e suppose sue them for attempt of Negligence on her life ... Abi nothing like that dey.
Someone should just document this episode for the child even if the child sue for attempted murder at least... funny enough the movie apostasy touched on this subject
The doctor is the real hero in this case.
Thank God for this SCN judgement! Lost a friend because the parents refused transfusion for him in our teenage years in secondary school. From then on, I’ve disliked that sect and looked down on them as murderers!! I am sipping Zobo in
Good thread. Please what would have been the next course of action if the Magistrate had denied the application (on whatever ground).
And what exactly does this judgment mean for medical practitioner that encounters such cases on a regular basis?
The law before this decision is that you can't treat a patient against his consent and in that of a child, the consent of his guardian is needed. Had the magistrate refused the motion, such transfusion wouldn't have happened or if does, it would have been illegal.
Going forward, do you have to obtain a court injunction every time you want to override a parent's wish when a child's life is at stake? Or is this judgment binding on all cases?
Binding on all cases. A lawyer would soon be passed on it
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