Responses to my piece ‘Operating on Jehovah’s Witnesses – the joys and challenges’

Responses to my piece ‘Operating on Jehovah’s Witnesses – the joys and challenges’

  1. Forwarded to me from a platform I am not on:

[5/22, 17:42] Y: Ridiculous!
I have serious issues with this doctor who seems to go the extra mile to cater to a Jehovah witness compared to someone who accepts blood transfusion. He sees a soft cushion if you accept blood transfusion but little room for error for a JW. He will schedule a JW’s surgery in the early (morning) over mine because the team is not tired and can detect complications.
[5/22, 17:52] Y: He will probably lose his license in a place like the US voicing this mindset.
You seem to go the extra mile for JWs and risk the lifes of others!

  1. Dont you work with standardized procedures to ensure quality of surgery for all?

My response to 1 and 2:

Should patients with diabetes mellitus, for example, be done earlier on the list?

I prepare my theatre list based on these (among others):

  1. Risk of death.
  2. Risk of serious morbidity.
  3. Risk of minor morbidity.
  4. Resources (human/non human) available.

Often based on these in my setting, a Jehovah’s Witness will be high on the list.

Maybe in other settings (as I mentioned in the piece) the risk is lower for Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Others can decide to operate on a Jehovah’s Witness last, at midnight.
I will not do that.


Received yesterday morning:

Good morning, Doc. You see, we have medical ethics, management principles and common sense. In planning your procedures, all these come to play. In some places, ability to pay comes first. Elsewhere, risk of death comes first. In the end, how many of your patients survive? If a diabetic is more at risk than a JW, I am sure you would schedule them even at dawn. Our biases prevent us from being reasonable. Continue applying the good sense of medical ethics, sound management principles (which many, many clinicians have not been exposed to), and common sense. May Jehovah continue to lead you. And you know I am not a JW.

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