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This section is dedicated to Jehovah's Witness Employee Earl L. Stout, who wanted to become a MARTYR for the WatchTower Cult back in 1962 -- but only after first costing his fellow taxpayers and/or fellow policyholders THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS wasted in the pointless attempt to save his life. In July 1962, Earl Stout, age 41, of Chico, California, had an ARTERY SEVERED in his right leg during logging operations. Earl Stout's co-worker loggers first had to move the BLEEDING-OUT Stout to where an ambulance could transport Stout to the Trinity County General Hospital, in Weaverville. From there, Earl Stout was AIR-FLIGHTED to Mercy Hospital, in Redding. (Does anyone really believe that Earl Stout had not by that point in time been given multiple units of whole blood just to keep him alive?) Surgeons at Mercy Hospital then repaired Stout's severed artery. THEN, when Stout's Jehovah's Witness Family likely made it to Stout's side, Stout and/or his Jehovah's Witness Family STOPPED any additional blood transfusions. Stout expectedly then died. Thanks Earl, for first incurring all those pointless bills before then committing "backdoor suicide". Maybe other BLEEDING-OUT JWs would be considerate of their bill-paying survivors enough to go ahead and die at the scene of the accident. Notably, Earl Stout was a TWO-TIME WW2 DRAFT DODGER, who after serving one two-year stint in federal prison for refusing to serve his nation, chose to go to prison a second time for evading the draft.
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Misinterpreting Old Testament prohibitions against eating whole animal blood as a routine food item, the WatchTower Society started teaching its Jehovah's Witness members that receiving a blood transfusion was exactly the same thing as "eating human blood".

"A patient in the hospital maybe fed through the mouth, through the nose, or through the veins. When sugar solutions are given intravenously it is called intravenous feeding. So the hospital's own terminology recognizes as feeding the process of putting nutrition into one's system via the veins. Hence the attendant administering the transfusion is feeding the patient through the veins, and the patient receiving it is eating through his veins." -- The WATCHTOWER magazine, July 1, 1951.

Jehovah's Witnesses were BAMBOOZLED into believing that receiving an infusion of human blood into their body's circulatory system was scientifically the exact same thing as eating or ingesting blood into their body's digestive system. Jehovah's Witnesses refuse to acknowledge that when blood is eaten as "food" that the ingested blood enters the human body's separate and distinct digestive system, where it is treated by the digestive system exactly the same as a hotdog, a potato chip, or any other item of "food". It will be completely digested and broken down into proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and waste -- which are then either assimilated or excreted by the body.

Jehovah's Witnesses refuse to acknowledge the distinction that when human blood is TRANSFUSED into another human's circulatory system that the transfused human blood remains to be human blood and continues to function as human blood. That is the very point of a blood transfusion. The very purpose of blood transfusions is to SAVE HUMAN LIFE. Blood transfusions are based on RESPECT FOR HUMAN LIFE.

The WatchTower Cult uses Old Testament guidelines regarding the disposal of blood from slaughtered animals to teach Jehovah's Witnesses that blood is "sacred"because blood is the "symbol" of life. Then, in the same breath, the WatchTower Cult turns around and requires Jehovah's Witnesses to SACRIFICE ACTUAL HUMAN LIFE to maintain the SANCTITY OF THE SYMBOL. WatchTower Cult doctrine MORONICALLY places a higher value on the SYMBOL OF HUMAN LIFE than it does ACTUAL HUMAN LIFE.

In fact, the Old Testament permitted the eating of "unbled" animal meat, which the Old Testament equated to eating animal blood itself. In emergency situations, when humans needed to eat unbled meat in order to sustain their life, the Mosaic Law permitted such desperate humans to eat "unbled" meat. Once their life had been saved, those humans were then required for a few days to fulfill the Mosaic Law's requirements for being "unclean". Thus, THE BIBLE RECOGNIZES AND TEACHES that the SUSTAINING OF HUMAN LIFE is MORE IMPORTANT than maintaining the "sanctity" of the mere "symbol" of life. To do otherwise would be doing exactly what the MORONIC WatchTower Cult does. It would make the SYMBOL more SACRED than the THING SYMBOLIZED.

In fact, the WatchTower Cult is MISLEADING JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES TO DISOBEY GOD and violate the Holy Scriptures in one of the most serious ways possible. GOD created humans in HIS image. GOD considers human life to be SACRED. A Jehovah's Witness who extinguishes SACRED HUMAN LIFE in order to MORONICALLY maintain the sanctity of the SYMBOL of that SACRED LIFE varies little from those who profane SACRED HUMAN LIFE by committing suicide. Those Jehovah's Witness Elders who teach and police this MORONIC WATCHTOWER CULT DOCTRINE vary little from MURDERERS. The Bible is clear as to how GOD views MURDER and how GOD views and deals with MURDERERS.

The WatchTower Cult's SATANIC twisting of GOD'S WORD and BAMBOOZLING of its' Jehovah's Witness members in order to establish its own version of the GENERIC CULTIC REQUIREMENT of "POTENTIAL MARTYRDOM FOR ALL - ACTUAL MARTYRDOM FOR A FEW" would be laughable if not for the fact that it has lead to the MEANINGLESS DEATHS OF THOUSANDS OF HUMANS ACROSS PLANET EARTH since 1945, and it will continue to cause the pointless deaths of THOUSANDS MORE IN THE FUTURE until LIBERAL GOVERNMENTS finally wake up and declare"NO MORE OF THIS BACK-DOOR SUICIDE STUPIDITY UNDER THE GUISE OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM". Legal precedent is already there. Stupid religious belief is unfettered. Stupid religious practice is not.

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The law in the United States regarding Jehovah's Witnesses and their refusal to accept blood transfusions is somewhat settled, although subject to exceptions. Most competent adults have the constitutional right to refuse to accept a blood transfusion, even if such refusal means they will die. Every year in the United States, an unknown number of adult Jehovah's Witnesses exercise their constitutional right to choose death over a life-saving blood transfusion. For every account of such death that is reported by the news media, there are an unknown number that go unreported due to confidentiality rules that restrain medical and hospital staff from releasing the fact that a death was due to the deceased's refusal to accept a blood transfusion.

Jehovah's Witnesses will attempt to make the same "death decision" for their minor children, but practically every hospital will attempt to obtain a court order which will permit them to administer a blood transfusion over the parent's objections - assuming that the Jehovah's Witness Child is still alive by the time all the legalities are completed. Gray areas, such as Jehovah's Witnesses females pregnant with a child, Minors approaching the age of majority, and Adults with existing parental obligations make for a more complex legal situation.

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The following excerpts are taken from the RESPONDENTS' BRIEF submitted by famous WatchTower Society Attorney JAMES M. McCABE in the REGENTS-LUNSFORD appeal to the COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA. These excerpts will give readers some feel for the role played by Dr. Steven P. Unkel both during the trial as well as events before, during, and after the surgery giving rise to this lawsuit:

PAGE 7: "Because of Dr. Potter's hesitancy, the Lunsfords did not plan on having the transplant done at UCSF. (RT 1332) Rather, they continued their search for a team that would assure them that a bloodless kidney transplant could be safely performed. (RT 1332) They knew that bloodless surgery was generally available. (RT 1332-33) On Thursday, February 23, 1984, after calling several different state university hospitals across the country, Lori spoke with Dr. Steven Unkel of St. Luke's Hospital in Houston, Texas. (RT 596, 642-43, 1335, 1337) Dr. Unkel said that he would check into the feasibility of a bloodless transplant for a patient like Casey and would call her back. (RT 1335) Dr. Unkel returned Lori's call about two or three hours later and assured her that she could bring her son to the University of Texas transplant team in Houston for a bloodless transplant. (RT 643, 1336, 1550) Based on this information from Dr. Unkel, the Lunsfords immediately started making preparations to take Casey to Houston for the transplant. (RT 644, 1336, 1551) 

