A few days ago, during one of my current academical praticals for this semester - General/Vascular Surgery - we came across something I thought was rather interesting. I'm wondering what are the views in Sanatana Dharma about this issue, and a similar one I also heard about at the time. Both are real cases.
Case A: A 60-year-old woman is due for surgery for gastric cancer. She suffers from anaemia (low red blood cell count). She's a Jehovah's Witness and refuses any sort of blood transfusion whatsoever, based on religious grounds. This, of course, makes the whole surgery a lot trickier - and not all doctors are willing to take up on it. She went into the operation room for her scheduled surgery, but after "exploring" (I'm afraid I can't thing of the proper word right now) the doctors decided the tumour was not resectable due to unexpected invasion of adjacent areas; bearing in mind she would most likely bleed out if they attempted to remove the tumour, which wouldn't otherwise happen if she consented on a blood transfusion. Chemo/radiotherapy aren't at all an option either, because of her anaemia.
Case B: Someone was involved in a major traffic accident and comes into the Accident & Emergency room with a severed femoral artery. Reconstruction might be possible but it's very difficult without making use of a blood transfusion, but this person has already bled out a lot. He/she is also a Jehovah's Witness and won't accept any blood transfusions (or his/her family/partner won't, if the person is unconscious). This person will have bleed out to death.
I'm a bit torn on both cases. In either of them, the patient most likely ends up dead - slowly/painfully in case A, (fairly) quickly in case B. Of course, everyone's very well entitled to their her religious choices, and one must understand and accept that. But I can't help but feel if this were "my" patient, I would still feel "guilty" if/when she died...
What do you think?
PS: I hope I didn't bore you.