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Responses of advanced directives by Jehovah's Witnesses on a gynecologic oncology service

Authors Nagarsheth N, Gupta N, Gupta A, Moshier E, Gretz H, Shander A

Received 11 July 2014

Accepted for publication 1 September 2014

Published 24 December 2014 Volume 2015:6 Pages 17—23

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JBM.S70981

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Martin Bluth


Nimesh P Nagarsheth,1,2 Nikhil Gupta,3 Arpeta Gupta,4 Erin Moshier,5 Herbert Gretz,1 Aryeh Shander6

1Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, NY, USA; 2Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, Englewood, NJ, USA; 3Department of Urology, North Shore – Long Island Jewish Health Service, New Hyde Park, NY, USA; 4Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, St Luke's Hospital of Kansas City, Kansas City, MO, 5Department of Preventive Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, NY, USA; 6Department of Anesthesiology, Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, Englewood, NJ, USA


Objectives: To review the responses of advance directives signed by Jehovah's Witness patients prior to undergoing surgery at a gynecologic oncology service.
Study design: A retrospective chart review of gynecologic oncology patients undergoing surgery at a bloodless surgery center from 1998–2007 was conducted. Demographic, pathologic, and clinical data were recorded. The proportion of patients who accepted and refused various blood-derived products was determined and was compared to previously published results from a similar study of labor and delivery unit patients.
Results: No gynecologic oncology patients agreed to accept transfusions of whole blood, red cells, white cells, platelets, or plasma under any circumstance, whereas 9.8% of pregnant patients accepted transfusion (P=0.0385). However, 98% of gynecologic oncology patients agreed to accept some blood products, including fractions such as albumin, immunoglobulins, and clotting factors, while only 39% of pregnant patients agreed (P<0.0001). In addition, all gynecologic oncology patients (100%) accepted intraoperative hemodilution, compared to 55% of pregnant patients (P<0.0001).
Conclusion: Our results confirm the commonly held belief that the majority of Jehovah's Witness patients refuse to accept major blood components. However, Jehovah's Witness patients at a gynecologic oncology service will accept a variety of blood-derived products (minor fractions) and interventions designed to optimize outcomes when undergoing transfusion-free surgery. Patients presenting to a gynecologic oncology service respond differently to advanced directives related to bloodless surgery, as compared to patients from an obstetrical service.

Keywords: Jehovah's Witness, bloodless surgery, advanced directives

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