may26-94-awThe Watchtower’s blood, organ transplant and vaccine bans have had a devastating impact on the lives of many people. Statistics are difficult to come by, but it is likely that thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses have been disabled or lost their lives as a result of these teachings. We pay tribute to the victims and their families, and we share some of their stories with you.

I was working in a hospital on a OB-GYN floor, when this patient came in with uterine bleeding, passing two to three-inch blood clots – several times five at a time. The doctor had decided to do a hysterectomy but only after her bleeding had stopped. In the mean time, her hemoglobin count was at 6.0, which is low. She was told she would need a blood transfusion.

The night went on and the woman’s lips got very white. The nurse taking care of her told her she would need blood. The patient refused and her mother, who was in the room with her, told the nurse that it was against the bible.

The nurse called the doctor into the room and he tried to convince them that it was important to get the blood transfusion now. The patient being 42-years of age refused. The mother then called the elders of the congregation.

In the mean time, the nurse ordered another H&H to recheck her hemoglobin. This time it came back 4.0.

When the elders arrived, they suggested that she drink “Gatorade”. But the woman, now bleeding severely, could not hold anything down. More Witnesses showed up and they suggested several so-called solutions to try to help, like vitamin K , iron etc. Of course none of suggestions would help carry oxygen through the body. The only thing that could save this woman was blood.

The family was called in and the dying patient made out her will. The family said good-bye to her, including her two sons. They ended up getting a new doctor because they wanted to try “synthetic” blood products. But he told them that would not do the job; that only a red blood cell would do.

The next day they found a doctor that would go ahead and do the hysterectomy. The patient ended up in ICU with a hemoglobin of 1.0, which is not enough to sustain oxygen to her body. Needless to say, the woman died.

It really hurts me to see such ignorance. I had serious thought of becoming a Witness but now there is no way. I see a lot of spontaneous abortions, “where the body can not hold a fetus for some reason”, knowing that nothing can be done. I cry for each and every one of those babies. I also cried for this lady knowing something could be done to save her life. I know in my heart that Jehovah God does not want us to suffer like this. Your web site has brought new light to my thinking, confirming what I have felt was right. Thank you.

I wish to have my name withheld for job security.


Subject: URGENT – Need Loving Comfort

One of our sisters daughter (also in the truth) died a couple of weeks ago after giving birth to a set of twins. She started to hemorrhage and of course refused a blood transfusion. The sister’s name is Christine Branch. If anyone has some encouraging words for her, I will gladly pass them along to her. My e-mail address is That was the second death within a month under the same circumstances in the same congregation.

Pamela Hill Chicago, Il (USA)
South Congregation

Posted by Still in the truth

I would just like to post a rather sad message. Last Thursday morning a young 12-year-old girl died because she and her parents refused a simple blood transfusion. Her death was a jolt to the congregation. We normally get around 110 attendees every Sunday. Last Sunday there were only 43 publishers that attended.

I have looked up the AJWRB website: ‘New Light On Blood’ and researched it extensively. I urge current JW’s to at least take 5 minutes out and read this site.

I have become disillusioned in the faith and I don’t care if the elders in the congregation somehow catch me here posting this message. I have only been connected to the Internet for 3 weeks and have learned so much about the religion that I have been associated with for 24 years of my life. I feel so betrayed and it has taken me a lot of guts to write this. But after last week’s tragic death I had to investigate.

It’s unbelievable to imagine that only one month ago, if I had been involved in an accident or for some reason needed a transfusion, I would have refused and died WITHOUT ANY QUESTION AT ALL. It really freaks me out.

Is there anyone feeling like me out there? I just can’t seem to go to another meeting again even though I was born in the truth and have stayed in for 24 years. Anyway, I will probably feel really guilty for posting this message to the world, so I better press the Post Message button before I chicken out. But for you honest JWs out there that are investigating the truth, please study the New Light On Blood Site. If we really do have the truth, then we should have nothing to worry about, any apostates, etc.



