The learning experience I had was both good and bad. I was helping care for a 32 year old female that came into the emergency room for vomiting blood. Before getting her labs back the patient had to pee, so I put her in a wheelchair and assisted her to the bathroom. She ended up passing out while sitting on the toilet and at that point I knew she was pretty sick. She initially didn’t present that bad but things changed quickly. After getting her back in bed and settled, I was able to look at her labs. She had a very low hemoglobin and that explained it all. Not knowing the patients religion preference, I went into the room with the provider to explain what was going on and that she needed a blood transfusion. The patient then explained that she was a jehovah witness and cannot receive blood or blood products. I was so upset and kind of mad at her refusal. This patient was an alcoholic, which is forbidden in her religion, and she didn’t have a problem drinking. She explained to me that it’s an addiction she’s been trying to fight, but not receiving blood is very important to her. “Furthermore, they claim that anyone who unrepentantly accepts a blood transfusion does so at the peril of losing eternal life. Thus, faithful Jehovah’s Witnesses accept death, rather than break the Watchtower’s policy against blood transfusions” (4Jehovah, 2013 para. 2). I was initially upset about not being able to help make her better, but I honored her wishes and admitted her to the ICU with a signed refusal for blood. A few days later I learned that this patient had passed away. During her stay the patient was intubated and her family members were trying to push for blood products to be administered. However, because the patients wishes were granted by us in the emergency department she was able to pass away honoring her religion.
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