PAGE 11: Before meeting with Dr. Potter on Thursday, February 23rd, Lori had been in contact with Dr. Unkel of St. Luke's in Houston. (RT 596, 1335, 1337). Paralleling the family's testimony, Dr. Unkel remembered Lori calling to inquire about the possibility of doing a transplant without blood. (RT 596) Since Dr. Unkel was not a transplant surgeon, he said that he told Lori that he would speak with his superiors and would then call the family back. (RT 597, 1335) Dr. Unkel then spoke with Drs. O'Donnel and Peters, who in turn spoke to Dr. Dudrick, about the Lunsfords' request for a transplant without transfusions. (RT 597) Dr. Unkel explained that he called Lori back and told her that she could bring Casey to Houston to have the transplant done without blood. (RT 598) Dr. Charles Van Buren, the transplant surgeon associated with the Houston team, testified that he returned Lori's phone call to discuss the possibility of a bloodless transplant. (RT 1597, 1600, 1607; Appellants' Brief at 30-31) Dr. Van Buren maintained that no commitment on the blood issue was made or could be made because he would not let a child die without blood. (RT 1608) However, Lori said that she did not directly speak to Dr. Van Buren about the transplant. (RT 1589-90) In a May 1989 declaration that Lori signed, she maintained that a promise had been given by Dr. Van Buren's team at the Houston hospital that the transplant could be done without blood. (RT 1568-69)

PAGE 15: Dr. Unkel recalled that sometime prior to Casey's UCSF admission, Lori called to inform him that she was going to take Casey to UCSF. (RT 598-99) According to Dr. Unkel, Lori told him that the California transplant team had assured her that no blood would be used in the transplant. (RT 598-99).

PAGE 26: Dr. Unkel also recalled that Lori called him after Casey's surgery in an attempt to transfer Casey to Houston. (RT 599) Dr. Unkel explained that Lori told him that she wanted to transfer Casey because UCSF had lied to her and transfused Casey despite their assurances to the contrary. (RT 599)


IN THE MATTER OF WILLIAMS was a 2009 Wyoming Supreme Court decision in which Wyoming's Supreme Court ruled as did the Missouri Supreme Court in 2007 in its own WILCUT decision (summarized below), that is, unless the treating physician is willing to testify that it was a 100% guaranteed certainty that the injured JW Employee would have lived if the JW Wife would have consented to disallowed blood transfusions, then the WC Insurer must pay statutory WC Benefits to the JW Widow.

Capitol City Maintenance, Inc. apparently was a family-owned janitorial business located in Cheyenne, Wyoming. On February 9, 2006, the 67 year old father, Howard W. Williams, was riding to a job site in Laramie, Wyoming in an automobile driven by his wife Sharon Williams, when Sharon Williams lost control of the car and the automobile rolled several times. Both Williams were seriously injured, and both were subsequently transported by ambulance to United Medical Center in Cheyenne.

Howard W. Williams exhibited signs of internal injuries with massive internal bleeding. Sharon Williams' injuries were less severe than were Howard Williams' injuries, and she was alert and able to converse with medical personnel. Both Williams indicated that they were Jehovah's Witnesses and, as such, they did not want any blood products used in the treatment of Mr. Williams. However, when asked about the use of albumin and the use of a Cell Saver, which simply cleanses the individual's own blood, the Williams were ignorant of whether the WatchTower Society permits the use of such, so the Williams told hospital personnel not to use either procedure until they could first ask their son, Howard Williams. (Their son was President of Capitol City Maintenance, Inc.)

The Williams' Son eventually arrived at the hospital and consented to the Cell Saver procedure. Based on information garnered from CT Scans, Dr. Parnell decided that an emergency splenectomy was necessary. Dr. Parnell informed the Williams' son that "the decision not to allow any blood products, including whole blood, packed red blood cells, plasma, and/or platelets, cryoprecipitate, etc, may indeed make it very difficult to resuscitate and manage" his father. The Son indicated that he understood his father's dire situation, so the emergency surgery was performed without the use of any blood products.

Howard W. Williams' damaged spleen was split into two pieces, and Williams had lost five liters of blood. Dr. Parnell removed Williams' damaged spleen and re-transfused two liters of Williams' own blood back into him using the Cell Saver. After the surgery, Williams was taken to ICU, where his condition deteriorated even further. Despite aggressive fluid resuscitation efforts, Williams remained hypotensive, and his low blood pressure continued to drop from 65/34 into the 30s and 40s. Williams died at 6:36 p.m., after his heart stopped from lack of blood pressure.According to Dr. Parnell, Williams essentially bled to death.

Thereafter, Sharon Williams filed a claim for death benefits and funeral expenses with the Wyoming Workers' Safety and Compensation Division. In March 2006, WWSCD denied her claim for the reason that the "medical documentation submitted to the Division indicates the cause of death was due to the refusal of reasonable and necessary medical care." Wyoming law states, in part:

If an injured employee knowingly engages or persists in an unsanitary or injurious practice which tends to imperil or retard his recovery, or if he refuses to submit to medical or surgical treatment reasonably essential to promote his recovery, he forfeits all right to compensation under this act.

Williams objected to the denial and requested a Hearing. In December 2006, the Hearing Examiner ultimately determined that Sharon Williams was not entitled to benefits, agreeing with the WWSCD that Mr. Williams had forfeited all right to Worker's Compensation benefits by refusing to allow the use of foreign blood products to treat his splenic injury:

The Division has proved, by a preponderance of the evidence, that Mr. Williams "refused to submit to medical or surgical treatment reasonably essential to promote his recovery."The medical reports indicate that Mr. Williams was alert enough to converse with Dr. Parnell when he came into the emergency room. The reports are undisputed that Mr. Williams told Dr. Parnell that he did not want any blood products and that Dr. Parnell should wait until his son arrived before using the Cell Saver. ... Therefore, Mr. Williams clearly "refused to submit to medical or surgical treatment." Although Dr. Parnell never stated or noted that the use of blood products were reasonably essential to promote [Mr. Williams'] recovery, Dr. Parnell's deposition testimony and consultation report disclose the essential nature of blood products in treating Mr. William's [sic] injury. In her Consultation Report, Dr. Parnell reveals the importance of the use of blood products when she described her conversation with Williams' son: I spoke quite frankly that the decision not to allow any blood products including whole blood, packed red blood cells, plasma, and/or platelets, cryoprecipitate, etc, may indeed make it very difficult to resuscitate and manage the patient. ... In addition, Dr. Parnell stated in her deposition testimony, she would have used blood products if she had been permitted, the use of blood products would have benefited and assisted Mr. Williams and it would have increased Mr. Williams' likelihood for survival. Dr. Parnell put it quite succinctly when she stated, I agree with your statement that his odds of survival would have improved had I had all the arrows in my quiver. The importance of treating Mr. Williams' injury with blood products is also demonstrated by Dr. Brausch's Consultation Report which states, [w]e are all afraid that the patient is dying and we have used the resources we are allowed to use to their fullest extent.

Although this case falls more squarely within the second prong of Wyo. Stat. [Ann.] 27-14-407 ... a refusal to submit to reasonably essential medical or surgical treatment ... the facts also support a conclusion that Mr. Williams knowingly engaged in an injurious practice which tended to imperil or retard his recovery, the first prong of the statute. The Wyoming Supreme Court stated, [t]he unambiguous language of 27-14-407 requires that a showing be made that an employee has engaged in some action or activity which tends to impact his recovery. Mr. Williams' knowing refusal to allow blood products was an action which tended to impact his recovery. According to Dr. Parnell, that action decreased his chances for survival. A refusal or failure to take action may amount to an injurious practice. ...

Mr. Williams forfeited all right to compensation under the Worker's Compensation Act because his refusal to allow the use of blood products to treat his lacerated spleen was, (1) an injurious practice tending to impact his recovery, and (2) a refusal to submit to medical or surgical treatment reasonably essential to promote his recovery.

