How many Jehovah’s Witnesses died because of no blood transfusions?

According to an article on the official website of Jehovah’s Witnesses, it is a myth that many Jehovah’s Witnesses die each year as a result of refusing blood transfusions, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Approximately 594 Jehovah’s Witnesses die each year as a result of not being allowed blood transfusions, based on a study by Dr. Osamu Muramoto. It is estimated that by 2016, more than 30,000 witnesses have died since 1961 when blood transfusions were first prohibited among Jehovah’s Witnesses.

This study was based on very conservative numbers and the calculations were based on actual medical research by professionals and data from the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Let’s look at how the figure was calculated by Dr. Muramoto, and compare this to what the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses claims.

How many Jehovahs Witnesses died because of refusing a blood transfusion, according to medical experts?

In 2001, Dr. Osamu Muramoto set out to do an in-depth study to determine how many Jehovah’s Witnesses have died as a direct result of not being allowed blood transfusions, since the inception of the prohibition of blood transfusions.

Using a study by Kitchens CS:Are transfusions overrated? Surgical outcome of Jehovah’s Witnesses. it came to light that around 1.4% of Jehovah’s Witness patients died due to a lack of blood as a primary or contributing cause of death. Dr. Muramoto rounded this figure down to 1% to account for those who may have died regardless of a transfusion.

In that same year, the American Association of Blood Banks reported that approximately 4 million patients received blood transfusions, that equated to 15 out of every 1,000 Americans needed blood that year.

According to data from the Watchtower, out of the total population of America that year, around 1,000,000 were Jehovah’s Witnesses. This meant that in that year, around 15,000 Witnesses would have needed a lifesaving blood transfusion.

By applying the conservative death of 1%, we can determine that in that year, 150 Jehovah’s Witnesses would have died as a direct result of not being allowed a blood transfusion.

To take this a step further, the study was extended to include all Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide, since the date the blood policy was first implemented as prohibited in 1961.

Based on data published by the Watchtower, the average number of publishers per year since 1961 is 3,957,868. If 15 out of every 1,000 persons would need a life-saving blood transfusion, there would be 59,368. And finally, by applying the 1% death rate, we find that approximately 594 Jehovah’s Witnesses died each year as a direct result of not being allowed a blood transfusion.

Based on this data, more than 30,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses have lost their lives as a direct result of not being allowed a blood transfusion.

How many Jehovah’s Witnesses die as a result of refusing a blood transfusion, according to the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses?

It was admitted that thousands of Jehovah’s Witness children have died by being refused a blood transfusion. This is according to a statement made by Jehovah’s Witnesses in an article entitled “Youths Who Put God First“, in a 1994 Awake Magazine.

Despite this statement being made in black and white in one of their most popular magazines, the organization conveniently changed their answer in a recent FAQ on their website, saying that the death of many witnesses, including children resulting from the refusal of blood transfusions is a myth. In fact, they go as far as to say that that statement is completely unfounded.

JW.ORG continues to state that surgeons complete complex procedures without the use of blood transfusions and that patients who are denied blood transfusions fare better than those who are allowed. But does that paint an accurate picture?

The truth is that the writer of this article is avoiding the most important aspect of the question. They are only responding in part, only discussing scenarios where blood transfusions can be avoided during a planned surgical procedure. What the organization fails to address, are the thousands of cases where a blood transfusion is critical and determines whether a person, a child, lives or dies.

A further statement is made on their FAQ that no one can say for certain that a blood transfusion will or will not save a life, however, thousands of medical professionals and organizations prove that blood transfusions are vital to saving lives and as much as 4.5 million Americans would die each year without life saving blood transfusions.

Does the Bible teach that accepting a blood transfusion is a sin?

The Bible does not teach that accepting a blood transfusion is a sin. In fact, most of the scriptures Jehovah’s Witnesses quote in support of this rule are part of the mosaic law, under which Christians are not obligated.

In addition, all these scriptures are talking about eating blood, or meat that still had blood in it which was considered unclean. This was believed to be to prevent taking part in blood sacrifices to idols or to consume animals that weren’t bled properly, which could make a person sick.

The only part of the new testament which talks about abstaining from blood, which was a reference of the old law, and would have had to do with eating blood.

Some scholars also believe that when Paul made the statement that the congregation should abstain from blood, it was meant that one should abstain of shedding blood.

Anyway, regardless of whether or not abstaining from blood is still a law that must be observed by Christians today, Jesus taught a principle of the greater good, that life always trumps law. He explained that breaking the Sabbath (in those days, an offense just as serious as eating blood) would be acceptable when saving the life of an animal. Surely the failure to observe law with similar consequences, to save the life of a child would be acceptable in the eyes of God?

This was in fact a principle that was in force even before Jesus’ time but was ignored by the Pharisees as he pointed out. This principle of the greater good is still practiced by the Jewish people today, and is called Pikuach nefesh, and is explained as:

“Pikuach nefesh is the principle in Jewish law that the preservation of human life overrides virtually any other religious rule. When the life of a specific person is in danger, almost any mitzvah lo ta’aseh of the Torah becomes inapplicable.”

What happens if a Jehovah’s Witnesses receives a blood transfusion?

Jehovah’s Witnesses are under tremendous pressure to refuse a blood transfusion. But what stops a Jehovah’s Witness from accepting a blood transfusion in a life-threatening situation? What happens if a Jehovah’s Witness accepts a blood transfusion?

Anyone “Willingly and unrepentantly taking blood”, is automatically disassociated from the organization, thereafter they will be subject to shunning, which includes cutting off from all fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses, including immediate family members.

Accepting one would mean being disfellowshipped and shunned by their community, including their families. Jehovah’s Witnesses are also taught that by accepting a blood transfusion, they will be forfeiting their salvation.

Even if a Jehovah’s Witness doesn’t agree with the belief that taking blood is a sin, they are still obligated to reject this life-saving treatment, otherwise, they will lose everything they have ever known.

When there is an incredible amount of pressure on an individual to comply, and with such harsh consequences if a Jehovah’s Witness accepts a blood transfusion, one must call into question whether that individual is being deprived of their freedom of expression, belief and most importantly, their freedom of life.

21 Replies to “How many Jehovah’s Witnesses died because of no blood transfusions?”

  1. “It was admitted that thousands of Jehovah’s Witness children have died by being refused a blood transfusion. This is according to a statement made by Jehovah’s Witnesses in an article entitled “Youths Who Put God First“, in a 1994 Awake Magazine.”

    Has anyone else fact checked this? Look up “the article” and read it in context. If you have come to this page to find ‘truth’ – beware. This is a most twisted quote.

    1. It doesn’t matter, the JW is a cult, when you are told to obey the organization rather than God’s word, run away as fast as you can.

  2. Any info about Jehovah’s witnesses medical history is confidential, so how do you have information on witness medical history. Also there are procedures in place to replace blood transfusions that have been used by non jehovah’s witnesses. So let’s be truthful.

    1. “In former times thousands of youths died for putting God first. They are still doing it, only today the drama is played out in hospitals and courtrooms, with blood transfusions the issue.”

      Alternatives to emergency blood transfusions in cases of massive blood loss have extremely low success rates, where blood transfusion would almost guarantee survival and recovery.

  3. My mother died refusing blood transfusion. When her doctor spoke to us he looked very angry. He performed an urgent surgery, but apperently it was useless as she refused to be treated properly after contracting lung infection while in intensive care.

  4. In the past 20 years, two in my congregations have died due to not having a blood transfusion. It’s a complete guess on my part, but I think the low average would be 1 death every 15 years in every congregation. You might be able to extrapolate based on that.

    Another thing to keep in mind… In the same time frame in my congregation, there have been at least three lives of kids saved when the doctor overruled the parents for a blood transfusion. The numbers of deaths would be far higher if doctors weren’t able to over rule brainwashed parents.

  5. So, they are committing 2/3 of a Jonestown each year, just because of the blood “doctrine”. And nobody bats aan eye.

    Thanks for the link.

  6. It’s been nearly a year ago Lloyd Evans interviewed Daniel Graves who stated clearly that thousands have died due to the blood policy.

    “I recently defected friends the US Branch” is the name of the video.

    Good luck with your research.

  7. I don’t want to add to their grief..but I personally know of someone that died in the last 3 weeks …and over the years…have known a significant number, including at least one relative…I think that number is VERY conservative…

  8. I received blood after delivering my son. I was already disfellowshipped but apparently had no blood in my record. They asked if I wanted it removed when I was admitted. My husband insisted, I never thought I’d need a blood transfusion. I’m so glad he insisted, I needed 3!

  9. Disclaimer: Understanding that each of those 590 people had family and friends who grieved their loss. Also understanding that at least some of those JW deaths would have been avoided if the person received a blood transfusion.

    That annual number doesn’t seem that large.

    What would be interesting would be to look at the death rates of a control group of people who received blood transfusions or comparable medical issues as well as (and this number would be hard to get) JWs who opted to take a blood transfusion.

  10. Born in pomo here. 47 years. I had two close friends and my hlc dad knew many who had died. That number is probably grossly undercounted

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