The risks of transfusions

A growing number of people in the medical community are questioning how blood transfusions are used in the United States, and are concluding that, for many patients, the risks can outweigh the benefits. Dozens of studies suggest transfusions are linked to serious health risks, including cancer recurrence, organ failure and the significant long-term impact donated blood can have on the recipient’s immune system.

In an effort to cut down on those potential risks and conserve donated blood for when it’s most clearly needed, about 100 hospitals in the United States have established blood management programs. These programs are designed to reduce the need for transfusions by making sure a patient’s blood is as healthy as possible before and after surgery, and by conserving a patient’s own blood during surgery.

The August 20th episode of Need to Know features an in-depth segment about the practice of blood transfusions in the United States.

 
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Comments

  • Fran Zubryd

    It was recommended to me that I have blood drawn in advance and kept frozen if I ever need it.
    Isn’t that a good idea? Then there is no risk about accepting someone else’s blood.

  • evelin

    interesting that jehovah’s witnesses have been at the forefront of this since the beginning and the very reason why alternatives where initiated in the first place yet im sure that no mention will be given.

  • cyborea

    wish i would have had this info two months ago when my 13 year old son was in the hospital for a broken femur (caused by a tumor in the bone, Non-Ossifying Fibroma). after the tumor was removed, a plate placed on the bone & he was sewn up, his blood levels weren’t checked til he fainted the next day while i assisted a Physical Therapist in getting him out of bed & put on crutches. we then found out that his hemoglobin level was at a dangerous level, thus the need for the transfusion. i was terrified. we were away from home with no family around to assist us/me. i made the decision to sign on the dotted line & his transfusion began. it took eight hours (two liter bags) & waiting for the possible side effects took a toll on me as well as my son. hearing the possible side effects scared him a great deal. but thank God we made it through & he is recovering nicely. i wish i would have had more info & i Pray that more will get out about this so that people have more knowledge, power regarding their health care. Thank You!

  • Nicholas

    Very interesting. Would like to see this programme but in UK? Maybe it will be uploaded to youtube or this website.

    Anyway, lastest research seems to show transfusion more risky than first thought, hopefully more hospitals will start to invest more in bloodless medicine & surgery.

    US Military doctors have recently started to learn about bloodless medicine & surgery
    http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/287219

    N.

  • b.nguyen

    @evelin: I am a Transfusion Safety Officer and am in the process of implementing a blood management program to monitor physicians’ transfusion practices and educate patients on the risks, benefits, and alternatives to blood transfusion. It is true that Jehovah’s witnesses have been in the forefront of this. In all the literature I have read concerning blood management and blood conservation, Jehovah’s witnesses are given great credit for being a prime example of blood management in practice. It’s great to see a program coming out about this topic. I hope they do at least have an honorable mention to the Jehovah’s witnesses.

  • http://jwitness.wordpress.com/2010/08/20/video-the-truth-about-transfusions-need-to-know-pbs/ Video: The truth about transfusions | Need to Know | PBS | The News

    [...] the United States, and are concluding that, for many patients, the risks can outweigh the benefits. Video: The truth about transfusions | Need to Know | PBS. This entry was posted in Jehova, Jehovah, blood, jehovah's witnesses, jehovahswitnessesnews, [...]

  • gabriel hernandez

    since the very begining of times, God said ” abstain yourself from BLOOD ”………we as Jehova’s Witnesses obey this rule….but we also love life and accept without a doubt, transfussion alternatives.

  • Neil Blumberg MD

    Excellent synopsis of most of the issues. Almost no errors of fact or emphasis, unlike most such shows. The only point I would have added is that there is an extensive body of data, including a dozen or so randomized trials, demonstrating that leukoreduced transfusions (not universally used in the USA) reduce morbidity and mortality in surgical patients, and have uncontested advantages for all patients. Patients should absolutely insist on receiving ONLY leukoreduced transfusions. Finally, unlike the situation related to storage age of blood, there is real practical potential in the use of pre-transfusion saline washed transfusions for improving clinical outcomes, and several clinical trials are underway of this simple, inexpensive modality.