Thereafter, Sharon Williams sought review in Wyoming's court system. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., sought and obtained permission to participate in the court case as "amicus curiae", and endeavored to challenge the constitutionality of the statute as applied to Mr. Williams' refusal to accept blood products. In April 2009, the Wyoming Supreme Court ruled in favor of Sharon Williams, stating in part:

... By this statute, the legislature has established two forms of conduct by which a claimant forfeits compensation. First, compensation is forfeited if a claimant "engages or persists in an unsanitary or injurious practice which tends to imperil or retard his recovery." Second, compensation is forfeited if a claimant "refuses to submit to medical or surgical treatment reasonably essential to promote his recovery." In the instant case, the hearing examiner determined Mr. Williams had engaged in both forms of conduct by "his refusal to allow the use of blood products to treat his lacerated spleen."

In order to work a forfeiture of benefits for engaging or persisting in an unsanitary or injurious practice which tends to imperil or retard his recovery:

'... proof of more than a mere possibility is required . ... We caution that more is required than proof of a mere potential for harm or a possibility of harm; there must be proof that the worker's acts were not benign, but did, in some way, contribute to recovery problems. ...'

The proof in the instant case does not rise beyond a suggestion of the possibility of harm by the refusal to allow the use of foreign blood products. The critical evidence is Dr. Parnell's testimony. While she testified Mr. Williams would have had a better chance of survival with a transfusion of appropriate blood products, she never quantified his chance of survival in either event. Indeed, she repeatedly testified that she could not say whether Mr. Williams would have survived had blood products been transfused. For example, she testified Mr. Williams' injuries "could be fatal, despite our best efforts" and opined "whether or not he would have survived with or without blood products, I don't know that I can say." This testimony does not support a determination that Mr. Williams engaged in a practice that, in some way, contributed to his demise.

For the same evidentiary reasons, the hearing examiner's determination that Mr. Williams refused to submit to medical or surgical treatment reasonably essential to promote his recovery also fails. The evidence in the record portrays a situation where Mr. Williams was critically injured and did not arrive at the hospital for an extended period of time. He had already lost a great deal of blood by the time he reached the hospital. He ultimately died. Dr. Parnell could not say that "this entire process would have been reversible." Therefore, under the specific facts of this case, the acceptance of the transfusion of blood products cannot be deemed to be "reasonably essential" to Mr. Williams' survival.

One WSC Judge dissented, in part:

I respectfully dissent. The underlying facts are not in dispute, and there is not even a question as to whether the employee refused to submit to medical or surgical treatment. Of course he did. The only question is whether the treatment he refused was "reasonably essential to promote his recovery." While the treating physician understandably was not willing to say that the employee's refusal to accept blood products, and his delay of surgery until his son's arrival, were the difference between life and death, she said everything just short of that. In that regard, it must be remembered that the statutory test, established by the legislature as the test to be applied in these situations, is not whether the refused treatment would have saved the employee's life. Rather, the test is, as just stated, whether the refused treatment was "reasonably essential to promote his recovery."

I will not repeat at length the portions of Dr. Parnell's medical reports and testimony set forth in the majority opinion, but will note a few points that I believe clearly show that the refused treatment was just what the statute has in mind. Dr. Parnell's initial impressions included the observation that the employee "obviously" was suffering from "free intraabdominal bleeding." Dr. Parnell told the employee's son upon his eventual arrival that "the decision not to allow blood products, including whole blood, packed red blood cells, plasma, and/or platelets, cryoprecipitate, etc, may indeed make it very difficult to resuscitate and manage [the employee]." Because she was limited to the use of Cell Saver, Dr. Parnell was able to re-transfuse only two liters of the employee's blood, even though he had massive intraabdominal bleeding and had lost five liters of blood. It was Dr. Parnell's opinion that the employee essentially bled to death. ... ...


WILCUT v. INNOVATIVE WAREHOUSING was a 2007 Missouri Supreme Court decision. The plaintiff in this lawsuit was a Jehovah's Witness named Sharon Wilcut, who was the widow of Floyd Wilcut, who had been employed as a truck driver at Innovative Warehousing. In April 2000, Floyd Wilcut, age 53, of Farmington, Missouri, was injured in a single-vehicle-accident while driving his delivery truck. As a Jehovah's Witness, Floyd Wilcut refused to allow doctors to administer any blood transfusions that would have saved his life. That decision was affirmed by Sharon Wilcut. Floyd Wilcut died seven days after the accident from cardiac ischemia and severe anemia. The employer's worker's compensation carrier paid Wilcut's $68,785.24 hospital and medical expenses, $5,000.00 funeral expenses, and even paid paid temporary total disability benefits, totaling $35,956.28, to Sharon Wilcut for the 107 week period following her husband's death, which was the time period the insurance company estimated that Wilcut would have been off the job if he had consented to transfusions and recovered. After the insurance company stopped paying those benefits, Sharon Wilcut pursued death benefits and other compensation with Missouri's Industrial Commission. The specific details of the events are relevant to the issue whether the employer and its insurance company owed Sharon Wilcut even more compensation than she had already received.
The vehicle accident occurred on April 13, 2000. Floyd Wilcut was transported by AirEvac Emergency Helicopter to St. Francis Hospital in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Floyd Wilcut was alert, oriented, and responsive when he was admitted to the Hospital. Wilcut's vital signs were normal. Wilcut's blood pressure was 150/87, and his heart rate was 100. His hemaglobin was normal, as was his hematocrit. Wilcut underwent an EKG, which was essentially normal. Wilcut's status from a cardiac standpoint was normal considering that he had a history of heart disease, and that he had a heart bypass in 1996.
Floyd Wilcut's injuries included extensive facial and scalp lacerations, with a 40% scalp avulsion, a cervical spine fracture, and extensive abrasions over the right shoulder, arm, and bilateral hands. When Wilcut was admitted, he informed the hospital that he was a Jehovah's Witness, and that he would NOT consent to any blood transfusions, even if such meant that he would die. Sharon Wilcut, Brian Wilcut (son), Kevin Wilcut (son), and possibly other family members, as well as members of Wilcut's Jehovah's Witness congregation, all supported Floyd Wilcut's position, and made such known to anyone and everyone that would listen. Multiple doctors warned the Wilcuts that refusing blood transfusions could very well lead to death caused by anterolateral ischemia and ongoing anemia. Doctors decided to minimize blood draws and to use pediatric tubes to decrease blood loss. Iron therapy was also started.
Because of Wilcut's history of heart disease, blood loss, and refusal of a blood transfusion, the initial surgical attempt to perform a debridement of Wilcut's scalp avulsion injury, his left ear laceration, right nose laceration, eyelid lacerations, right lip laceration, etc. was limited. Doctors were also unable to completely clean Wilcut's multiple lacerations of mud, grass, and other foreign debris (he was ejected from the truck he wrecked), because of further blood loss. The next day, on April 14, 2000, doctors again attempted to surgically repair and cleanse Wilcut's wounds, but only after again asking Wilcut to consent to a needed blood transfusion, which was again refused by Floyd Wilcut, who was supported by Sharon Wilcut and other Wilcut family members.
On April 15, 2000, Wilcut had very severe anemia. An EKG showed ischemia (lack of adequate blood flow), and subendocardial injury (injury to the inner lining of the heart muscle). Wilcut's hematocrit had fallen to 15.4, and the hemaglobin was 5.4. At those levels, a patient, even with a normal heart, could develop spontaneous heart failure or myocardial ischemia. Doctors again informed Wilcut and his family that he required a transfusion to 30% hematocrit, to avoid a possible heart attack and death. Again, Floyd Wilcut refused any blood transfusions, even if such meant his death. Again, his decision was fully supported by Sharon Wilcut and other Wilcut family members.
As Floyd Wilcut's condition continued to deteriorate during that week, multiple doctors on numerous occasions continued to warn Wilcut and his family that he was going to die unless he permitted them to administer needed blood transfusions. Supported by members of the WatchTower Society's "Hospital Liaison Committee", who maintained watch over the goings on, the Wilcut family maintained their refusal.
On April 16, 2000, Floyd Wilcut's hematocrit was 14.9, and hemaglobin was 5.2.
On April 17, 2000, Floyd Wilcut had ongoing ischemia. His hematocrit was 14.3, and hemaglobin was 5.0.
On April 18, 2000, doctors noted progressive cardiomegaly, as well as ongoing ischemia. His hematocrit was 14.2, and hemaglobin was 4.8. The Wilcut family demanded the initiation of Epogen, a blood formation stimulant, which the doctors correctly believed would not help at this late stage.
On April 19, 2000, Wilcut's lungs were coarse, and required frequent suctioning. Wilcut's blood pressure had dropped to 70/30. Wilcut had ischemia changes on EKG, and ongoing anemia.
On April 20, 2000, Floyd Wilcut was pronounced dead at 8:49 a.m.
After the carrier stopped paying death benefits in 2002, Sharon Wilcut pursued additional compensation with Missouri's Industrial Commission. At the time of Wilcut's death, Missouri's worker's compensation law read, in part:
"No compensation shall be payable for the death or disability of an employee, if and insofar as the death or disability may be caused, continued or aggravated by any unreasonable refusal to submit to any medical or surgical treatment or operation, the risk of which is, in the opinion of the division or the commission, inconsiderable in view of the seriousness of the injury. If the employee dies as a result of an operation made necessary by the injury, the death shall be deemed to be caused by the injury."
In May 2005, an Adminstrative Law Judge ruled in Sharon Wilcut's favor. That ALJ decision is especially interesting. The ALJ noted that the basic issue was whether Floyd Wilcut's decision not to accept a blood transfusion constituted an "unreasonable refusal" of medical treatment that would relieve the employer of responsibility for death benefits, within the meaning of the pertinent Missouri law. It appears that this ALJ may have used the "reasonable Jehovah's Witness" standard (as opposed to the "reasonable person" standard), which has been rejected by some appellate courts for application in other areas of the law. The ALJ apparently decided that given Wilcut's religious beliefs that blood transfusions were prohibited by the Bible, and that consenting to such was a sin that could lead to loss of eternal life, then Wilcut's rejection of blood transfusions was not "unreasonable". ESPECIALLY INTERESTING is the ALJ's finding that the rejection of blood transfusions by injured Jehovah's Witness Employees is a legally "foreseeable" event, which can lead to that Employees death (as opposed to being an intervening or superseding event in the chain of causation of death), which should be anticipated by employers, their insurance companies, and others.

