Parents oppose the use of vaccinated blood in life-saving surgeries on babies | New Zealand

The New Zealand Health Service has filed a court application for guardianship of a four-month-old baby whose parents are refusing to have his life-saving heart surgery unless unvaccinated blood is used.

In an interview with an anti-vaccination opponent, the baby’s parents spoke about their son’s health situation and their medical preferences.

In the interview, the parents say their baby has severe pulmonary valve stenosis and needs surgery “almost immediately,” but they are “very worried about the blood.” [the doctors] will use”.

“We don’t want vaccinated blood,” said the father. “That’s the end of the deal — anything else these doctors want to do is fine with us.”

The vaccines used to prevent serious illness and death from Covid-19 have proven to be extremely safe and effective, with millions of people being vaccinated around the world.

According to the blood service NZ Blood, any Covid-19 vaccine is broken down in the blood shortly after injection.

In a statement, Dr. Mike Shepherd, interim director of Auckland Health Service Te Whatu Ora, said he knew it can be worrying for parents who have a sick child and are making decisions about their care.

Te Whatu Ora filed papers under the Care of Children Act with Auckland High Court on Monday. It called for the baby’s guardianship to be removed from his parents so that consent could be given to use donated blood, the NZ Herald reported.

“The decision to file an application with the court is always made in the best interests of the child and after extensive discussions with whānau,” Shepherd said.

“As this matter is before the court, we will not comment further.”

On Wednesday, the parties appeared in court to set a date for an urgent hearing, while a group of 100 anti-vaccination protesters gathered outside the building.

Te Whatu Ora’s attorney, Paul White, told the court that medical professionals said that under normal circumstances a child with such a condition would have been treated several weeks ago; while the parents’ attorney, Sue Gray – another prominent anti-vaccination – said the parents wanted better care than what the state was providing.

“Because they label my clients as conspiracy theorists, [their position] is that anything my clients say can be ignored,” she said.

NZ Blood said: “All donated blood is also filtered during processing, so any trace amounts that may still be present pose no risk to recipients.

“We do not separate or label blood based on a donor’s Covid-19 vaccination status.” There is no evidence that previous vaccinations affected the quality of blood for transfusions.

A bioethics lecturer at the University of Otago, Josephine Johnston, told RNZ it’s very rare for a case to get this far. It was a worrying case for everyone involved, she added, as there were significant disagreements between the parents and the health teams, both of whom were trying to act in the child’s best interests.

“Parents have a lot of decision-making power over their child’s life — there’s a lot of discretion for parents to make decisions, including medical issues,” Johnston said.

“But there are limits, and this is one of those tragic cases where the limit has life and death implications.”

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