Jehovah’s Witnesses participated recently in the Pacific Partnership 2022 (PP22) which aims to present alternative clinical strategies for patients who are seeking medical care without the use of blood.
Hosted by Puerto Princesa City from July 24 to August 16, the PP22 is the largest humanitarian assistance and disaster preparedness exercise conducted in the Indo-Pacific region this year.
Most of the participants are medical professionals from the United States Navy who make up the crew of the USNS Mercy, a 1,000-bed hospital ship.
Other representatives came from the Philippines, England, Australia, Chile, South Korea, and Vietnam.
The PP22 focused on providing critical skills and expertise through training facilitated by the USNS Mercy crew members and a medical symposium organized by the Palawan Medical Society.
Jehovah’s Witnesses participated through their exhibit entitled “Clinical Strategies To Avoid Blood Transfusion.”
Dr. Angelina A. Gapay, an anesthesiologist for 46 years, gave a lecture about how patient management can be done without blood.
Dr. Gapay’s presentation emphasized that a patient’s refusal of blood is both a medical and religious matter.
It proved to be insightful for the medical specialists in attendance, especially for the crew of the USNS Mercy where blood is not always available.
“[A] member of the crew told me that my talk inspired her,” Dr. Gapay recounted, “and that when she goes back to the US, she will suggest that her department creates a patient blood management program.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses seek out quality healthcare and accept the vast majority of medical treatments.
They also receive medical care that is compatible with their Bible-based belief to avoid blood transfusion.
Some non-Witness physicians and patients prefer nonblood medical care.
Patients who undergo bloodless medical treatment often benefit from fewer infections and faster recovery.
“Bloodless medicine patients may have fewer post-operative strokes or heart attacks and overall, have more positive outcomes from their treatment,” said the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in an article.
Many of the PP22 participants approached the exhibit booth to get a set of brochures on how to manage various medical issues without blood transfusion.
There were at least 18 Palawan-based doctors who also provided their names as possible physicians to consult when a patient prefers bloodless treatment.
Meanwhile, Jehovah’s Witnesses have formed Hospital Liaison Committees (HLCs) which is an international network of trained volunteers who offer assistance to Witness patients, their families and physicians for quality healthcare without the use of blood.
Worldwide, there are about 1,700 HLCs who interact and collaborate with physicians, and hospital personnel in 110 countries including the Philippines.
The HLCs provide services that are available 24 hours a day to health-care professionals who treat Witness patients.
Medical information for clinicians about medical and surgical procedures performed successfully without the use of blood can be found on https://www.jw.org/en/medical-library.
The vast reading and video materials available for download free of charge contain clinical strategies for managing hemorrhage and anemia without blood transfusion among many others.