About the author: André Carbonneau is a Canadian attorney specializing in the field of human rights. He has acted as legal counsel for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Canada and in Eastern Europe and currently has several cases before the European Court of Human Rights. He has represented several clients on the question of medical decision-making and has often acted as a mediator between patients and doctors. He received his LLM specializing in bioethics from McGill University.2003 0-7734-6542-1
This book explores the sensitive area of medical decision-making in cases where a patient refuses recommended medical treatment for religious or moral reasons. The case in point is the refusal of blood transfusion therapy by Jehovah’s Witnesses. The theological and historical basis is examined in depth. The history of blood use in medicine is also analyzed, including the role of bloodletting as the ‘queen of remedies’ for centuries and eventually the emergence of the reverse practice, blood transfusion. Against this backdrop of theological, historical, and medical information, the study examines the ethical and legal issues raised by the stand of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The principle of ‘autonomy’ and its development into a legal concept, as well as its introduction into medical ethics leading to the development of the doctrine of ‘informed consent’ into both a legal rule as well as an ethical duty imposed on health care professionals are considered.