St. Barnabas successfully fights for blood transfusion for patient

The News Leader

June 2, 2010 1:31:09 PM PDT
When medical patients cannot speak for themselves, family members must make difficult decisions. Sometimes, medical officials disagree with the decision family members make and seek intervention from the courts.

About a week ago, doctors told Ossielee Leslie that her daughter, Jean, had internal bleeding and would die without a blood transfusion and an endoscopy to find the source.

Leslie said, "They [the doctors] said she has that her blood is running slow. Something like that. And they said in a few days she would be dying."

However, Jean's mother and sister stood in the way of medical treatment, saying that a blood transfusion is against their religion.

Leslie said, "I didn't want them to do the blood transfusion; especially I said I didn't want anybody else's blood."

Explaining her faith, Leslie said "I'm not in the so called world of the Jehovah's Witness, but I am a witness a real witness for the Lord. I believe in the world of God."

Leslie also said that the family refused consent because they believe God alone and prayer will save Jean.

She further explained, "It was religious reasons. We don't believe in blood transfusions because the bible says live by faith. It says whosoever is not of faith is a sin."

Jean had a stoke several years ago and has been at Saint Barnabas Nursing Home in East Tremont for the last two years. She can't speak and court documents show she doesn't have the "capacity to make a reasoned decision."

Because doctors did not agree with the family decision, they pulled Leslie's family into court, ordering an emergency hearing on Friday. This is the first time the hospital has had to take such steps in at least eight years.

"I don't think they should go over a person especially the word of God. When a person believes in God they should recognize that. I feel they took advantage of me," said Leslie, about the hospitals actions.

Tuesday, a judge sided with doctors and allowed them to do the procedure without the consent of next-of-kin.

A hospital spokesperson said Jean Leslie has since had the blood transfusion.