Judge agrees blood transfusion for girl (5) from Jehovah's Witness family
A High Court judge has ruled doctors can give an ill five-year-old girl from a Jehovah's Witness family a blood transfusion.
The girl's parents said their religious beliefs would not allow them to consent to a transfusion.
But they said they would not object to a judge making the decision.
Mr Justice Hayden was told the little girl was in a "grave" situation and could die or suffer a stroke if she did not have a transfusion.
The judge analysed evidence at a public hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London on Wednesday after hospital bosses asked him to make a decision as a matter of urgency.
He said the little girl could not be identified in media reports.
But he said the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust had responsibility for the girl's care and had made the application.
He said the girl was being treated at Leeds Children's Hospital.
Earlier, at a separate hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London, another judge had approved an agreement between hospital bosses and a teenage Jehovah's Witness who refused to be treated with blood products or given a blood transfusion.
Mr Justice Moor had been due to oversee a trial after hospital bosses asked him to decide what would be in the boy's best interests.
But he was told doctors had taken the view that the boy should not been treated with blood products against his wishes and were trying a different approach.
The boy had insisted he could not be given a blood transfusion, or treated with blood products, because of his religious beliefs.
Lawyers had told the judge the boy had been born abroad and had lived in England with a relative for some time.
They said the boy's father was dead and his mother's whereabouts were unknown.
Mr Justice Moor approved the agreement at a private hearing.
The judge said the agreement could be reported but he said neither the boy nor the NHS hospital trust involved could be identified in media reports.
He said naming the trust might create an information jigsaw which might lead to the boy's identity being revealed - and said the teenager did not want the trust to be named.
That case echoes the plot of Ian McEwan's 2014 novel The Children Act, which was made into a film starring Emma Thompson.
In the novel, a judge decides a 17-year-old Jehovah's Witness should have a blood transfusion against his wishes, to save his life.
Mr Justice Hayden heard evidence via a telephone link to the hospital in Leeds.
A specialist told Mr Justice Hayden the little girl was suffering from sickle cell disease, an inherited blood disorder, and her condition had deteriorated.
He said he feared a "life-threatening event" if the girl was not given a blood transfusion soon.
The girl's father broke down as he told the judge that he wanted his daughter to live but could not agree to a transfusion.
He said he and the girl's mother could let the judge make the decision.
Mr Justice Hayden said the law allowed judges to make such rulings.
Jehovah's Witnesses say their attitude to blood stems from Biblical teaching.
"Both the Old and New Testaments clearly command us to abstain from blood," the religion's website, www.jw.org, says.
"God views blood as representing life. So we avoid taking blood not only in obedience to God but also out of respect for him as the Giver of life."