Charlie Harvey received the transfusion to unblock his carotid artery because he had a stroke after a 1997 surgery, but said the transfusion went against a tenet of his religion that blood is sacred and should not be shared.
Harvey sued Dr. Glen Strickland in 1998, saying the procedure was unnecessary and left him distraught because he had sinned.
Harvey, 55, said he had filled out a form at Lexington Medical Center saying he did not want a blood transfusion.
But Strickland's attorney, Charles Carpenter Jr., said Tuesday that Harvey should have sought a living will or power of attorney, because the hospital form only applied to the elective surgery, not the stroke.
The stroke was an unforeseen emergency and the surgeon had to get consent again for further treatment, Carpenter said. Since Harvey was unconscious, the decision fell to his mother, who Strickland says gave permission for the transfusion.
Harvey said after the hearing that Strickland "stole from me. He took something from me. He took my rights."
There are nearly a million Jehovah's Witnesses across the country, and they cite verses in Leviticus and Acts they say forbid blood transfusions. One often-cited Leviticus passage reads: "Whatsoever man... eats any manner of blood, I will cut him off from among his people."
Harvey said he believes patients, not doctors, should decided what is best for them.
"When I was baptized in 1995, I gave my life to go with God," Harvey said. "From that point on, whatever he has in store for me, that's what it will be."
A circuit court judge ruled in Strickland's favor in 2000, and Harvey appealed to the high court. The Supreme Court has not said when it would rule.