When Summa Rose Lovett was born four months prematurely, her body was dangerously underdeveloped and her life hung in the balance.

As lifelong devout Jehovah's Witnesses, her parents Conrad and Krystle faced a terrible dilemma.

Doctors at King Edward Memorial Hospital warned them their little girl had only a 5-10 per cent chance of survival and needed blood transfusions.

Despite warnings she may not survive without transfusions, they decided to not allow Summa Rose to have them.

"It was the hardest decision we ever had to make," Mrs Lovett, who is expecting her second child in May, said. "We wanted them to do anything to save her.

"If we had agreed to let her have blood, we felt we were denying our belief in God and we needed Jehovah God more than ever before.

"We either had to rely on the doctors or rely on our faith."

Summa Rose was born at just 23 weeks, weighing 700g, on December 2, 2011.

Mr and Mrs Lovett were not allowed to touch or hold her for 12 days and Summa Rose needed a ventilator for five weeks.

At birth, she had just 100ml of blood and normally would have had six to eight blood transfusions.

Mr and Mrs Lovett said they had to push hard for their wishes to be respected and to make sure one or both of them was always at the hospital for Summa Rose's four-month stay.

Though doctors could override their instructions, Summa Rose slowly grew stronger and after a long struggle in hospital, she survived without transfusions.

She went home to Australind for the first time almost a year ago and has gone from strength to strength.

Jehovah's Witnesses, of whom there were 11,226 in WA at the 2011 Census, refuse blood transfusions because of Bible passages that command Christians "to abstain . . . from blood".

The issue of blood transfusions and Jehovah's Witnesses abstention, even in medical emergencies, has long generated controversy.

In 2005, a 15-year-old WA cancer patient, who refused chemotherapy because he was a Jehovah's Witness, was forced to have the treatment after the Supreme Court granted an application from doctors at Princess Margaret Hospital to give him blood transfusions if necessary.

The boy had a 90 per cent chance of survival if he had chemotherapy, which would require him to have blood transfusions, and without the treatment he would have died.

In 2006, Esperance shark attack victim Zac Golebiowski, a Jehovah's Witness, refused to have a blood transfusion after losing his lower right leg.

Surgeons operated for four hours using tight tourniquets to prevent further blood loss.

The West Australian

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