More doctors honor religious objections to blood transfusions -

More doctors honor religious objections to blood transfusions

By Manya A. Brachear, Chicago Tribune reporter

October 9, 2012
As a Jehovah's Witness, Tracy Pickett always has enjoyed knocking on doors and introducing strangers to the tenets of her faith. But by the time she reached her mid-40s, scoliosis made every step excruciating and her spiritual mission impossible.

Walking again would require surgery that often involves tremendous blood loss and a transfusion — a medical procedure to replenish the blood supply forbidden by her church.

"Even though I love life and I don't want to die, I want good medical care without blood," said Pickett, 49, of Crown Point, Ind. "If it got to that point, I would rather lose my life than disobey my creator and take a blood transfusion."

Dr. Christopher Dewald, Pickett's orthopedic surgeon at Rush University Medical Center, nervously agreed to find alternatives and perform the surgery. Dewald said he couldn't fathom letting a patient die on his operating table, but because he respected Pickett's convictions, he invested time to explore the options.