The Employer then appealed that 2005 ALJ decision to the Labor and Industrial Relation Commission. In June 2006, the Commission reversed the ALJ decision. The Commission noted that the uncontroverted evidence was that Floyd Wilcut, and his family, had consistently refused blood transfusions with the full knowledge that Wilcut would live if he accepted them, but that Wilcut would die if he refused them. The Commission flatly rejected the ALJ's use of the "reasonable Jehovah's Witness" standard, and also refused to adopt the reasoning that Wilcut's rejection of blood transfusions was "foreseeable", and not an intervening or superseding event in the chain of causation in Wilcut's death. Rather, the Commission was persuaded by the reasoning found in Martin v. Industrial Accident Commission, in which the California Court of Appeals ruled that an employee's religious beliefs was merely one factor that should be considered in the totality of factors determining whether rejecting a life-saving blood transfusion was "reasonable" or "unreasonable". The Commission found that Wilcut's physical risk from accepting a blood transfusion was minimal compared to the near certainty that he would survive his injuries if he accepted the transfusion. The Commission also found that Wilcut's spiritual risk of "eternal damnation" from accepting a blood transfusion was minimized by the fact that JWs believe that Jehovah will forgive sins, and that Wilcut could have eventually atoned for consenting to the transfusions. The Commission smartly concluded:

"Finally, contrary to dependent's assertions, this case is not about an individual's freedom to exercise his or her religion. This case is about who should bear the consequences resultant from the exercise of one's religion. Under the facts of this case, the employee's dependent must bear the consequences of employee's decision to strictly observe a tenet of his religion."

Sharon Wilcut then appealed the 2006 Commission decision. In June 2007, the Missouri Court of Appeals ruled in Sharon Wilcut's favor and reversed the Commission's decision, stating in part:

"Under this interpretation of [Missouri law], we analyze whether the Commission's decision was supported by competent and substantial evidence. Upon review, there was no question that Employee's beliefs were sincere. His family and church elders testified about his good standing with the Jehovah's Witnesses and his personal belief in this particular tenet of the faith. This is evidenced further by his willingness to die in the face of several medical professionals advocating a blood transfusion to recover from his injuries.

"We find that the Commission failed to adequately accommodate Employee's religious beliefs in its decision. While it did recite some of Employee's beliefs, these beliefs received no deference in the final decision. Instead, the Commission followed Martin and found that Employee's decision was a voluntary one and broke the causation between his accident and his death. The Commission's reliance on Martin, however, is misplaced at best. In addition to being a case from outside this jurisdiction, Martin was expressly overruled in Montgomery v. Board of Retirement, ... . The court in Montgomery found that the court's reasoning in Martin was not consistent with the United States Supreme Court's and California courts' interpretations of the constitutional right to freely exercise religion, and the court refused to follow Martin. ...

"The Commission's disregard for Employee's religious beliefs is evident in its short analysis of Employee's claim under [Missouri law]. The Commission stated that Employee did not refuse the transfusion in order to treat his injuries; it stated that he instead refused 'for the purpose of complying with a religious edict so he could remain free of sin.' Further, when addressing his claim that he was denied free exercise of his religion, the Commission stated that Employee had to bear the weight of strictly observing his religion. These statements demonstrate that the Commission believed that a religious reason, no matter how strongly held, would not be enough to justify compensation under [Missouri law]. In determining what was unreasonable, it relied not only on the question of whether an employee gravely injured in a work-related accident had refused treatment that likely would have benefited him, but also on its conclusion that Employee could have asked for atonement for his sins.

"We hold that the Commission's decision was not supported by competent and substantial evidence. The statutory scheme dictates that religious beliefs be liberally considered, and we find that Employee invoked his strong and sincerely held religious beliefs against a transfusion. This refusal was not unreasonable in light of his beliefs, and Dependent is owed death benefits from the date that the benefits were terminated."

However, the more intelligent dissenting Judge disagreed, stating in part:

"This case is not about the exercise of a religious belief - it is about money. The majority opinion confuses the manner of our review and imposes an amorphous standard that is not compelled by Constitution or statute and is not consistent with a court's duty to avoid an analysis of another's religious beliefs.
"Initially, the testimony is clear - a blood transfusion and Mr. Wilcut would have survived. This refusal was not a 'complication,' as the majority suggests. Simply, Mr. Wilcut and his family exercised their religious beliefs - the employer did not seek judicial intervention, nor did the State, to compel a transfusion. As such, there is no religious conundrum for this Court to tackle.... ...
"... To even engage in this discussion violates clear principles set out by the United States Supreme Court and the Missouri Supreme Court, in both free exercise cases and establishment cases - courts are to stay removed from denominational doctrine. Courts have an affirmative Constitutional duty to avoid predestination, transubstantiation, and blood transfusions. The Court engages in a Lewis Carroll exercise - under which if an Atheist or Methodist refused a blood transfusion, the Court would, I assume, find this 'unreasonable.'"

In November 2007, this case was heard by the Missouri Supreme Court. In December 2007, the Missouri Supreme Court sent the case back to the Court of Appeals, which apparently finalized its previous ruling in January 2008. Outcome is unknown, but it will be assumed that the Commission was directed to determine how much money was owed to the Wilcut family, and the Employer's insurance company probably has cut the check by now.

