British Columbia governement seizes three sextuplets for blood transfusion

  1. *government

    Wed Jan 31, 9:14 PM

    By Steve Mertl

    VANCOUVER (CP) - B.C. government social workers seized three of four surviving sextuplets on the weekend so they could receive blood transfusions over their parents' religious objections and Supreme Court of Canada precedent, the family's lawyer says.

    But the province abruptly handed control of the infants back to the parents Wednesday when they challenged the seizure in court. The parents, who cannot be identified under a court-ordered publication ban, are Jehovah's Witnesses whose beliefs forbid blood transfusions even to save a life.

    The sextuplets were born the first weekend in January almost four months premature and two had died before the province's director of child, family and community service stepped in last Friday.

    Lawyer Shane Brady said the parents did not oppose "mainstream" medical treatment. But they expressly ruled out blood transfusions for the struggling babies, indicating they wanted to seek medical alternatives.

    The government got a provincial court judge to issue an unchallenged seizure order for one of the babies Friday at B.C. Children's Hospital.

    Social workers seized two others over the weekend after doctors indicated they too should receive blood transfusions, according to a court affidavit by the babies' father.

    "The family is very upset that the government treated them in the way it did," Brady said outside court. "It's like a hit and run."

    The family got wind of the government's plans last week. The babies were seized in spite of the parents' pleas for a hearing, Brady said after Wednesday's hearing in B.C. Supreme Court.

    The government withdrew the seizure order at the hearing but the court has scheduled another hearing Feb. 22-23 so the parents can challenge province's conduct.

    "The family appealed what the government did and has brought an application for judicial review, saying that the government violated what the Supreme Court of Canada said 10 years ago," said Brady.

    He said a Supreme Court of Canada decision in 1995 gave parents the right to present evidence at a hearing in such matters. In 1999, the high court affirmed that, saying it is a fundamental right of Canadian society.

    "Parents are entitled to a fair hearing," said Brady. "It may be abridged but they're entitled to a fair hearing.

    Children and Families Minister Tom Christensen refused to discuss the case specifically, citing privacy law.

    But he said doctors have an obligation to go to ministry authorities when they believe a child is in danger.

    "We don't take any such action without a great deal of forethought, recognizing that it's a significant step for the state to interfere in a family," Christensen said.

    "But we want to ensure in every case that children are receiving the attention they require."

    A child's welfare trumps a family's religious beliefs, Christensen indicated.
    "Our obligation to protect children is paramount," he said in Victoria.
    Apprehending a child is a last resort, Christensen said.
    "The ministry will always take the least intrusive option that we have," he said.
    Brady said the transfusions made little difference in the medical state of any of the children, who remain in stable condition.
    Brady has represented several Jehovah's Witness children in the courts in recent years, including 17-year-old Bethany Hughes of Calgary, who died of leukemia in 2002 after her father battled his daughter and her mother for her to have blood transfusions during her treatment.
    The first of the six B.C. babies were born Jan. 6 with the rest born Jan. 7. They were premature at 25 weeks and each was not much bigger than an outstretched hand.
    Hospital president Dr. Liz Whynot said at the time the babies were in fair condition after their births.
    Doctors said babies born at that stage have an 80-per-cent chance of surviving to leave the hospital and still could face major health problems due to the immature development of their organs and immune systems.
    Brady said the government's action in recent days was even more inexplicable given the babies' odds of survival.
    In his affidavit, the father said doctors suggested early in the pregnancy that the fetuses could be selectively aborted.
    And just before they were born, doctors told the parents to decide if they wanted the infants to have help breathing - that without resuscitation they would die.
    "The parents respect the sanctity of life - that's their religious views - and they chose resuscitation," said Brady.
    "Two weeks later the government completely turns around and says we're going to take the children away from you.
    "Two weeks ago, if the parents were so inclined, they could have refused resuscitation. It was their choice. Today, the government wanted to interfere. It doesn't make sense."
  2. Sextuplets ?????????:wtf: OK.....obvioulsy you don't get pregnant the normal way if you have sextuplets. You are on fertitlity treatments. So for these religious hypocrites, OBVIOULSY God DIDN'T WANT YOU TO HAVE ANY BABIES AND THAT'S WHY YOU DIDN'T GET PREGNANT IN THE FIRST PLACE ACCORDING TO GOD'S PLAN !!!!!!!!!!!! go to a fertility doctor who gets you pregnant with SIX babies and then there are problems (what a surprise- NOBODY should have six/seven's NOT natural OR normal)...and then you have the NERVE to use your religion (only when it's convenient to you) and say your "beliefs forbid blood transfusions even to save a life".....but it was OK to get the fertility treatments ?????????????????? Am I the only one who thinks there is something wrong with this picture ???????????:cursing: :cursing: :cursing: :cursing:
  3. That's my question: If Jehovah's Witnesses strongly oppose blood transfusions, how do they feel about using fertility drugs / treatments?

