The ethics of blood transfusion refusal in clinical practice among legal and medical professions in Japan

Yoshihiko Iijima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


We investigated the differences in Japanese and United States medical and legal professional opinions on ethical support for clinical ethical issues using the refusal of blood transfusions on the grounds of religious principles as an example of a clinical ethical issue. In ethical support systems for medical institutions in Japan, 95.0% of "clinical training designation hospitals" have hospital ethics committees, and 63.1% have medical safety divisions; clinical ethical support is provided in accordance with their scale and function. In terms of clinical ethical support limits the discretion of physicians, 59.2% of lawyers responded "No" and 54.4% of doctors responded "Yes". In addition, on the feasibility of government or academic guidelines in clinical practice, 37.7% of lawyers responded "Yes" and 63.0% of doctors responded "No". In terms of "relative transfusion-free" policy, 83.2% of lawyers and 76.8% of doctors responded that it is "unavoidable, " while 81.6% of U.S. committee heads responded that it is a "violation of rights. " In terms of hospital transfers due to a hospital being unable to treat patients refusing blood transfusion, 62.6% of lawyers reported that it is "unavoidable" while 57.1% of U.S. committee heads reported that it "should be avoided". The results of this study indicate that medical and legal professionals and U.S. ethics committee heads recognize clinical ethical issues in slightly different ways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-204
Number of pages12
JournalNagoya journal of medical science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01-05-2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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