Jehovah’s Witnesses, blood transfusions and capacity: PW – Law & Religion UK

‘In PW (Jehovah’s Witness: Validity of Advance Decision), Re [2021] EWCOP 52, Mrs W, aged 80, had Alzheimer’s. She was seriously ill in hospital with potentially fatal internal bleeding from a gastric tumour and the evidence was that a blood transfusion and surgery could mean that she would live for another five to ten years. However, she had been a practising Jehovah’s Witness for most of her adult life. Her medical team had concluded that she lacked capacity to make decisions about her treatment, but she had made an advance decision in 2001 – which appeared to have been held on a register of such decisions made by Jehovah’s Witnesses – to refuse blood or blood products even if her life was in danger. All parties accepted that the advance decision had been properly made.’

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Law & Religion UK, 19th October 2021