Phila. judge OKs CHOP petition for child's blood transfusion

By Jon Campisi | Nov 19, 2012

A Philadelphia judge last week granted a petition by the Children’s Hospital of

A Philadelphia judge last week granted a petition by the Children’s Hospital of

Philadelphia that sought to have the courts OK a blood transfusion for an ailing child whose parents opposed the procedure on religious grounds.

Court record show that Abigail L. Flitter, associate general counsel for the hospital, had filed an emergency petition on Nov. 13 to treat a minor child who was born in early October and could be in need of a blood transfusion following a pending procedure to remove a lesion from her body.

The child has been diagnosed with Congenital Pulmonary Adenomatoid Malformation, which is a large left lower lobe congenital lung lesion.

Without surgical intervention, the petition stated, the lesion could become infected and/or transform from being benign to being malignant.

Because the lesion is connected to large blood vessels in the child’s lung, doctors feared that removal of the lesion could result in heavy bleeding, which in turn means a blood transfusion may be necessary.

The child’s parents, however, voiced opposition to the prospective blood transfusion because they are Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Doctors argued that the child could possibly die if not given a transfusion should one be called for during the procedure.

The parents of the minor child are identified in court papers as Berthide and Schaphir Joachin.

The Jehovah’s Witness faith will not permit the parents to consent to the use of outside blood or blood related products, the petition had stated.

On Nov. 13, the same day the petition was filed, Common Pleas Court Judge Kevin Dougherty granted the hospital’s request, allowing doctors to administer blood and/or blood products to the child during surgery if the need arises.

Dougherty further waived all filing fees and costs associated with the court proceedings.

Dougherty is the administrative judge of the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court’s Family Division.

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