Hello after reading these stories I would like to add my own. When I was 20 years old, I had a ruptured Ectopic Pregnancy. I had been bleeding for about four days internally and when I went to the hospital with my mother, who also is a Witness, I was told that if I did not have a transfusion I would die, leaving my two babies alone. I told them that I would rather die a faithful witness than to take blood and be condemned for eternal life. My mother mind you said that she could not sign for blood, but she went to my worldly husband and told him the situation so that he could sign it. I was so angry with her, but later secretly thanked her. A miracle happened that I did not receive the blood and that I lived without it. But I could have died just the same.

Sincerely Sheila – a questioning witness

P.S. You may use my name because I feel I have nothing to hide. What I said is the truth. Thank you for taking time to read it. Sheila

My grandfather became a part of the Watchtower Society in the early 1900s, and my father is an elder at his local Kingdom Hall.

I started serving as a full-time pioneer in 1971 after dropping out of High School with the encouragement of the brothers. In 1973, I was invited to go to the World Headquarters in Brooklyn to be part of the vast staff of workers who produce the literature.

After leaving Bethel, I married a good Jehovah’s Witness girl, and we set out together trying to please God the best way we knew how. My wife had been a missionary for eight years. She had been sent to different parts of the United States in her work, under the direction of the Watchtower Society.

After returning home, the local elders were using me quite extensively in teaching from the platform. Most Jehovah’s Witnesses agree that anyone who has spent any time at headquarters is special and worthy of greater responsibilities in the local congregation.

Having two boys, we longed for a girl to be born and hoped that having a little girl would complete our happiness. On Aug. 10, 1980, Jenny Leigh Blizard was born. We were so excited but tragedy struck. At five weeks old, Jenny received a small cut on a finger which would not stop bleeding. Local doctors found that Jenny’s blood simply would not clot.

They sent us to San Antonio, Texas, for treatment of Jenny’s condition. She was admitted to Santa Rosa Medical Center’s special care nursery, looking for the treatment that would make Jenny well. Doctors spent days trying to reach a diagnosis.

Finally, a team of doctors informed us that Jenny needed an emergency blood transfusion to save her life. This was a difficult problem for us because the Society does not permit blood transfusions.

We sent the doctors out of the room and told them that we would give them our answer soon. My wife and I prayed and cried out to God for answers. I remember thinking; “Oh Jehovah, how can you ask me to make such a decision – a yes or no whether Jenny lives or dies! What kind of God are you!” Finally my wife and I called the doctors back into the room, and we informed them that we had to obey God’s law and we would have to let Jenny die.

The hospital officials contacted the Texas Child Welfare Dept. and a suit was filed against us for child abuse and neglect. A court order was issued to ensure that Jenny would receive the blood she needed to save her life. The Sheriff’s Department of Bexar County issued us citations and warned the hospital staff not to allow us to remove Jenny from the hospital. They knew full well that Jehovah’s Witnesses have a long history of sneaking patients out of hospitals to avoid blood transfusions at all costs.

My wife and I were secretly relieved that Jenny would get the care she needed to save her life. We felt we had done all we could in trying to stop them from giving her the blood. We never thought the courts would intervene.

Reporters of two San Antonio newspapers, “The San Antonio Express/News” and “The San Antonio Light,” learned about Jenny and exposed the story, though we refused to talk to the reporters. In retrospect, I commend their work.

In the meantime, friends contacted the local elders, who promptly came to visit us. They were relieved to find out that there was still time to plan a way to kidnap Jenny out of the hospital before blood could be administered.

I explained to them that the matter was out of my hands and that I was under court order not to remove Jenny. That did not matter to them. Their main concern was to get her out.

I knew that Jenny would shortly die if I removed her from the machines that were keeping her alive, and I would be charged with murder. I explained this to the elders. They replied, “That’s the chance you have to take! You cannot allow them to give your child blood!”

Without further discussion, I asked them to leave, stating that we could not allow our child to die in this way. “If this is the God I serve, I am through with Him.”

The elders left the hospital angry that we would not submit to their demands “I hope,” one elder even said, “she gets hepatitis from that blood, just to prove that it’s bad!”

When we finally returned home with Jenny, the Witnesses had received word that even though we had protested the blood transfusion, we “allowed” her to take it. This made us outcasts in their eyes. They did not disfellowship us because their law calling for expulsion would have applied only if we had freely given permission for the transfusion.

Jenny’s condition was more serious than what a blood transfusion could permanently correct. The transfusions given to her as an infant did prolong her life, but on March 3, 1987, our six- year-old Jenny passed away.

On Jenny’s memorial stone it is inscribed: “God’s special messenger.” We believe she truly was. Through her illness and brief life, we came to recognize the deception of the Watchtower Society, that it’s teachings on blood were unscriptural and morally wrong, and we share this important knowledge with Jehovah’s Witnesses around the world in the hope that we can prevent unnecessary tragedies in other families.

Paul Blizzard

In 1967 I married Delores. She was a pioneer…and a devout Jehovah’s Witness like myself. When she developed leukemia we found ourselves in a terrible situation. Leukemia is a serious but not necessarily fatal disease, if proper treatment is given.

The doctors told us that she had a 50% chance of recovery if they performed a bone marrow transplant, and she had a brother, two sisters and a father who were good donor candidates. However, at the time any form of organ transplant was viewed as cannibalism by the Watchtower Society, so Delores wouldn’t even consider an organ transplant, and like a good Witness husband, I agreed with my wife’s decision, and encouraged her not to take the bone marrow transplant.

Dolores suffered terribly and died in January 1971 believing that she was a martyr for the “truth”. She was fun, smart, interesting, and loyal to the “truth” to the death. About the only thing left of the “truth” that she died for is the blood transfusion ban that she suffered because of.

In 1980, the Society reversed its ban on organ transplants. At first, I was angry with them for making, then changing, the rules for living and dying. Then I was angry at myself for following their directions relevant to medical treatment, without first checking out the Watchtower’s past history thoroughly. Had I done that, I would have found all sorts of medical suggestions and guidelines, as well as other ridiculous ideas, presented to gullible readers as fact, only later to be changed or discarded.

For instance, I now know that the Society approved of organ transplants in 1949, banned them in 1967, and then approved them once again in 1980. Did God just change his mind? I don’t think so. There have been even more flip-flops on vaccines and blood serums.

Had I investigated The Watchtower, I would have found that much of the writing is dogmatic and simply the uninformed, uneducated, opinion of an anonymous writer, claiming the uninspired direction of God Himself as his only claim to credibility. When the next leader or Watchtower writer came up with a different preposterous viewpoint, and the former logic was disposed of, the leaders would blame the loyal group members for actually believing them in the first place.

In the Watchtower publication “Reasoning from the Scriptures” (WT, 1985) under “False Prophets,” it makes the following comment regarding their changes in policy over the years: “Matters on which corrections of viewpoint have been needed have been relatively minor …” If I were to stand at the foot of Delores grave and read this statement aloud, how could it make sense to any thinking person?

The Society’s advice on medical matters probably cost my wife her life. I hope that others will learn from our experience and not have to suffer as we have. I pray that the Watchtower Society will reverse it’s cruel and heartless policies that have caused so much senseless pain for others.


From Carol, my personal tragedy. My son died at 15 years of age.

My loving son, 13 years old at the time, came down with a fairly rare sarcoma that settled against his spine and intestines. After initial surgery, in which the surgeon assured me no blood would be used and it wasn’t, a course of chemotherapy was decided upon. As most patients experience on this type of treatment, the blood counts go way down. Sometimes you can get by without being transfused with blood. Our son was not so fortunate.

The chemotherapy was so powerful, his bone marrow was inhibited from making enough new blood to replace the dead blood cells. He got so bad he started to exhibit a condition in which the capillaries leech blood into the surrounding tissues because there is not enough clotting factor as well as red and white blood cells. The doctors said that if blood was not administered soon, he would surely die in a matter of a day or so.

My husband is not a Witness. He knew what my son’s wishes were as well as my own. After discussing the blood issue with us, he said he couldn¹t sacrifice the life of his son because of what he considered a wrong scriptural interpretation (he had left the Society over these disagreements earlier). He signed for the blood transfusion and my son came back to normal soon afterwards. Of course the cancer was too powerful and two years later he died.

My view on blood has softened as a result. While I’ll not allow it for myself, I should think the decision to use blood be left up to each family to decide. The image of my son dying before my eyes has given me the ability to see that scripture just isn’t in black and white sometimes. It can be many shades of gray. My husband took the burden from me on the blood issue. By the doctors giving my son the blood to keep him alive, he was with us another two precious years. Was my husband wrong? I’ll never condemn him and in my heart I thank him for giving me my son for the short time he had left.

I think the Governing Body should re-investigate the scriptures concerning this. I’m not so sure, in light of what is now allowed, that maybe this blanket denial of blood just might be wrong.

Carol’s comments reflect the feelings of many Jehovah’s Witnesses. Years of being taught that blood transfusions are wrong is not easily overcome, and it’s hard to imagine taking something that you have been taught to abhor. Still we recognize that in matters of life or death, individual Witnesses should be allowed to decide for themselves how best to proceed, and that they should not feel coerced into making their decision by others. To hang the possibility of shunning over the head of these ones is morally repulsive.

We can’t help but wonder how the Governing Body would rule on the blood doctrine if it were made up of individuals with families, instead of mostly old men that have never raised a son or daughter. 

My spouses cousin (female) was disfellowshipped when she was 15 and literally kicked out of the house. She’s been on her own since then. She’s had a very hard and trying life apart from all her family since then. She’s now 41. Four years ago, she was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) and has relied upon blood transfusions to stay alive to this point.

Her CLL has been put into remission, but now she’s dealing with a condition called Mylodysplasia. This disease has destroyed (along with all the chemo and radiation) her bone marrow. Now she’s living off the blood transfusions literally.

When her family found out she was sick, they requested a meeting with their elders to see if they could have any association with her. (It’s like they’re so mindless they must have permission to go pee). Anyway for a while now, they’ve been talking to her and even visited her a time or two.

Recently her physicians told her she had ‘maybe’ two years at the rate she was going, and the only alternative would be a bone marrow transplant, with her best chance being a related donor (sibling). In the beginning when she approached her brother, he said he’d already researched the subject and that what he’d found so far, he would be willing to be tested.

Well, some time passed. So she called him up to see if he had gone to the Cancer Center to get the blood test and he shocked her with the words that he’d had a ‘meeting’ with some kind of blood committee and since that time he’d come to believe that the whole thing would be against his conscience. (Who’s conscience are we REALLY talking about here). He said that he’d ‘chosen’ to connect the blood transfusion that she would probably have to have sometime after the transplant, with the transplant itself. So in his eyes, they would be one in the same and therefore against his conscience. This devastated her but actually didn’t shock her like it did me. They weren’t the kind loving family when she was a troubled teenager and they’re still not.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the bone marrow institute called to tell her they had found a non-related donor that was a match. The chances of a non-related donor transplant are very dangerous. More than with a matching sibling. She is so scared that it’s horrible to see.

What I would like to know is why is it that when he had done his own research and come to the conclusion that it was something he could do this all changed after his ‘talk’ with the (HLC) blood committee – it was suddenly against his conscience.

Her life is hanging in the balance now. We’ll know how it’s all going to turn out in a very short while.

Posted by Linda

This story is taken from an article in Discover magazine of August, 1988. Beginning at age 42, a Witness woman had surgical removal of recurring bladder tumors over a period of several years. This last time she had waited overly long to see her doctor, was bleeding heavily, and was severely anemic. She insisted that she was not to receive a transfusion and this refusal was respected.

Over a period of a week urologists tried unsuccessfully to stem the bleeding. Her blood count continued to drop. The doctor writing the article describes what took place:

Gradually, as her blood count dropped further, Ms. Peyton became short of breath. The body’s organs need a certain amount of oxygen to function. That oxygen is carried from the lungs to the periphery by hemoglobin molecules in the red cells. . . . The medical team gave Ms. Peyton supplemental oxygen through a mask until she was breathing virtually pure O2. The few red cells she had were fully loaded–but there just weren’t enough vehicles left to transport the fuel her body needed.

Her hunger for air increased. Her respiratory rate climbed. She became more and more groggy, and finally–inevitably–the muscle fibers of her heart declared their desperate need for oxygen. She developed crushing, severe chest pain.

