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http://www.worldreligionnews.com/issues/religious-groups-are-against-upcoming-human-trials-of-synthetic-blood

 

There is a new synthetic blood trial in the UK that is being planned for next year.  It mentioned objections by various religious groups, but what I liked is that it represented the position of Jehovah's witnesses correctly, that is, being against the use of human blood transfusions, and also the link that is set up to describe our stand comes directly from jw.org.   Too often, journalists try to describe what we believe when they really don't know, or they will link to some "expert" site that will always get it wrong in some aspect.  What do you think?

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http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/nhs-to-give-volunteers-synthetic-blood-made-in-a-laboratory-within-two-years-10343279.html

 

Again the conscience issue comes up again. What is artificial and synthetic?

 

This is blood taken from umbilical cords of newborns and other human blood. From that, stem cells that naturally build more blood cells is extracted and stimulated to produce more blood  -  as it does in the human body -but now outside a human body in a laboratory.

 

This is not to make a blood substitute, but to overcome human blood's ability to carry infections - as these blood cells will be bred from blood with some DNA removed, in a sterile environment out of a human - and hopefully to carry oxygen.

 

So blood is used to make more blood outside of a body. The process may be technically synthesis, but is it really synthetic in the sense of 'artificial' blood? As it originated with blood from a living being and has been used/experimented on,  should it not just be thrown away and not re-infused in another living being?

 

Other articles suggest that, if this idea works, people with rare blood types could donate blood of their own, before major surgery. It could be bred up in the lab ready to be re-infused at the time of the op.

 

I therefore do not entirely believe their quotation:  "how they (JW'S) will be receiving the invention of synthetic blood is a matter of interest because technically, no blood exchange between people is involved" As I feel this is blood from people, then used to breed more blood outside the body to be put into another person when it should perhaps be disposed of??

 

Reality is that blood's oxygen carrying capacity during surgery isn't so great., There's better ways of doing many elective surgeries now that do not involve so much cutting and bleeding where the need for large volumes of blood is not necessary/needed. Open-heart/liver/kidney/gall bladder surgery, for instance, there are better choices -instead of just that old cutting/ invasive surgery (to open chest cavities with all those traumatic risks) , they can make a small incision and feed in arterial catheters/tubes with cameras and instruments, do the surgery with ultrasound and inner cameras, then slide out the cathether and seal the incision site, so blood loss is minimal and healing time faster and very economical. This is the better way - to improve techniques of surgery -preventing blood loss in the first place, where possible. 

 

The results of this experiment are said to be 3 years away = NHS UK is in a terrible crisis now with hospitals and services being cut/closed across the country. How they could fund this when they do not know if they can reproduce it in any useful quantities economically anyway? Therefore, It may not be an issue we would have to face. It will stop, like so much front-line medical care is closing down here, including top hospitals (London's top Brompton Hospital is closing!) for lack of funds. This includes our once  General Hospital that covered most of Cumbria and used to take in all the mountain-climbing accidents on the Lake District mountains. People now have an hour's journey by ambulance to the nearest overcrowded city hospital and people are dying before getting there and lack of ambulances means many very sick people/women with labour difficulties, travelling narrow country roads by expensive taxis with no on-board facilities.Helicopter ambulances, like coastguard life-boats, are scarce and not funded by government and are sometimes grounded if charity money runs out.

 

Edited by retroHelen
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So blood is used to make more blood outside of a body. The process may be technically synthesis, but is it really synthetic in the sense of 'artificial' blood? As it originated with blood from a living being and has been used/experimented on,  should it not just be thrown away and not re-infused in another living being?

 

 I am sure that should the trial ever come to anything usable then the organisation will give appropriate direction however this point is already a factor in our own decisions.  Where do blood fractions come from?  They come from the processing of whole blood that has been donated by people.  We have already had some reasoning on this along the lines of a fraction no longer being blood or a primary component and the implications of a decision that any product from processed blood is unacceptable but the precedent is there - it is not totally unacceptable to use products that come from processed whole blood or it's primary components.

 

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So blood is used to make more blood outside of a body. The process may be technically synthesis, but is it really synthetic in the sense of 'artificial' blood? As it originated with blood from a living being and has been used/experimented on,  should it not just be thrown away and not re-infused in another living being?

 

 I am sure that should the trial ever come to anything usable then the organisation will give appropriate direction however this point is already a factor in our own decisions.  Where do blood fractions come from?  They come from the processing of whole blood that has been donated by people.  We have already had some reasoning on this along the lines of a fraction no longer being blood or a primary component and the implications of a decision that any product from processed blood is unacceptable but the precedent is there - it is not totally unacceptable to use products that come from processed whole blood or it's primary components.

 

Matters of conscience are the hardest. Just because we are free to make a choice doesn't mean our choice doesn't matter. It matters, in fact, a whole lot that we reason our way to a decision.

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5 hours ago, Thesauron said:

Matters of conscience are the hardest. Just because we are free to make a choice doesn't mean our choice doesn't matter. It matters, in fact, a whole lot that we reason our way to a decision.

This is very, very true.  My personal opinion is that given the complex nature of this particular subject that some are inclined essentially to delegate their conscience to the guidance of the F&DS.  So if the F&DS state that product A or procedure B is not acceptable but leave product X and procedure Y to conscience then that's where the individual's conscience will be.

 

Of course, the  whole point of being sheep in the congregation  is to look to the leadership of the  F&DS as Jehovah's representatives on the earth so in that sense there is nothing inherently wrong in the above however as you state, really we should be reasoning on the matter ourselves to reach a conclusion that keeps our conscience clear and relationship with Jehovah intact.

 

This is also why the F&DS have pointed out that were our conscience to determine that fractions were unacceptable since blood has had to be donated and processed (noting that we are not permitted to donate blood out of respect for Jehovah's standards) then this would also mean we would need to look carefully at all sorts of products and procedures, including things like some basic vaccinations, that might contain products obtained by processing blood.

 

As a side point, this also makes me recall conversations I had years ago when a number of congregations in the UK, including one local to me, donated funds to allow local hospitals to purchase cell saver machines.  This was welcomed by many however my personal opinion was that this was indicating that the congregation, and by extension, the organisation, supported and endorsed the procedure.  This, in turn, could make someone whose conscience did not permit them to submit to the procedure feel out of step with the organisation or feel that their position was somehow incorrect even though the literature made it clear this was a conscience matter.   It could also cause a problem for an individual if they were admitted to hospital and declined the procedure since the medical staff would be unable to understand how Jehovah's Witnesses could donate a machine to enable bloodless care to be undertaken yet a Witness, perhaps from the congregation who donated the machine, refused the procedure feeling that they would be not following the biblical command to abstain from blood.

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I am glad for this discussion. Our brothers will hash it out in the light of scriptural precedents, and other points,  along with these insightfully made ones, will be addressed.  I deeply appreciate that our brothers are not only elders and of the annointed, but they have all been in some form of full time ministry for at least 35 years each. The talk that Brother Splane gave about how our Governing Body brothers meet every Wednesday to address spiritual matters on behalf of all of us, and how they delight to discuss deep spiritual matters, can give us all a wonderful feeling of comfort.  And whatever happens with this artificial blood won't happen until 2017 and likely  thereafter anyway, right?

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