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Woman died after refusing transfusion

A Jehovah's Witness who refused a blood transfusion in hospital had a 98% chance of surviving the bleed that killed her - if she had been given the procedure, an inquest was told yesterday.

Grieving husband Philip Baxter said his wife Anita (56) “did not want to die” but “did not want a blood transfusion”.

A coroner has called for hospitals to consider seeking a court ruling in similar contexts, where a patient refuses blood on religious grounds.

Mrs Baxter, of Naas, Co Kildare, died of acute cardiac failure caused by blood problems in Tallaght Hospital on September 15, 2009. The Jehovah's Witness died five days after surgery to remove a tumour from her colon, after which she suffered significant bleeding.

Surgeon Diarmuid O'Riordan told the inquest there was a “98% to 99% chance she would have survived if she was given the appropriate blood transfusion”.

Dublin County Coroner's Court heard yesterday that Mrs Baxter signed an informed consent form stating she didn't want blood, even as a life-saving measure. Coroner Dr Kieran Geraghty recorded a verdict of death by natural causes.

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