PASADA v. VIRGINIA POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE ET AL was a 2005 Virginia appellate court decision. In October 1987, a Jehovah's Witness, named Julio Emilio Pasada, was seriously injured while working at Virginia Tech Airport when his clothing was caught in a post hole digging machine while Pasada was helping to erect a fence around the Airport. Both of Julio E. Pasada's arms were severely mangled.
Upon arrival at the University of Virginia's Medical School Hospital, Julio Pasada informed doctors that he would not consent to blood transfusions based on his beliefs as a Jehovah's Witness. According to a separate newspaper article on "medical ethics", Pasada's father,a physician himself, who was not a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses, insisted on the administering of blood transfusions and attempts to save and/or attach his son's limbs. Pasada's father even obtained a court order to permit such.
However, when Pasada's doctor consulted with the Medical School's Bio-Ethicist about the situation, the Bio-Ethicist recommended that the doctor defy the court order, and Pasada's father's wishes, and comply with Julio Pasada's wishes, which is exactly what the doctor did. Both arms eventually had to be amputated at shoulder level. The hospital said that Pasada's left arm could probably have been saved if they had been permitted to administer a blood transfusion.
As part of the 1988 award of benefits, in which Posada received lifetime medical benefits and permanent total disability benefit payments, Posada also received payment for "24-hour attendant care" for the rest of his life, and VPI agreed to allow Posada to select his own caregiver(s). The rate of compensation for the 24-hour attendant caregiver was to be determined by the parties and the Commission. VPI paid Posada's chosen 24-hour caregiver(s) pursuant to the 1988 agreement for some 16 years. Initially, Posada's parents, siblings, and members of Posada's Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses provided attendant care. The various salaries are unknown, but in 1995, Posada's mother received $425.00 per week.
In a July 1993, a local newspaper published an article about Posada and his accident, in which Posada discussed that he was designing an airplane which he planned to build and fly to the Virgin Islands from Virginia. I'm not sure how or even if Posada was accomplishing such given that in this appellate opinion a footnote states:

"As a result of the severity of the amputation of his arms, claimant was unable to use prosthetic arm devices."

On March 1, 1997, Julio Pasada married Melanie Davis Posada, who had left her previous employment and obtained medical training to become a Certified Nursing Assistant, and she contemporaneously assumed responsibility for Posada's 24-hour attendant care. The Posadas' request for $910.00 salary per week to be paid to Melanie Posada was granted by the Commission. At some point after the marriage, the Posadas moved to Edenton, North Carolina to be closer to Melanie Posada's parents. In May 2003, the Posadas requested an increase in Melanie Posada's rate of compensation to $1,512.00 per week VPI's Adjuster agreed to the increase.
In May 2004, a different Adjuster stopped paying Melanie Posada after discovering that she was married to their claimant. That Adjuster also did not pay a $68.00 medical bill, and a $117.00 pharmacy bill for Posada's prescription for depression medication. On September 13, 2004, the Adjuster resumed payments to Melanie Posada, but reduced the payments to the prior rate of $910.00 per week.
In a November 2004 hearing before the Deputy Commissioner, the DC ordered VPI to not only backpay Melanie Posada, but he also increased her salary to $2761.92 per week. He also ordered the unpaid medical and prescription bills paid, plus ordered VPI to pay Posada's attorney $34,144.88.
In March 2005, the full Commission affirmed the DC's award with two modifications. The Commission decreased Melanie Posada's compensation to a mere $1680.00 per week, and reduced the amount of the attorney's fees assessed against VPI to a mere $30,000.00. In December 2005, on VPI's appeal, the Court of Appeals of Virginia affirmed the March 2005 award of the Commission.

DIAZ v. WEILL MEDICAL COLLEGE OF CORNELL UNIVERSITY was a 2004 federal case filed in New York by a Jehovah's Witness named Migdalia Diaz. Diaz brought this Title VII action against her former employer, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, alleging that she was (1) discriminated against due to her religion (Jehovah's Witness) and national origin (Puerto Rican), and (2) fired in retaliation for filing a New York State Division of Human Rights complaint.

Diaz was hired by the medical school as a secretary in 1988, and Diaz continued to work as a secretary in a number of different departments until she was fired in January 2002. The employment relationship appears to have gone well until November 1998, but went downhill thereafter. According to Diaz, her co-workers knew she was a Jehovah's Witness. Diaz used vacation time to attend Jehovah's Witness's conventions each summer and "sometimes" told her supervisors the reason for her vacation request. Around the Easter and Passover holidays, Diaz would explain that Jehovah's Witnesses did not celebrate such, but instead celebrated the "Memorial of Jesus Christ's death". When Diaz's co-workers held birthday or Christmas parties, Diaz did not participate and informed her co-workers that she did not because those celebrations are "pagan" and "offensive to Jehovah."

In November 1998, Diaz needed surgery. While discussing the impending surgery with her supervisor, Diaz mentioned that she had signed paperwork refusing any blood transfusions. The supervisor made a remark to the effect that refusing blood transfusions lead to the death of Jehovah's Witnesses. Diaz told her supervisor that she did not appreciate her "mocking" remark. (Of course, Diaz's telling her co-workers that their birthday's and holiday's celebrations were "pagan" and "offensive to God" were "witnessing" - not "mocking".) A custodian also questioned Diaz about her refusal to take a blood transfusion, and Diaz told the custodian about all the problems blood transfusions might cause. The custodian relayed such to Diaz's supervisor and the department chairman (a physician and professor) in the medical school, who refuted Diaz's claims, which was relayed back to Diaz. After Diaz returned to work in January 1999, she started to have problems with the department chairman, who probably was himself offended that a secretary in his department was presenting herself to co-workers as more knowledgeable about medical matters than the professionals for whom she performed clerical duties. Thereafter, Diaz started to take offense on multiple occasions. Diaz was offended when she was required to set up before and clean up after birthday and holidays parties. Diaz was offended when she was complimented on her coffee. Diaz stated that requiring her to clean and make coffee was treating her as an "immigrant house servant". Despite such, Diaz was given positive reviews until July 2001, when her job performance had deteriorated to the point that multiple issues could no longer be overlooked. Diaz's alleged "attitude" was causing repeated problems with both co-workers and supervisors; including yelling at her supervisor, and refusing to perform errands and other tasks.

In mid 2001, Diaz hired an attorney, and initiated complaints of discrimination with Weill. In July 2001, Diaz filed a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights, alleging employment discrimination on the basis of age, race, and religion origin. DHR dismissed Diaz's complaint in April 2002. The day that Weill terminated Diaz's employment, January 15, 2002, Diaz filed a second DHR complaint, this time alleging retaliation for her July 2001 DHR complaint. DHR dismissed that second complaint in June 2002. Diaz filed this federal lawsuit in September 2002. In February 2004, the USDC summarily dismissed Diaz's lawsuit.


KLASSY v. PHYSICIANS PLUS INSURANCE CO. is a 2004 federal lawsuit filed by Jehovah's Witnesses Jim and Barbra Klassy against Physicians Plus Insurance Co., which provided managed care services to their HMO. Physicians Plus authorized the performance of a surgical revision of the wife's former hip replacement by a plan physician, but no plan physician was willing to perform a "bloodless surgery". The Klassyes wanted this special procedure due to their Watchtower beliefs, which prohibits blood transfusions. A blood transfusion would be necessary under the regular procedure only if something abnormal happened during surgery. Physicians Plus refused to authorize payment to an more expensive out-of-network physician simply to avoid a "possibility". The Klassyes traveled from their home in Wisconsin to Arkansas in order to have the "bloodless surgery" performed.

The Klassyes brought suit against Physicians Plus in state court asserting six state law claims, including the tort of bad faith insurance claim denial, medical malpractice, breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, estoppel, and negligence. The Klassyes also alleged a violation of Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. Physicians Plus had the case removed to federal district court, which ruled the state law claims were completely preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), and were properly subject to dismissal. Physicians Plus's decision not to pay for an out-of-network bloodless hip surgery was held to be a pure eligibility decision that had to be challenged under ERISA, or not at all. Physicians Plus's decision in no way involved issues of proper treatment. The district court held that the decision whether an insurance plan covers an operation performed in such a fashion as to accommodate a patient's interpretation of the Bible does not involve assessing the patient's symptoms and their proper treatment. The Klassyes were granted leave by the district court to amend their complaint to allege a violation of ERISA, but in such a case, the proper defendants was not Physicians Plus, but the HMO. Finally, the district court dismissed the Klassy's federal law claim for religious discrimination under Title VII, because Physicians Plus was not the Klassy's employer within the meaning of the statute. Although the district court then gave the Klassy's the opportunity to amend their complaint to state a claim under ERISA, they instead appealed the district court's decision. On appeal, the Klassyes challenged only the district court's holding that the wife's medical malpractice claim against Physicians Plus was completely preempted by ERISA. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that because the sole issue was one of eligibility, the state claims were preempted by ERISA. To the extent that Physicians Plus improperly denied coverage of the bloodless hip surgery, the Klassyes could have sought reimbursement in an ERISA action, but because they instead opted to pursue a state law claim that was preempted by ERISA, the district court properly dismissed their complaint.