The doctor writing the article relates her feelings on arriving at the patient’s room:

“As I walked into the room. . . I was awed by the scene in front of me. At the center of everyone’s attention was a large woman with an oxygen mask, gasping for air, breathing faster than seemed humanly possible. At the head of the bed were three friends, fellow church [witness] members, coaching her. . . . At her side were several doctors–one monitoring her falling blood pressure, another coaxing some blood from an artery. The fluid that slowly filled the syringe had the consistency of Hawaiian Punch; tests on the same revealed a red cell count of only 9 [normal would have been 40]. Hanging from the bed rail was a bag of cherry-red urine. The woman was dying. Her cardiogram tracings showed the deep valleys that signal a heart in pain. Within a matter of hours the damage they represented would become irreversible.”

The woman went into cardiac arrest. A team of doctors and nurses began cardiopulmonary resuscitation, administered epinephrine and atropine, then an electrical jolt to the heart. It fluttered into activity, then stopped again. More CPR, more epinephrine and atropine, another electrical jolt, more CPR. This went on for one hour until there was no longer any hope or purpose. The patient was dead beyond recovery.

The physician describing this did not characterize the woman as simply a fanatic. She writes:

“She was an intelligent woman, I was told, who totally understood the implications of her decision. But her judgment, it seemed to me, arose from a blind spot imposed by her faith.”

Elisabeth Rosenthal, article titled “Blinded by the Light,” Discover magazine,

August, 1988, page 28-30.

This sister’s health problems were chronic and required surgery from time to time. If the Society allowed her to store some of her own blood before surgery she likely would not have died. As we have seen, there is no valid scriptural objection to such a procedure.


A young Jehovah’s Witness died after a rollerblading accident because her family refused to let her have a life-saving blood transfusion, an inquest heard today.

A doctor said he pleaded with her family to allow her a transfusion which would have given her a 90% chance of survival.

Emelie Grootjes, 19, broke both legs after she lost control of her skates going down a hill on July 31. Emelie, a Dutch student, had been on holiday at the Lockley Park caravan park, Hamworthy, Dorset, with her mother, father, brother and sister, all Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The inquest at Bournemouth, Dorset, was told she was taken to Poole General Hospital where she died from fat embolism syndrome five days later.

East Dorset coroner Nigel Neville-Jones heard that fat and marrow from her shattered bones had entered her blood system before jamming up around her lungs and finally killing her.

Dr Charles Blakeway, a consultant surgeon, described a complicated two-hour operation designed to bind her legs and stop further fat getting into her bloodstream.

He said: “We would normally give a transfusion straight away. “The transfusion was refused from the outset because she was a Jehovah’s Witness. If consent is declined then we are stuck.”

The next day he noticed problems with Emelie and her lungs began to deteriorate. She died later in intensive care.

“The refusal of the blood transfusion contributed to her death in my opinion.” Dr. Barry Newman, head of the intensive care unit, said: “Somebody as young and fit as her, if she had received all the therapies we could give, then I would have given her chances as 90%.

“When I first met her I was made aware that she was a Jehovah’s Witness. Her parents had signed a form saying that she would not take blood or blood products.”

Dr. Newman said that he regretted not telling Emelie the first time he met her of the “brutal facts” that her life could depend on the blood and plasma.

Emelie’s father Mr. Cornelius Grootjes, from Schogen in Northern Holland, said: “We accept other treatment but not blood or blood products. “I think the situation with blood is not so black or white as it looks. I think the doctors did all they could and I am very happy with all that they did.”

Mr. Neville-Jones said that a post-mortem examination had given the cause of death as fat embolism syndrome.

He referred to a High Court Judge’s ruling saying: “The right of the individual is paramount. She was entitled in her rights to refuse the transplants which were offered to her.”

He recorded a verdict that she died as the result of an accident “the consequences of which were contributed by the refusal of blood transfusions on religious grounds”.

Associated Press, 23 Sep 96

When a young Jehovah’s Witness mother died after refusing a blood transfusion, Denmark’s largest newspaper Ekstrabladet ran the following editorial:

“Jehovah’s Murderers”

“THERE ARE MANY WHO HAVE REASON to have a bad conscience because of the 24-year old mother who died on Hvidovre hospital Tuesday.

