Sunday, June 6, 2010

Teenage Jehovah's Witness 'died after refusing blood'

I often wonder if I would have died for my religion if put in such a position. I suspect I would have, and would have done so without hesitation. This person will never get the opportunity to change their mind despite the high probability he might not have remained in this religion.


A teenage Jehovah's Witness crushed by a car as it crashed into a West Midlands shop is thought to have died after refusing a blood transfusion.

Joshua McAuley, 15, was airlifted to hospital from the incident in Smethwick on Saturday but died later that day.

Elder at Smethwick's Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses Clive Parker said Joshua, who worshipped there, had "made a stand on the blood issue".

A post-mortem examination is due to be carried out on Thursday.

Joshua is believed to have told doctors at Selly Oak Hospital not to give him a blood transfusion on religious grounds.

Jehovah's Witnesses refuse transfusions because they believe the use of products derived from blood is forbidden by God.

A spokesman for West Midlands Police said Joshua's family, who live in Smethwick, did not wish to comment.

Mr Parker said Joshua was conscious after the accident in Cape Hill. He added the family worshipped at Smethwick's Kingdom Hall.

He said: "A mother has lost her son, and Joshua had a brother. He has lost his brother, he was there in the morning and then gone by the afternoon. They are terribly distressed."

A spokesman for Selly Oak Hospital would not comment on the individual case but described the issue as an "extraordinarily complex area" with no set rules.

"There is no automatic right to override parental wishes or that of a minor. It is a very complex area that has to be approached on a case-by-case basis," he said.

Two other adults were injured in the crash, which happened in the Cape Hill area at 1114 BST.

Police said a 24-year-old woman was in a serious but stable condition in hospital and a 32-year-old man sustained a suspected broken arm and leg.

A 28-year-old man from the Winson Green area of Birmingham was arrested after the crash and bailed pending further inquiries.

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