IN RE MATTER OF EDEL CARVAJAL, JR. was a 2000 Florida trial court decision. Edel Carvajal, Jr., a 23-year-old Jehovah's Witness, was injured in a construction accident in which he fell from an expressway ramp. After being airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital, it was determined that he would need one or more blood transfusions. Carajal, Jr. verbally rejected the required blood transfusions, and his newlywed JW wife supported his decision. However, Edel Carvajal, Sr., who was NOT a Jehovah's Witness, proceeded to obtain an emergency court order appointing himself temporary guardian, with authority to authorize blood transfusions for his son. Nine pints of blood were administered while Carvajal Jr. was comatose.
Edel Carvajal Sr., a Roman Catholic, said he didn't know much about his son's presumably new religion, but that he had never heard his son say that he would refuse blood transfusions if such were needed to save his life. Distraught over his presumably new daughter-in-law's decision to refuse his son a blood transfusion, Carvajal Sr. sought help to override her decision. Coral Gables attorney, Jose R. Iglesia, filed a petition for emergency medical treatment on his behalf on Sept. 14 in Miami-Dade County court. The petition was granted by Circuit Court Judge Ronald Dresnick.
It is unclear whether Carvajal Sr.'s daughter-in-law was notified of the legal proceedings. The Judge also may not have been told of Carvajal Jr.'s wife's refusal to consent to the blood transfusions. The Judge reportedly was told that Edel Carvajal, Jr. had verbally refused blood transfusions before becoming comatose, but Edel Carvajal, Sr. pointed out to the court that Jr. had been given morphine at that point. Carvajal Sr.told the court to "give him enough blood to bring him back [to consciousness], then you ask if he wants blood. If he doesn't, it's his own choosing.'' The court reversed its ruling after Jr. regained consciousness and again refused to consent. It is unclear whether he was aware that he had already been given blood while he was comatose.

Normally, the WatchTower Society pushes its Jehovah's Witness members, who have been infused against their wishes, to pursue all legal recourse, but this case was receiving so much publicity which was favorable to the non-JW father who saved his son's life, that the case was quietly dropped. How would it look for a son to sue his own father for saving his life? How would it look for a Catholic father to do for his JW son what a JW would not do for his own JW son?
In June 1996, a Jehovah's Witness named Tiofilo Contreras lost part of one leg in a unspecified dump truck accident. He also lost more than half his blood volume, which he refused to allow be replaced by blood transfusions. Due to his low blood count, and need for additional oxygen, the University of Texas Medical Center at Galveston was forced to provide hyperbaric chamber treatments of 95 minutes in length six times per day for an unspecified number of days, tapering down to two times per day -- thousands of dollars in additional expense.
In September 1993, a 43 year-old Jehovah's Witness, named James Jones, was injured at a Defiance, Ohio GM plant, and later died at Defiance County Hospital, after suffering internal injuries caused when he was trapped between a piece of moving machinery and a stationary beam. Although the details are sketchy, the JW Employee refused blood transfusions on arrival at the hospital. He no doubt suffered excessive blood loss from internal bleeding, but it is unknown if transfusions would have saved his life.


In August 1992, a forty-seven year old Jehovah's Witness named John Richard Alson died in the Emergency Room of San Joaquin General Hospital due to Alson's and his wife's refusal to allow doctors to administer a blood transfusion. Alson was a city employee of Manteca, California. He was a mechanic for the city of Manteca and had been repairing a garbage truck when his leg became trapped between the cab and the compactor. The severe loss of blood was due to the main artery in his left leg being severed during an on-the-job accident.

In April 1993, the Alson's wife filed a wrongful death lawsuit alleging that the surgeons at the hospital failed to take adequate measures to prevent excessive bleeding during the surgery given their knowledge that a blood transfusion could not be administered. Outcome unknown.


In March 1991, a Jehovah's Witness named Thomas Poole died after falling 50 feet from the rafters of the Broward Performing Arts Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The construction worker suffered multiple bone fractures and internal injuries. Doctors at Broward General Medical Center operated on Poole's bone fractures for about two hours, but they did no further surgery after Poole and his wife, Janet Poole, refused to consent for blood transfusions to be administered as needed to save his life. The hospital petitioned a local court for authorization to administer transfusions, but the local judge denied the request. Even the fact that Poole's death would mean someone else would have to rear his two children meant nothing to the judge.
The Medical Examiner who performed the autopsy said the decision to not consent to blood transfusions contributed to his death: "There was an awful lot of internal bleeding in the abdomen. He would have needed surgery, and would have needed blood for that surgery." Janet Poole fully supported her husband's decision, stating, "We've been Jehovah's Witnesses for 13 years, and I agree with my husband completely." The Poole's decision left open many questions as to what was the actual cause of Poole's death, and how much worker's compensation insurance was due Janet Poole and her two children.
In March 1990, a Jehovah's Witness named Richard Werness died rather than accept a blood transfusion after he was stabbed in the back during the robbery of the convenience store in which he was clerking in San Jose, California. Werness's JW family boasted to reporters how he had struggled to remain conscience during the ambulance ride to the hospital so that he could inform doctors at the emergency room that he would not accept any blood transfusions. Doctors performed surgery as best as they could, but Werness had lost 80% of his blood. After nearly four days of life-support, Werness's family decided to allow doctors to pull the plug on the IV mixture of drugs that was keeping his heart beating.
In September 1988, an unidentified Jehovah's Witness Employee of Paragon Industrial Services Inc, of Cannelton, Indiana, was working on scaffolding during the erection of a steel frame building, when that scaffolding tipped over. JW Employee fell and suffered multiple fractures of arms, legs, and pelvis, plus internal bleeding. JW Employee initially was treated at local Perry County Memorial Hospital, but after refusing to consent to needed blood transfusions was air-flighted to Humana in Lousiville, where he died the following day.
In August 1988, Juan Ortega, a 38-year-old father of four, died at North Broward Medical Center, due to excessive blood loss. Ortega was injured while working at a Publix grocery distribution center in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Ortega, a forklift operator, had his lower right leg severely mangled when it got caught in a conveyor belt, while he was feeding pallets into a pallet-loading machine. Ortega and his wife, Tila Ortega, refused to allow doctors to administer blood transfusions needed in the attempt to save Juan Ortega's life. Tila Ortega said the hospital blames her and her religion for the death. Tila Ortega said she knows in her heart that she did the right thing when she refused doctors permission to give her husband a blood transfusion. As Jehovah's Witnesses, she said, "no" was the only possible answer the Ortegas could give.
In December 1984, a Jehovah's Witness, named Joseph Brown, 49, of Gary, Indiana, was shot during the armed robbery of the convenience store which he managed in Gary. Brown refused to consent to needed blood transfusions, and died 17 days later. (Brown was reported to have been "an" owner of the store. Even if reported accurately, business owners were probably covered by Indiana Work Comp law in 1984.)
WRIGHT v. UNITED STATES was a 1983 Michigan federal United States Court of Appeals decision. Limited details only. Sharon Lee Wright was employed as a secretary in the Psychiatry Department at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Allen Park, Michigan. On September 8, 1975, while performing her secretarial duties, Wright began experiencing severe abdominal pain. A fellow employee transported her by wheelchair to the hospital's emergency room. Wright was not eligible for treatment at Allen Park Veterans Administration Hospital. Nonetheless, the hospital staff undertook to treat her. Wright, a Jehovah Witness, was conscious and alert. She refused to accept blood transfusions.
Wright's parents arrived at the hospital soon after being notified of Wright's emergency. No husband was mentioned in available details. Wright's age also unknown. Wright's condition had worsened. She was still conscious, but unable to communicate effectively. Wright's parents maintain that they requested that their daughter be transferred to a hospital which was better equipped to treat a young female with pregnancy complications. The VA medical staff, allegedly, rejected this request. Wright's parents confirmed that Wright's religious beliefs prevented her from receiving blood transfusions. Although uncertain, the hospital probably had asked Wright's parents to consent to blood transfusions due to Wright's apparent incompetency, and they had also refused to consent.
Hospital personnel, nevertheless, elected to perform an exploratory laparotomy. A ruptured tubal pregnancy with massive intra-abdominal hemorrhage was discovered. When complications developed, Wright was placed on a respirator. The next morning, Wright agreed to submit to a blood transfusion. Several days later Wright was discharged from the hospital.
Two years later, just days short of what was probably a statute of limitations, Wright filed a malpractice claim with the Veterans Administration under the Federal Tort Claims Act. Wright's claim alleged that a respirator had been improperly applied and operated, causing damage to her trachea, vocal cords and pharynx. Other injuries to her abdomen, etc. were also alleged. It is not known if or how the blood transfusion issue related to any of Wright's alleged injuries.
The federal district court dismissed Wright's suit holding that the Federal Employees Compensation Act was Wright's exclusive remedy due to Wright's status as an employee of the defendant. The Court of Appeals reversed based on the dual capacity of employer. While Wright was injured at the workplace, her injury, a ruptured tubal pregnancy, was not work-related. Furthermore, the alleged malpractice resulted in an alleged injury wholly separate and distinct from the injury for which Wright was being treated. Thus, a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act was Wright's exclusive remedy. Outcome unknown.


