A patient’s refusal to receive blood products can pose both clinical and ethical challenges to the surgeon. In this report, we review the case of a Jehovah’s Witness presenting with critical lower limb ischemia and severe anemia for whom the decision of whether to perform thrombolytic therapy was complicated by his refusal to accept blood products. The case demonstrates that thrombolytic therapy can produce favorable results in severely anemic patients even when transfusion is not an option. We conclude that offering thrombolytic therapy in this context is a reasonable therapeutic option from both a clinical and ethical perspective.
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