    And if they knew the babies might be born prematurely (and might need a blood transfusion) why did they go through with the pregnancy?
  4. i'm all for freedom of religion, and i know that it's illogical to say that any one religion is more valid than another because they're ALL rediculous if you don't believe in them, but i have a real problem feeling that it's ok for parents to deny their children simple, life-saving medical treatment. i'd understand if it was dangerous, experimental surgery that the parents were declining. but a blood transfusion? imo, that's negligent. at some point, you have to draw the line.

    i also agree with the previous poster that said that you don't get pregnant with six babies at once without fertility treatment - so one kind of medical treatment is ok because they're selfish and want kids, but another is not ok, because they deign to think about the wellbeing of their children?
  5. I agree. I feel that if an adult wants to forgo a medical treatment on religious grounds, that's perfectly fine. However, I am really bothered when a parent uses religion to deny a child medical treatment.
  6. ITA
  7. couldn't have said it better, so i won't try.

    the only thing i will add is a little bit of information: jehovah's witnesses believe that the soul exists in the blood. they believe taking blood into their bodies (even by eating an improperly killed animal) dilutes the original lifeforce/soul that God gave them and is a sin agains His will. that's why blood transfusions are forbidden but other modern medical procedures (such as fertility treatments) are acceptable.

    i'm a believer of another mainstream yet often misunderstood bothers me when people don't take the time to TRY and understand the point of view. you might not agree, but there is some "faith based logic" working there which (to a point) is just as valid, since a huge majority of the population believes in something and it's all as equally unsubstanciated.
  8. I know that when a child receives a transfusion it's awful for the family in this kind of case. They believe the child is impure or "damned" or something along that line. So I wish it didn't have to be done . . . but I believe that the child has a right to grow up and decide for him or herself whether they want to be JW and practice those beliefs. The parents do not have the right to let a child die of a treatable condition.
  9. God would want those babies to live. And they'd live if they were given a blood transfusion.

    It's one of those 'which is the lesser of two evils.' They believe that blood transfusions are a sin. But wouldn't He want extreme measurs taken to save their lives?
  10. Parents of sextuplets head back to court to fight B.C. government

    Sun Apr 15, 12:40 PM

    By Camille Bains

    VANCOUVER (CP) - The parents of Canada's first sextuplets are heading to court on Monday to fight the B.C. government's seizure of their babies for potentially life-saving blood transfusions.

    Their lawyer, Shane Brady, said his clients want the court to rule that their constitutional rights were violated.

    "The family's very upset with what happened," Brady said. They were never given an opportunity to defend themselves."

    The parents, who have never spoken to the media, are Jehovah's Witnesses whose religion forbids blood transfusions under any circumstance.

    While they are in court for the two-day hearing, former Jehovah's Witnesses will be outside protesting the stance of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Canada, which speaks for members of the sect and sets policies for them to follow.

    The parents' names, and those of their four surviving children-two boys and two girls-are under a publication ban.

    Two of the six premature children died soon after their birth on Jan. 7-almost three months before their due date.

    All the babies were believed to have weighed about 1.8 pounds each.

    On Feb. 21, the parents were to appear in B.C. Supreme Court to appeal the Liberal government's decision to allow doctors to give transfusions to three of their kids.

    But the court battle was postponed after the Ministry of Children and Families asked for an adjournment of proceedings because of the massive amount of information that had been forwarded in the case.

    Brady said the parents want to pursue the appeal even though the government gave control of their children's medical future back to them after they started court proceedings.

    "If the government took control of your child and they made certain assumptions and statements and maybe even authorized treatment that you objected to I would think for many parents that wouldn't be the end of the story," he said.

    "They want some answers and they want the court to say that what happened was unfair and shouldn't have happened."

    He said the government authorized the transfusions despite the parents' belief that they were medically unnecessary.

    "It wasn't just simply a matter of 'Sorry, we took your kids and it was a mistake and here you go, they're back again.' Unfortunately, things happened."

    If the court agrees that the parents' rights were violated it would make a declaration that it shouldn't have happened, giving the family a moral remedy, said Brady, a Jehovah's Witness who often represents members of the sect.

    He wouldn't elaborate on what condition the four surviving babies are in, other than to say "they're healthy."
    Jehovah's Witnesses say accepting blood transfusions is against God's wishes and would prevent them from having everlasting life.
    They cite two verses in the biblical book of Acts, which state that God's followers must "abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood."
    In a court affidavit, the children's father said he and his wife "could not bear to be at the hospital while they were violating our little girl."
    "We took our immense sadness and grief and tried to console each other in private."
    Chris Christensen, a former Jehovah's Witness from Lac du Bonnet, Man., said he will participate in a rally outside B.C. Supreme Court during the two-day hearing on Monday and Tuesday to protest the Georgetown, Ont.-based Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society's stance on blood transfusions.
    Christensen said the sextuplets' parents should have had the right to decide for themselves if they wanted their babies to have blood transfusions.
    Up until the 1950s, that was the society's position, he said, adding what was once a matter of choice then became a sin.
    "Their original position was the right one," he said from his home, about an hour northeast of Winnipeg.
    Christensen said other former Jehovah's Witnesses, including those from Vancouver, Washingtoni State and Alberta, will join him in the protest to send a strong message about the society to "all Canadians."
    Calgary resident Lawrence Hughes, also a former Jehovah's Witness, said people who die after refusing blood transfusions are treated as martyrs by the society.
    Hughes has sued the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Canada over what he considers the wrongful death of his 16-year-old daughter Bethany in 2002.
    The lawsuit, and another one against Brady for advising his daughter to take arsenic as a viable treatment, will be heard in the Alberta Court of Appeal on June 28.
    Bethany Hughes needed blood transfusions as part of her treatment for leukemia, but Hughes said the society convinced his daughter that there were alternative procedures, although doctors have said they don't work.
    "I think what the B.C. government did was the right thing, giving these babies a chance to live," he said.
    "What these parents are doing is infringing the rights of the babies by forcing their religious beliefs on them."
  11. I never thought about it this way but you are so right :sad: