Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-3-2011

Abstract

The litigation to protect Jehovah’s Witnesses from unwanted blood transfusions, which their theology considers a violation of the biblical prohibition against drinking blood, has produced important changes in both the right to refuse treatment and in the preferred treatment methods of all patients. This article traces the evolution of the rights of competent medical patients in the United States to refuse medical treatment. It also discusses the impact this litigation has had on the medical community’s realization that blood transfusions were neither as safe nor as medically necessary as medical culture posited.