Judge rules that a wife of a Jehovah's Witness may receive a blood transfusion
A judge has ruled that Tawnya Nissen, a 27 year old comatose woman, may receive a blood transfusion, despite her Jehovah’s Witness husband’s objections that blood transfusions are against God’s will.
Tawnya has been unconscious since July 31, when she collapsed because of a bad reaction to a diet drug. Doctors told the family that she might need a blood transfusion if she had to undergo a tracheotomy or other emergency surgery. Tawnya has not needed a blood transfusion, and her condition has improved. But she remains unconscious, and her father — who is not a Jehovah’s Witness — asked a judge to give him, rather than her husband Chris Nissen, the power to decide on her treatment.
Both sides agree that Tawnya has studied the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses but has not been baptized as one. They disagree over how committed she is to the religion’s stance against blood transfusions.
Frank Santiago, the husband’s lawyer, said Tawnya signed a card identifying herself as a Jehovah’s Witness and saying she did not want blood. But her husband has been unable to find that card.
Her aunt, Becky Reid said, Tawnya Nissen seemed less committed to the Jehovah’s Witness religion than her husband was. “We feel if she was that interested in converting, she would have been baptized.”
Johnson County District Judge Marsha Beckelman ruled Tuesday that Tawnya Nissen’s father, Richard Reid, should be granted temporary guardianship to make medical decisions until Nissen regains consciousness. Husband Chris Nissen has the right to be present during discussions of his wife’s care.
“We’re unhappy about it,” Santiago said of Beckelman’s ruling. “Of course our main concern is the interest of Tawnya, and we believe that the husband is in a better position to make sure that Tawnya received all the medical attention that she herself would want.”
‘‘It’s like our prayers have been answered,’’ said Richard Reid Sr., Tawnya’s grandfather who is not a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Based on The Desmoines Register and ReligionNewsBlog.com articles