Mother's religion comes under examination after dying following childbirth
The Quebec coroner is investigating the death of a 26-year-old new mother whose Jehovah’s Witness faith may have kept her from accepting a blood transfusion.
Eloise Dupuis suffered a hemorrhage during childbirth which nearly cost her baby its life earlier this week and would ultimately cost her own.
Dupuis’ aunt Manon Boyer said her niece had dreamt of being a mother.
“I spoke to her the night before she delivered and she was so excited to realize this dream she had since she was a little girl,” said Boyer.
The Jehovah’s Witness religion does not permit blood transfusions and lawyer Jean-Pierre Menard said the right to do so is protected by law.
“A person has the right to refuse any kind of treatment for good reason, bad reason or any reason at all,” he said. “Religions is only one of the grounds on which a person makes that decision… If the patient is an adult and fit to consent, even if the decision will bring the patient to the worst situation.”
Boyer said she believes Dupuis would not have chosen to die.
“It was like she was a hostage,” she said. “No one was allowed in her room who wasn’t a Jehovah’s Witness.”
A representative for the Jehovah’s Witnesses church declined to comment but referred CTV Montreal to their website, which outlines what they believe about blood transfusions. The site said the policy stems from bible passages calling on believers to “abstain from blood.”
Patient’s rights advocate Paul Brunet said more safeguards need to be put in place to ensure informed consent.
“Any influence can affect voluntary consent, whether it be religious, financial, family, whatever is the influence can certainly contaminate the consent,” he said. “That is certainly on the medical staff to make sure that influence is not at stake with consent.”