Bloodless surgery one subject at Jehovah’s Witness conference

When Emmy Patterson was admitted to an O‘ahu hospital for a valve replacement in November of 2006, she informed the staff and surgeon of her stance on receiving blood. In accordance with the beliefs of the Jehovah’s Witness, Patterson wanted to have a “bloodless surgery” — one in which the patient does not receive any blood but their own.

“This is a matter of conscience,” Patterson said. “There are a number of alternatives to using the blood provided by hospitals. I chose a heart-lung machine.”

To maintain circulation, blood is diverted to the heart-lung machine where it is oxygenated and directed back into the patient.

“A good surgeon can cut conservatively,” Patterson said. “But most surgeries have blood available regardless.”

This weekend over a thousand Jehovah’s Witnesses will gather at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall for the annual district assembly where Patterson is one of many who will give testament to how God’s spirit has worked in their lives.

Patterson’s testimonial will be on her experience defending a bloodless surgery in an environment where the medical staff had limited experience with such a concept.

The convention opens today with the theme of “Guided by God’s spirit.” The keynote address will explain the role of the holy spirit. A generous portion of today’s program will focus on young people.

Tomorrow’s program highlights how individuals can be empowered by the holy spirit during adversity. There will be a baptism ceremony in the afternoon. On Sunday morning there will be public discourse on reaping blessings through Jehovah, followed by a full-costume drama set in the days of early Christianity. The program starts at 9:20 a.m. each day and is free and open to the public. Patterson’s presentation will be at 11 a.m. today.

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