I wrote earlier about the dilemma I was placed into regarding my mother and her urgent need for blood. Being a rational, progressive thinking person I did not need to think about ethics - because to me it is perfectly ethical that if blood is needed blood should be given. The only thing that worried me was, 'what will happen if contaminated blood is given to her by accident.' However, her need for the blood was more than the risk involved especially at her grand age of 83. However, she is the lucky one, as am I and most of the people I know - as we do not constantly need blood transfusions to survive.
There are, however,a small percentage of people who do need blood, on a regular basis, or else they would cease to exist. Among them are people who have major thalassemia (a by product of two parents who have minor thalassemia).
I am fortunate that, although, I have minor thalassemia myself, my ex-husband did not have the same. It took me all of 25 years and a trip to Saskatoon Hospital, Canada; and a very painful bone-marrow test to find out that I had minor thalassemia - it was never diagnosed in India. Whenever, I would feel fatigued and low in India the docs would pass it off as anemia. Eventually an Indian doc in Canada diagnosed for me that I had had this disorder since my birth. I was then told that I was fortunate that my husband did not have the same disorder or else it could mean a very tragic case of a child with major thalassemia.
I was expecting my first child at that time, and although I did not quite understand the docs apprehension till he had tested my husband for the same I do unfortunately, understand it quite well now as we have a beautiful young lady in our family who has the terrible disorder we are talking about.
Now-a-days in India there is quite a lot of awareness of this disorder, which I am thankful for, but still I am sure there must be many people out there who do not realize that this is a genetic defect and if anyone in one's ancestry has this dreadful disorder the chances are that they could have it too. Furthermore, if two minor thalassemia people create any offspring together the rate of major thalassemia children born (I have been given to understand) is 1 out of every 4. A very high rate of risk.
Strangely just because one sibling has it does not mean that the other one will also have it. Anyway, to come back to the point I am making is that my lovely niece, who is such an inspiration to us all and a joy to be around, needs blood transfusions every 3 weeks or so in order to stay alive and this has been the scenario since she was born. In fact, well-meaning but ill-advised people had even asked her parents not to give her the first transfusion and to put an end to it before it even started. Luckily for us all, her parents chose to do it otherwise.
Life has been very hard for them all. How can it be otherwise when you see your child have to go through transfusion after transfusion - but what a lot of joy we would have missed out on if they had pulled the plug on her all those years ago. Today, she is happily married to someone who also unfortunately has the same disorder - but, together they will give each other strength - and at least they have one another who really understands what the other is going through.
My question is - how can parents who have so lovingly nurtured the baby till she is born, just decide to let her die because she needs blood and they don't want her to have it. Is that not as good as murder? That child is already there - do these children not have a right to live? In my opinion, they are probably on a higher level than the rest of us on the runk of the ladder that leads to eternal salvation (antim moksh - if you believe in it - as I do. But, that is a whole new controversial topic on the Theory of Karma as its stand today and I will discuss that on another day.)
What gets to me about religions such as Jehovah's Witness is that a lot of their brethren are very highly qualified lawyers, doctors, engineers - people with a lot of grey matter. Where then is that grey matter when they blindly follow the dictates of a religion - just because they are born into it and brought up to believe that whatever it says must be unquestioningly followed? How is it that such smart people cannot rationalize and see that God wants us to live as best we can. Yes, we should not kill someone to take their blood and use it for ourselves, but, if blood is needed and available it should be given to enable a good quality of life. If everyone followed their reasoning and religion many people who live reasonably good quality of life today - myself included, may not have been here to enjoy the world and the children and grand-children they so love.