First, there are the members of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Hospital Liason Committee who were on the hospital to influence the patient to not accept an absolutely necessary blood transfusion.

Secondly, there are those medical doctors who did not make the most of the loopholes in the Health Committee’s (“Sundhedsstyrelsen”) circular so they could give the patient the necessary blood anyway.

And finally it is the Health Committee’s Michael von Magnus, who – assuredly under pressure from Jehovah’s Witnesses – worked out the relevant circular, which gives doctors unreasonable working conditions in life-threatening situations.

Let’s start with Jehovah’s Witnesses. The sect has the eccentric idea that it is against the will of some god to accept a blood transfusion. This weird idea they are welcome to walk about having fun with, but it’s directly disgusting when they meet up at hospitals and try to influence sick members to not accept blood. Especially then under threats of disfellowshipping from the sect, which often is all the victim’s circle of acquaintances, as well as loss of salvation from the side of Mr. Jehovah.

The result was in this case the tragedy that a young mother died from her newborn child, and for these people there are no excuses. Also, one can speculate whether it is bordering to violating the penal code’s paragraph 240 about ‘contributing to someone’s suicide.’

The medical doctors also failed. Just after the extremely complicated birth they asked the patient if she wanted a blood transfusion, and received no. Therefor they were tied by the circular’s paragraph 14, but when an infection also came, and the situation worsened, they should have explained to the patient how serious the condition was, and asked again. This is obvious from the same paragraph’s second subsection. And if the patient was without her full senses, they could give blood anyway after paragraph 12.

Instead, they asked the guards from Jehovah’s Witnesses, and from them the answer was of course no. This was a mistake, but it can be difficult to keep the outlook in this kind of tense and complex situations.

Finally, it was the Health Committee, first and foremost Michael von Magnus, who created the circular in 1992. We cannot now what reasons he have had, but can simply demonstrate that it gives the doctors completely impossible working conditions when lives are at stake. At the same time as they shall use their medical qualifications at their best, they are also obliged to have on their mind who have permission to do what, and whether they violate the circular’s paragraph 14.

The duty of medical doctors is to save life, not to be a service-organization for a macabre sect’s eccentric ideas. Therefor, this circular should be removed.”

Ekstrabladet, Oct. 21, 1996

It certainly is difficult to read articles like the above, and while we do not agree with all of the writer’s sentiments, we find it enlightening to take note of how the Society and Jehovah God is at times viewed by others as a result of the Society’s blood doctrine.

That each of us should be able to choose what kind of medical treatment we prefer is a basic human right. A right, we might add, that in the final analysis the Watchtower Society denies us.

“Refused Blood -Sect Member Died”

“The 83-year-old woman would rather die happy in her faith than accepting a blood transfusion. She died during a simple operation of the neck of the femur because of loss of blood. The doctor did not give her the necessary blood transfusion. The case is now under investigation by the police. “From the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet Oct 26, 1995.

Short synopsis:

An 83-year-old women died during a normally uncomplicated operation. She was a Jehovah’s Witness, and refused blood by giving a written statement prior to a normally uncomplicated operation. Without a blood transfusion it was impossible to save her life when complications arouse, and the doctor respected her wishes and allowed her to die. The police was still investigating the case…. Regulations on this areas were not clear.

Lawyer and spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Norway, Håkon Helstedt, stated: “It is just as important to abstain from blood as it is to not kill,” and further stated that members who do not accept the JW’s views on blood should “find themselves another religious community.”

Quotations from original Norwegian article. See also cover story from same source Nov 1, 1995. The same incident was covered in another Norwegian newspaper, Varden, Oct. 27, 1995.

The comments of the Society’s lawyer once again demonstrate the effective job done by the Society in convincing the brothers and sisters that blood transfusions are wrong, even on par with murder. Is it any wonder that most would rather die than accept a transfusion. Who of us wants to be thought of as a murderer.

That such comments lead to the death of many is certain. That Jehovah will overlook the apparent bloodguilt is not.

* Stories and News Items Displayed on this site are deemed reliable, but not guaranteed. *

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