Annals of Hematology

, Volume 97, Issue 11, pp 2245–2248 | Cite as

Conviction in the face of affliction: a case series of Jehovah’s Witnesses with myeloid malignancies

  • Rory M. Shallis
  • Mina L. Xu
  • Susanna A. Curtis
  • Erin Medoff
  • Rose Mixon
  • Anna Folkers
  • Amer M. Zeidan
Case Report


Myeloid malignancies are challenging diseases to treat, and management of Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW) affected by them imposes additional complexities. More than 1.2 million JW lives in the USA, and based on a specific interpretation of several biblical verses, many JW believe that the receipt of blood products is directly against the will of God and thus forbidden irrespective of the clinical indication. Guidance for the receipt of specific fractions of plasma (e.g., cryoprecipitate, albumin, clotting factor concentrates) is unclear and as a result is left up to the individual to decide based on his or her own interpretation [1, 2]. Absence of treatment for the myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) or acute myeloid leukemia (AML) will universally herald disease-related cytopenias and the need for blood product transfusion which if refused often will lead to death. Furthermore, standard therapies for these cancers are myelosuppressive and blood product transfusion is typically an...


Authors’ contributions

RMS, MLX, and AMZ wrote the final manuscript. All authors approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rory M. Shallis
    • 1
  • Mina L. Xu
    • 2
  • Susanna A. Curtis
    • 1
  • Erin Medoff
    • 1
  • Rose Mixon
    • 1
  • Anna Folkers
    • 1
  • Amer M. Zeidan
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Division of Hematology/Medical Oncology, Department of MedicineYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Department of PathologyYale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  3. 3.Cancer Outcomes, Public Policy, and Effectiveness Research (COPPER) CenterYale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  4. 4.Section of Hematology, Department of Internal MedicineYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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