Parents in New Zealand temporarily lost medical custody of their four-month-old son when the Auckland High Court granted temporary medical custody to treating pediatricians after Health New Zealand, which manages the country’s health service and hospitals, took the parents to court seeking guardianship. The parents had refused an operation requiring a blood transfusion for their baby using blood from the New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) because the blood supply would include blood from donors who had received COVID-19 shots.1
Government health officials and treating pediatricians claimed that the boy has pulmonary valve stenosis, which involves narrowing of the valve between the lower right heart chamber and the lung arteries, and he is in need of immediate surgery. The parents expressed grave concerns about using blood from donors who had received the COVID shots and said they had more than 20 unvaccinated people who agreed to donate blood to their son for the operation. However, the hospital where the operation would be performed insisted on using donor blood provided by NZBS, which does not separate blood taken from vaccinated and unvaccinated donors.2
High Probability Blood Transfusions in New Zealand Contain Blood from Vaccinated Donors
The baby would very likely receive blood from a vaccinated donor as the COVID vaccination rate in New Zealand is very high. About 90 percent of all eligible persons over the age of 12 living in New Zealand have gotten two COVID shots and 70 percent of them have also received a booster dose.3
The father clarified the family’s position…
We don’t want blood that is tainted by vaccination. That’s the end of the deal–we are fine with anything else these doctors want to do.4
The parent’s attorney pointed out that this is not the typical medical guardianship case where parents refuse medical care for their child. Instead in this case, the parents want what they consider to be superior medical care than what the state can offer their child. Rather than refusing medical care for their child, they are requesting that the child not receive blood from vaccinated donors.5 6
NZBS officials argued that no COVID shot ingredients remain in the blood because the pharmaceutical product is “broken down” when it is introduced to the bloodstream, and it is filtered prior to donation. Despite this claim, NZBS has a 28-day holding period in place after vaccination with certain COVID shots.7 NZBS claim that allowing the parents to use blood from only unvaccinated donors would set a dangerous precedent whereby patients think they have the right to choose blood donors.8
The parent’s relied on an affidavit from Dr. Byram Bridle, who has made the connection between heart inflammation and the mRNA COVID shots. The high court judge Ian Gault decided that the position of the NZBS chief medical officer Dr. Sarah Morley, which was that there is no known evidence of risk associated with receiving a blood transfusion from vaccinated donors, was more persuasive than the parent’s position alleging potential harm.9
Pediatricians Given Temporary Medical Custody of Baby
Judge Gault ruled against the parents and gave temporary medical custody to the baby’s pediatric surgeon and cardiologist in a courtroom packed with interested parties who understood that the ruling will have far-reaching consequences. In a 23-page decision, Judge Gault acknowledged that the parents wanted what was best for their child and had real concerns about the risk to their baby from receiving blood from vaccinated donors, but he concluded that the parents’ desire to establish a separate blood bank with only unvaccinated blood was not practicable and that having the surgery immediately with a blood transfusion using donor blood from NZBS was in the baby’s best interest.10 11
The doctors will maintain medical custody of the infant until after the surgery is complete or until the end of January, whichever occurs first. The doctors were appointed to act as the baby’s legal representative for the purpose of consenting to surgery, while the parents were allowed to retain custody and represent their child for all other purposes. The doctors acknowledged that as long as it did not interfere with what they considered to be in the baby’s best interest, they would take the parent’s wishes into consideration.12
The judge made note of the fact that the baby had previously received a small blood transfusion using blood from the NZBS following a surgical procedure that had been conducted with the parent’s consent. At that time, the parents made it clear that should any more blood products need to be used during a procedure, they would find an alternative to vaccinated blood.13
The high court opinion highlighted the fact that more patients requiring blood transfusions are requesting blood from donors who have not gotten COVID shots. The NZBS has reported that there has been a “significant increase in potential blood recipients asking for blood from unvaccinated donors or asking about directed donation. Similar trends have been noted in other countries.14
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1 Baker S. Parents refuse to let their 4-month-old baby get heart surgery if blood is donated by a vaccinated person, saying it would be ‘tainted’. Insider Nov. 30, 2022.
2 Brown J. New Zealand government tries to seize guardianship of baby after parents demand unvaccinated blood for surgery. Fox News Nov. 30, 2022.
3 Mangramo K. New Zealand court takes guardianship of baby after parents refuse vaccinated blood for heart surgery. CNN Dec. 7, 2022.
4 Brown J. New Zealand government tries to seize guardianship of baby after parents demand unvaccinated blood for surgery. Fox News Nov. 30, 2022.
6 Keane I. Parents refuse 4-month-old’s life-saving surgery if donor’s blood ‘tainted by vaccination’. New York Post Nov. 30, 2022.
7 Brown J. New Zealand government tries to seize guardianship of baby after parents demand unvaccinated blood for surgery. Fox News Nov. 30, 2022.
8 Corlett E. Parents who refused ‘vaccinated blood’ transfusion speak out after court places Baby W in care. The Guardian Dec. 7, 2022.
9 Block G. Baby blood donor vaccine battle: Judge rules in favour of Te Whatu Ora, child placed under court’s guardianship for surgery. New Zealand Herald Dec. 7, 2022.
11 Corlett E. Parents who refused ‘vaccinated blood’ transfusion speak out after court places Baby W in care. The Guardian Dec. 7, 2022.
12 Pietsch B. New Zealand takes custody of baby whose parents refused ‘vaccinated blood’. The Washington Post Dec. 8, 2022.
13 Block G. Baby blood donor vaccine battle: Judge rules in favour of Te Whatu Ora, child placed under court’s guardianship for surgery. New Zealand Herald Dec. 7, 2022.
14 Corlett E. Parents who refused ‘vaccinated blood’ transfusion speak out after court places Baby W in care. The Guardian Dec. 7, 2022.