Most members of the Jehovah’s Witness community refuse blood transfusions, and there are variations in what alternatives they will accept depending on their personal decisions. To provide culturally competent care, healthcare providers need to be knowledgeable about substitutions for blood administration as well as the risks and benefits of available alternatives so that they can inform their patients. It has been recognized in the literature that preoperative optimization of hemoglobin levels with alternative treatment modalities through a multidisciplinary approach can improve clinical outcomes in patients who refuse blood products. The purpose of this article is to illuminate the current beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses regarding receiving blood products, discuss ethical and legal considerations for the nurse anesthetist, discuss the risks of blood transfusions, and examine transfusion alternatives. Finally, this article considers a multidisciplinary approach to the optimization of preoperative hemoglobin levels.
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