Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts

Chairperson (Advisor 1)

Dr. Richard Brynteson

Reader (Advisor 2)

Dr. Charles Nuckles


Autologous blood has been regarded as a standard of care by many physicians, the increased safety of allogeneic blood and the expense of autologous blood have raised questions about the role of autologous donations. However, receiving any transfusion poses a risk to the patient. Due to the increased awareness of transfusion-transmitted viruses, many patients are unwilling to receive allogeneic transfusions. Large numbers of patients are treated without blood products. Many institutions have created "bloodless" surgery centers. Some of this is the result of the efforts of the Jehovah's Witness population. Members of the Jehovah's Witness faith believe that they are prohibited from receiving blood transfusions, based on their interpretation of the Bible. Their refusal to accept blood can be an ethical challenge to physicians. The Jehovah's Witness adult patient has a right to refuse blood transfusions and the health care professional has an obligation to carry out the patient's request.

This paper will give the background of blood transfusions, review autologous and allogeneic blood transfusions, consider the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses about blood transfusions and investigate the options for bloodless surgery.


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