(Investigator 24, 1992 May)

The J W anti-blood doctrine has been thoroughly thrashed out in Investigator before.

Investigator No. 10 gave the history of the doctrine. No. 12 showed how it was a "spin-off doctrine" from the previous J W opposition to vaccinations. No. 8 discussed "fluosol" (artificial blood), No. 12 hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and No. 22 hemophiliacs and factor VIII. 

In South Australia five J Ws have needlessly died when a transfusion should have saved them. Since about 1/700 of all J Ws in the world live in South Australia, a rough, initial, estimate of needless J W deaths worldwide would be 5 x 700 = 3,500.

Mr Russo [in another article] mentioned hepatitis, AIDS and cancer transmitted by transfusion.

Since 1985 donated blood is tested for HIV and the risk in Australia is now about 1 chance in 2 million. There's a far higher risk of Russo dying from food poisoning or from choking on his food in the course of a year. Should people therefore stop eating? Cancer via transfusion seems even more negligible but the risk of hepatitis is higher (though still negligible in Australia) of about 1 chance in 5,000. If a transfusion is judged to be medically necessary I would take the 1/5000 risk!

Recent deaths of J Ws in Australia from not accepting blood are:

Aged woman dies after rejecting blood offer

An elderly Helensvale road accident victim has died in the Gold Coast Hospital after refusing a blood transfusion because of her religious beliefs...
(Gold Coast Bulletin, April 26, 1989)

Father explains blood faith

Melbourne: A coroner's inquest has been told how the Jehovah's Witnesses parents of a 12-year-old girl refused blood transfusions that would have given her a longer life…
(Sydney Morning Herald, March 25, 1992)

As regards the Bible the critical chapter is Acts 15 which lists four "necessary things" to "abstain from" which were:

•    "what has been sacrificed to idols",
•    "from blood",
•    "from what is strangled" and 
•    "from unchastity".

J W leaders have compared transfusion to "intravenous feeding" when nutrients are introduced via the veins. The comparison is misleading. A transfusion is better compared to a tissue transplant, in this instance of a liquid tissue. A transplant whether of a kidney, cornea, blood, etc. is not given to a person because he's hungry and neither is it digested as food in the intestines would be!

Acts 15 has been variously interpreted:

1)    "Blood" is a figure of speech and means "circumcision". See Investigator 12, pp. 14-19

2)    "Abstain from blood" means "abstain from murder". Murder, idolatry and immorality are the three things Jews must avoid at all costs.

3)    The four "necessary things" were necessary to maintain peace between Jews and Christians and therefore the ruling was a temporary measure. "Unchastity" on this interpretation meant a non-Jewish marriage ceremony.  See Investigator 12, p. 26

4)    R. Franz [former Governing Body member] says that the four "necessary things" are the same four given in Leviticus 17 & 18 which non Israelites who lived in Israel had to observe. Christians observe much more than these four necessities but only these four are listed in Acts because these four were behaviors which Gentiles condoned but Jews condemned. (In Search of Christian Freedom 1991 Chapter 9)

Dictionary of Jehovah's Witnesses at: