Faith complicates a young mother’s life-or-death decision on lung transplant
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Maribel Perez breathes in short puffs, panting almost, through a hole cut into her trachea and covered demurely with a patch of gauze. Clear tubes connected to a noisy machine in the living room of her small Alexandria apartment pump pure oxygen into her nostrils….(Read full article)
Maribel Perez, 36, is refusing to get a lung transplant that could ultimately save her life. Perez reasoning is that she has become a Jehovah’s Witness. In order to get a lung transplant, Perez will need consumption of blood through a blood transfusion. The Jehovah’s Witness religion believes that their blood is sacred, and that specifically in the Bible, God does not allow consumption of blood in any way.
Many people in and out of Perez’s community raised money to save her life, and after$60,000 she refused the money for a transfusion. You can just imagine the pain on her husband’s face when she told him that she is willing to die. In fact, twice in the past two years, Perez has been prepared to die. Doctor’s rejected her case twice, because her lung transplant was seen as too difficult and her insurance would not pay. After being nearly sent home to Peru twice, Perez finally got a break. Her friends, family and neighbors raised $60,000 for her. Why would she still refuse? Wouldn’t she think living is more important, and wouldn’t God want that for her?
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that breaking God’s law on blood could leave one with an eternity of nothingness.
Leaving her two children and husband behind, after they fought so hard to keep her with them has left them devastated. Perez spoke softly and said, “My relationship with God is more important than anything.”
Many people strongly believe in their faith, and their faith and religious views are what guide them through life. Horrible events and sicknesses happen, and I think in Perez’s case she needs to think about her family and not just herself. She has a strong belief in God, but religions are different, and some would beg to differ and say that God would want Perez to stay alive. Why would God want a young mother or two and wife of a caring man to leave when she did not have to. By taking the blood transfusion she can save herself and watch her children grow up, like all mothers should. Instead, Perez is sitting in a chair, staring at a Bible and waiting to die.