▪ Objective: To present the case of a Jehovah's Witness with severe anemia and to review the religious philosophy of such patients, the ethical and medicolegal aspects of their care, and the therapeutic options available to clinicians.
▪ Data Sources: A MEDLINE literature search (1980 to 1992) identified most studies. Other studies were selected from the bibliographies of identified articles.
▪ Study Selection: Selection of articles was limited to the history, philosophy, medicolegal and ethical issues, and clinical management of anemic Jehovah's Witnesses; a recent article on recommendations for red cell transfusion was also reviewed.
▪ Conclusions: A clear understanding of the philosophy of the Jehovah's Witnesses regarding blood transfusion and of the medicolegal and ethical aspects of their care is essential to clinicians who care for such patients. One must also be aware of the many alternative therapeutic options that can maximize oxygen delivery and minimize oxygen consumption. The insights gained from this review are applicable to any severely anemic patient who refuses blood transfusion.