God forbid: Their child’s heart failed, but parents refused blood

06 December 2018 - 08:00 By Nivashni Nair
Image: 123RF/Sudok1

A nine-year-old KwaZulu-Natal girl's parents took her to hospital when she fell gravely ill last month – but they refused to allow her doctor to administer a lifesaving blood transfusion when she went into cardiac failure.

In a legal battle – described by advocate Dashendra Naidoo as a conflict between the right to life and the right to religious beliefs – three sets of parents are fighting the KwaZulu-Natal health department because, as Jehovah’s Witnesses, they are forbidden from receiving blood transfusions or blood products.