Family, friends of Jehovah's Witness want strict rules on refusing blood transfusions
Published Saturday, December 3, 2016 6:00PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, December 3, 2016 6:44PM EST
Friends and family members of Eloise Dupuis gathered in Laval Saturday to pay their last respects – and send an urgent message.
Dupuis, a Jehovah's Witness, died Oct. 12 from complications after childbirth when she refused a blood transfusion some of her family members believe may have saved her life.
Those who gathered Saturday said they want stricter rules about patients truly consenting to refusing potentially life-saving blood transfusions.
They said Dupuis loved life too much and when faced with the ultimate choice - her life or her faith - they are certain she would have chosen to save her life and spend it with Liam, her newborn and her only child.
The group, which included aunts and cousins, wore red to symbolize Eloise’s vitality and also the blood they believe could have saved her life.
Many of these family members were uninvited to Dupuis’s funeral.
The young woman died in a hospital in Levis. Both the hospital and Quebec Health Minister Gaetan Barrette insist Dupuis gave full and informed consent about her refusal to accept blood transfusions, but her relatives say only Jehovah's Witnesses were allowed in the room with her.
They say she was pressured, and that it amounts to an honour crime.
“We're in 2016 this should never happen,” said family friend Robert Beauchemin. “How can they call that a religion? In my book, it's a sect. How can they leave someone to die for their own purposes? This is totally insane.”
One former Jehovah's Witness who was at Saturday's event said the rules are very strict inside the religion, going so far as to call them ‘blood police.’
Corinne Chateauvert said it's the kind of intense pressure followers and their relatives who are followers are under. She claimed there is a system that kicks in when a person is sick and unable to speak for themselves.
Chateauvert said two people must witness the signing of special cards - and they confirm to doctors that a patient has refused blood transfusions if and when someone is unable to speak for themselves.
A coroner is currently looking into Dupuis's death.
While Barrette said Dupuis gave her consent, he added that it's important that the patient be alone with her doctor when that consent is given.