Lagos State Government Saves Baby From Jehovah’s Witnesses Over Blood Transfusion



The Lagos State Government, through the Office of the Public Defender (OPD), has recovered a severely jaundiced 14-day-old baby whose parents denied her life-saving blood transfusion on religious grounds.


The baby girl (name withheld) was delivered prematurely at a private hospital in Surulere with headquarters at Ikoyi on December 18,, 2019 to Mr and Mrs Emmanuel Onokpise of Abata Close, Orile-Iganmu.


The baby was discovered to be severely jaundiced at birth and and the doctors prescribed that she be given urgent blood transfusion to survive.


But, according to a statement by the OPD, the baby’s parents who are Jehovah Witnesses and on Medical Insurance (HMO), opposed the blood transfusion for their baby citing their religious belief.


They allegedly unilaterally discharged the baby from the hospital against medical advice.


The statement said: “It was the critical health condition of the baby and deviant position of the parents that persuaded a spirited member of the public to inform the Lagos Office of the Public Defender to save the child from untimely death.


“The agency swung into action immediately, got the relevant court order by invoking relevant sections of the Lagos Child`s Rights Law of 2015 and Lagos State Safeguiding and Child Protection Policy of 2016.


“In collaboration with the Nigerian Police, Adeniji – Adele and Orile stations, the baby was eventually evacuated from the parents’ home after stiff resistance from other mobilised members of the Jehovah Witness on 30th December, 2019.”


The OPD said the baby was taken to Massey Street Children Hospital on Lagos Island.


It said the baby, which weighed 2.2kg at birth, weighed less than 1.7kg at the time of rescue, allegedly “due to lack of medical attention after being kept at home for one week and five days by the recalcitrant parents.”


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