In October 1980, a Jehovah's Witness named Steve Czirok Sr., 56, of Akron, Ohio, was seriously injured while on the job at Core System Inc. Czirok's left foot became entangled in a conveyor system, and was practically severed from Czirok's left leg. Upon arrival at Akron General Medical Center, Czirok announced that he was a Jehovah's Witness and would not consent to needed blood transfusion, even though he had lost nearly three pints of blood. Doctors went ahead in what eventually amounted to an eight hours long surgery attempting to re-attach the foot. At some point, the surgery was stopped while a telephone call was made to family members in an attempt to get them to consent to a needed transfusion.

Steve Czirok Jr. and other JW family members refused to consent, so the hospital continued to do the best they could. The foot was re-attached, but it was unknown whether part or all would eventually have to be amputated due to the severe loss of blood. Steve Czirok Sr. survived the work accident, but outcome of the re-attached foot and or leg is unknown.


In June 1977, a Jehovah's Witness Construction Worker, named Melvin Victor Sousa, 24, of Modesto, California, died two days after falling approximately 30-35 feet, while he and a co-worker were installing trusses during the construction of a movie theater. The initial newspaper report disclosed that a doctor had predicted the day of the accident that Sousa would die from excessive blood loss, because the unconscious Sousa was a JW, and his JW family refused to consent to the needed blood transfusions. Interestingly, the Coroner's autopsy report officially stated that Sousa died from "head injuries" received in the fall. Although it was the coroner's office who initially tipped off the newspaper to the transfusion issue, no mention of such was in its' own final report.

More interestingly, Sousa's 40 year-old co-worker -- 16 years older than Melvin Sousa -- who fell from essentially the same spot, and who also received serious head injuries, was reported to be in "good condition" at the time of Sousa's death. Sousa left behind a wife, Angelica Sousa, a 6 weeks-old daughter, Olivia Rae Sousa, and parents, Mr/Mrs Louie Sousa.


On July 5, 1976, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, a Jehovah's Witness named Janice E. Goodwin, 22, was riding on a parade float as an employee representative of the Bank of Stratford, when she fell through a hole in the float and was run over by one of the wheels. Bridgeport Hospital sought and obtained a court order to be allowed to administer any transfusions that might become necessary in the surgery needed to repair her fractured pelvis and lacerated urethra. Supposedly, no transfusions were needed.

DU PUY v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR was a 1975 United States Court of Appeals decision. This federal court case involved a Jehovah's Witness Employee named Oscar Allen. Oscar Allen was severely injured on November 6, 1972, while employed by S.H. Du Puy Company as a grain trimmer at the Jones Island Docks in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Allen refused blood transfusions for religious reasons, and died on November 11.
Allen's widow (and possibly children) filed a claim for death benefits. Liberty Mutual, the worker's compensation insurance carrier for Du Puy, contested the claim, since Oscar Allen had refused to accept reasonable "medical treatment." The claim started working its way through the complex federal system, but in October 1973, Liberty Mutual and Allen reached a settlement agreement, which was approved by an Administrative Law Judge, who entered an order based on this agreement, which provided for a lump sum payment.
This decision, and maybe others, was a muscle flexing contest between the employer, Liberty Mutual, the Department of Labor, the ALJ, and probably other government offices over who had the authority to do "whatever".
In 1973, a series of newspaper articles were published about the plight of a Pocatello, Idaho Jehovah's Witness named Ann Gittons, who was refusing to consent to needed surgery and/or other medical procedures, because her doctor would not guarantee that he would not administer a blood transfusion if such became necessary. In fact, between July and October 1973, Gittons had changed doctors three times. Between July and October, she had been through many, many medical tests, some of which were likely only necessary because of Gitton's WatchTower beliefs. Even more tests were scheduled for November.
One of those articles, which was essentially a WatchTower puff piece, in which various members of Gitton's JW family, the local JW Overseer, and the JW Circuit Overseer, all took turns lambasting blood transfusions, and preaching the WatchTower interpretation, finally briefly and vaguely mentioned that Gitton's head injury occurred AT WORK. Now we know who was footing the bill for all the additional expenses that would never been incurred but-for the fact that Gibbons was a JW.

BARNES v. RICHARDSON was a 1970 Oregon federal case involving a Jehovah's Witness named David Barnes. Barnes was a USPS employee who sustained a ruptured spinal disc and was unable to continue working. He began receiving Social Security benefits, but was told that a laminectomy offered an 80 to 90 percent change of recovery. Barnes refused to undergo the surgery, because a blood transfusion might be needed during surgery. When Barnes benefits were terminated, Barnes sued claiming that his religious rights were being violated.

Interestingly, Barnes argument was rejected based on the fact that when he first rejected surgery, he was not an "active" Jehovah's Witness. His association with the Jehovah's Witnesses had been an on-again off-again relationship, so the district court felt that his fear of surgery and doctors was generalized and unjustified. This is a good example of how a court may not tread into the arena of interpreting beliefs, but a court is permitted to judge if an adherent is "sincere" in their belief.

IN RE JOHNSON was a 1965 Texas court decision. In October 1965, a Houston, Texas, area Jehovah's Witness, named Thomas Johnson, was seriously injured in an unspecified job-related accident. Not only did Johnson's wife refuse to consent to needed blood transfusions, but the court order authorizing such, obtained by the Hospital, also prohibited the wife from interfering with the administration of the transfusions.
INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION OF COLORADO v. VIGIL was a 1962 Colorado Supreme Court decision. In 1956, a Jehovah's Witness named Archie Vigil was seriously injured while working for and employed by Royal Gorge Packing Company. Under Colorado's worker's compensation laws, Vigil received temporary total disability benefits through June 1957. Vigil was awarded a partial lump sum settlement for 10% permanent partial disability.
In October 1957, Vigil petitioned the Commission to reopen his claim, and to modify his disability status from "10% permanent partial disability" to "100% permanent total disability". Medical evidence did indicate that Vigil's health had in fact deteriorated, but that such could be remedied by surgery. Such surgery would not completely healed Vigil. He would remain 10% permanent partial disabled, as was his current status.
However, Vigil refused to submit to the recommended surgery, because of the probability that a blood transfusion would be required during the surgery. Blood transfusions violated Vigil's WatchTower beliefs, which prohibited the acceptance of blood transfusions.
The Commission ruled that Vigil had no reasonable excuse to refuse surgery and that successful surgery would reduce his disability to the current status, so Vigil's petition for permanent total disability benefits were denied. Vigil appealed, but the Colorado Supreme Court affirmed the Commission's ruling stating that Vigil had the right to believe whatever he pleases, but that under Colorado's workers compensation laws Vigil's religious beliefs could not impose greater liability on his employer than the liability that employer would have absent such beliefs. As in MARTIN below, employers should not count on such a ruling today.


