Surgery for Jehovah’s Witnesses

There are a variety of blood products which can be used during surgery including packed red blood cells, platelets, fresh frozen plasma, and cryoprecipitate. In cases of trauma, bleeding, or coagulopathy, any or all of these products can be extremely helpful in minimizing blood loss and may be necessary for the survival of the patient. Nonetheless, if a patient has decided beforehand, in a clearly documented discussion, that they wish not to receive any of these products, we completely recognize the authority of that decision and are willing to abide by their wishes.

Dr. Stephens and Dr. Misbach are happy to discuss with any Jehovah’s Witness patient, the particulars of his or her surgery. Although there are some operations which are so unlikely to be survivable without the use of blood cell transfusions that we may advise against proceeding with them, we recognize that the use of blood products is ultimately the patient’s decision, and we will abide by the patient’s wishes. Consultations can be arranged through the front office at any time.

For patient’s of the Jehovah’s Witness faith who do wish to proceed with surgery, there are a variety of blood salvage techniques including:

  • Cell Saver
  • Intraoperative isovolumic hemodilution
  • Pre-operative red cell mass augmentation using erythropoietin
  • Topical agents (Fibrillar, Surgicel, Gel Foam, Bio Glue, Heli Stat, & Thrombin)

Under the right circumstances, all of these products can be utilized to minimize intraoperative blood loss and make more technically demanding procedures feasible for the Jehovah’s Witness patient.