A woman who recently gave birth by Caesarean section has died in a hospital in east London after refusing to receive blood transfusion because she was a Jehovah's Witness.
Adeline Keh, 40, became critically sick after giving birth to her son Mawsi at the Homerton Hospital, the London Evening Standard reported November 10.
She was transferred to the Papworth Heart and Lung Hospital in Cambridge where she died a month after.
Homerton chiefs have launched an independent review of the case, which was one of four new mothers' deaths at the hospital in nine months.
Husband Kwaku Keh expressed his grief to the London Evening Standard: "My wife and I were best friends...we never came home as a family."
He explained that they had been trying to have a baby for years but all efforts were futile. The delivery of their son brought joy to the couple but now, there is no chance that they will be complete.
Adeline gave birth on September 18 last year but had to stay in the hospital because of an infection. She developed acute respiratory distress syndrome and was transferred to Papworth.
She told doctors in Papworth of her refusal to receive blood transfusion and lawyers made sure that her wishes be obeyed. She died two days later of ARDS (Acute respiratory distress syndrome), sepsis, an infection in the Caesarean wound, and following her refusal to receive a transfusion.
Jehovah's Witnesses refuse to accept blood transfusions because they believe that blood represents life. This belief has led to many controversies due to many fatal cases.
The Houston Chronicle reported that not all stories of blood transfusion refusals are tragic.
"Patients receiving bloodless management are doing as well or in some cases better than those with blood transfusions," says Dr. Linda Resar of the Johns Hopkins Center for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery in Baltimore.
Jehovah's Witness, in an official statement said: "Surgeons regularly perform such complex procedures as heart operations, orthopedic surgery, and organ transplants without the use of blood transfusions."
"No one can say for certain that a patient will die because of refusing blood or will live because of accepting it."
In 2013 across England and Wales there were 47 deaths of women in pregnancy, during childbirth or in the six weeks after birth.