IN THE MATTER OF SAMUEL DAVID HOGAN was a 1960 Georgia court decision. Samuel D. Hogan, then age 35, a Jehovah's Witness, a hemophiliac, and a carpenter, was injured in an Atlanta construction accident. Neither Samuel Hogan nor his JW wife would consent to blood transfusions required to save his life. Mrs. Hogan made it clear to reporters that WatchTower rules would not permit either she or her husband to grant "consent", but that if a Judge were to order a transfusion for her husband, then such would be his decision, and then only the judge would be responsible to God for the "sin", not the Hogans. Thankfully, Mrs. Hogan's father, who was NOT a JW, hired an attorney to petition a local Judge to declare her husband "mentally incompetent" due to his injuries, and to appoint the father-in-law Hogan's guardian. In no time flat, Hogan received the transfusion that he needed, and WatchTower requirements had been met, and everyone was happy.

In June 1958, 19 year-old Phillip Peace was involved in a terrible accident at a WatchTower Society owned property. Phillip had grew in in Cincinnati, Ohio, and was the son of a Jehovah's Witness couple, named Mr/Mrs William Peace. Evidently, Phillip had applied to do volunteer work for the WatchTower Society as soon as he had turned 19. Phillip was accepted, and he was assigned to work on one of the WatchTower-owned farms in New Jersey.

One summer day as he was forking hay into a baling machine, Peace somehow fell into the machine feet first. Both legs were crushed past his knees, and most of the flesh was stripped away from his bones. It took two co-workers and a passing highway patrol officer nearly an hour just to extricate Peace from the hay baler. The blood loss must have been massive, and Peace was fortunate to even make it to Hunterdon County Medical Center, where emergency surgery was performed. Does anyone believe that given this scenario that Peace was not given multiple blood transfusions on arrival and during the surgery?

The report simply indicates that after Peace regained consciousness that he refused to consent to a blood transfusion. The hospital then contacted his parents in Cincinnati, and they too refused to give their consent. There is little doubt in my mind that he would not have survived long enough to have had the chance to refuse a transfusion but-for the fact that he had already received multiple.

Five weeks later, just before the opening of the 1958 WatchTower Convention, a news conference was arranged at the hospital, which featured Phillip, his parents, and his 7 year-old brother, Alan Peace. Phillip's left leg had been amputated, and his right leg was "in a cast", with nothing else reported as to its' condition. The AP headline was, "WITNESS REFUSED BLOOD AND IS NOW RECOVERED". While much was made of Peace's refusal after he regained consciousness, and his "quick recovery" sufficient to attend both the Convention and his Bethelite brother's upcoming wedding, this AP article, as was true of previous articles, did not state that no blood transfusions were ever administered to Peace.


In June 1963, 19 year-old Keith T. Campbell drowned at apparently the same WatchTower Society Farm in New Jersey. Keith Campbell had been assigned to the farm for only three weeks before he drowned. Campbell's Jehovah's Witness Parents, J. Tyler and Loleta Buck Campbell, of Canandaigua, New York, told local reporters that they received the notice of their son's death from WatchTower HQ without any specific explanation of how the drowning had occurred, plus, in accordance with WatchTower HQ rules, the funeral and internment were conducted in NYC. Keith Campbell had been a Bethelite only since September 1962. Keith Campbell was survived by brothers Bruce Campbell and Richard H. Campbell.


MARTIN v. INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT COMMISSION, ET AL was a 1956 California lawsuit filed by the widow and children of Charles Martin, a Jehovah's Witness who sustained serious injuries, including a ruptured spleen, when the scaffold upon which he was working suddenly collapsed. At the hospital, Martin and his wife were advised that an operation would be necessary and that a transfusion of whole blood was necessary and should be administered. Martin and his wife advised the hospital authorities and the attending physician that a transfusion of blood was against their religious beliefs and that if it was a question of permitting a blood transfusion or dying, Martin would choose death. Martin and his wife signed the following statement prior to surgery: "I, Charles Martin, refuse to have a transfusion of blood, even tho it may mean the loss of my life, because of my religious beliefs." Surgery was performed using blood plasma and other substitutes for whole blood. The spleen was removed, but Martin went into acute shock. The attending physician ordered a blood transfusion, but the hospital refused based upon the signed statement. Mr. Martin died shortly thereafter.

The Industrial Accident Commission denied Worker's Compensation benefits. The applicable statute at that time said no compensation was due to an employee whose death or disability is caused by "unreasonable refusal to submit to medical treatment, or to any surgical treatment, if the risk of the treatment is, in the opinion of the commission, based upon expert medical or surgical advice inconsiderable in view of the seriousness of the injury." The court agreed, and Mrs. Martin and children received no benefits. Its my guess that that statute has since been revised.


In June 1952, a Chicago firefighter named Charles Trocke, 34, was injured along with nine other firefighters while working a warehouse fire. A brick wall collapsed on them, and Trocke's spine was crushed. Trocke died the next day at St. Elizabeth's Hospital after Elizabeth Trocke, his Jehovah's Witness Wife, refused to permit doctors to administer the blood transfusions needed to save his life.
On April 4, 1952, Fred Newhouse, age 24, a Jehovah's Witness in San Antonio, Texas, was seriously injured in an vehicle accident between a school bus and the milk truck that he was driving. Newhouse needed surgery to repair a bleeding kidney, but he refused to consent to blood transfusions possibly needed during the surgery, and to replace blood lost during the accident. Despite having two young children, Newhouse's wife, Irene Newhouse, fully supported her husband's decision. Apparently, Irene Newhouse had been reared as a Jehovah's Witness, but Fred had been reared as a Methodist. Fred Newhouse, who had dropped out of high school as soon as he reached age 16, only converted to the JWs when he married Irene.
A battle played out in the media between Irene Newhouse, and Fred's mother, Frieda Newhouse, who was a Practical Nurse. Fred's mother did everything that she could possibly think of to convince Fred to change his mind. Frieda offered to donate her own blood for the transfusion. She made a request to the Air Force to grant furlough to Fred's favorite brother, so that he could come talk with Fred.
On April 25, the Texas Industrial Accident Board suspended worker's compensation payments under the law's provision that payments could be suspended if a covered employee refused necessary medical/surgical care. Seven weeks after the accident, Newhouse went home after it was determined that kidney surgery would not be needed. This susposed "victory" over transfusions was trumpeted far and wide by the JWs, without any mention that Newhouse took months to recuperate, and his medical expenses were probably double what they would have otherwise been even if he had had surgery. It is unknown if the TIAB reversed course and picked up Newhouse's bills after the suspension.


The following Canadian lawsuit is included since Canada's discrimination laws are the same/similar as those in the U.S. In 1973, Wilson, a registered nurse, started working at the Peterborough Civic hospital. From 1976 to 1981, she worked in ICU, where one of her duties was hanging blood for blood transfusions. In 1977, Wilson converted to the Jehovah's Witnesses. By 1980, she had come to the conclusion that hanging blood was an "unclean act" that was strictly prohibited by God. From 1980 to the middle of 1981, she refused to hang blood, and always asked other nurses to fulfill this duty for her. However, two of her colleagues eventually refused to accommodate her, and although she was eventually able to find a nurse willing to do this task, she was obliged to disclose the incident to her supervisor. When Wilson stated that she would continue to refuse to hang blood, the hospital fired her. An arbitrator ruled that the hospital had discriminated against Wilson, and that it had failed in its duty to "accommodate" her religious beliefs. To accommodate Wilson, the hospital should have placed her in a ward other than the emergency and intensive care units, and provided her with documentation alerting her co-workers that she has been relieved of the duty to hang blood. Since the hospital did nothing to accommodate Mrs. Wilson, its requirement that all nurses hang blood is not a bona fide occupational requirement, and the discrimination against Mrs. Wilson is illegal under Canadian Human Rights Law.

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Wifely Subjection: Mental Health Issues in Jehovah's Witness Women

Jehovah's Witnesses and the Problem of Mental Illness

The Theocratic War Doctrine: Why Jehovah's Witnesses Lie In Court


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