  • Njcbelnc4

    What makes you think they will label it correctly? Plus, blood can not be stored for long periods of time.

  • Maria Cartwell

    To Jehovah’s Witnesses: You can “astain from blood” all you want and claim you “love life”, but my JW friends are all in agreement that they’d rather die than receive blood. That’s religion for you: Claiming to love life even though in practice you would embrace your own death, or that of your child. That’s not “obeying God”. That’s obeying an inner voice called superstition, and it’s the worst form of child abuse – being willing to die for a ridiculous interpretation in the name of pleasing your little god. You’re anything but a rational person. But religion does that to people.

  • Anonymous

    Gabriel,
    I too am a JW and really liked your simple but to the point answer to the close minded comment of Maria above. If you don’t understand the reason for abstaining from blood, ask, don’t demean Maria. We love our brothers as Jesus set the example and that is how we will be identified. Agape Gabriel.

  • Anonymous

    Gabriel,
    I too am a JW and really liked your simple but to the point answer to the close minded comment of Maria above. If you don’t understand the reason for abstaining from blood, ask, don’t demean Maria. We love our brothers as Jesus set the example and that is how we will be identified. Agape Gabriel.

  • Anonymous

    B Nguyen,
    Thank you for your diligence in helping Jehovah’s Witnesses. I am a two time bloodless heart surgery survivor thanks to the medical personnel that implement these programs.
    Keep up the good work!

  • Anonymous

    B Nguyen,
    Thank you for your diligence in helping Jehovah’s Witnesses. I am a two time bloodless heart surgery survivor thanks to the medical personnel that implement these programs.
    Keep up the good work!

  • Anonymous

    If you would like a DVD that gives you the latest information on Bloodless surgery I would be happy to mail it to you, FREE and with NO STRINGS ATTACHED. Please send me an email at dana.crone.ward@live.com.

  • Anonymous

    If you would like a DVD that gives you the latest information on Bloodless surgery I would be happy to mail it to you, FREE and with NO STRINGS ATTACHED. Please send me an email at dana.crone.ward@live.com.

  • Anonymous

    Cyborea,
    If you would like a DVD that has the information on transfusion alternatives as you said that you are “praying” that you will get more information, I can mail a DVD FREE of charge and with NO STRINGS ATTACHED. Please send me an email at dana.crone.ward@live.com. Also, you can friend me on facebook as “Dana Ward” or if you would like to post a medical questions or comment on my blog it is http://www.congenitalheartsurgery.weebly.com as I am a 2 time bloodless open heart surgery survivor and I am very versed in bloodless alternatives and building up my own hematocrits prior to a planned surgery.

    I hope to heart from you soon,
    Dana Ward

  • Anonymous

    Cyborea,
    If you would like a DVD that has the information on transfusion alternatives as you said that you are “praying” that you will get more information, I can mail a DVD FREE of charge and with NO STRINGS ATTACHED. Please send me an email at dana.crone.ward@live.com. Also, you can friend me on facebook as “Dana Ward” or if you would like to post a medical questions or comment on my blog it is http://www.congenitalheartsurgery.weebly.com as I am a 2 time bloodless open heart surgery survivor and I am very versed in bloodless alternatives and building up my own hematocrits prior to a planned surgery.

    I hope to heart from you soon,
    Dana Ward

  • Anonymous

    Evelin,
    I am a JW also and have advocated for several of my brothers and sisters here in Dallas, TX. Jehovah provides the mention as he sees fit at the right time because he is the perfect time keeper.
    I would love to hear from you if you would email me at dana.crone.ward@live.com.
    Agape’

  • Anonymous

    Evelin,
    I am a JW also and have advocated for several of my brothers and sisters here in Dallas, TX. Jehovah provides the mention as he sees fit at the right time because he is the perfect time keeper.
    I would love to hear from you if you would email me at dana.crone.ward@live.com.
    Agape’

  • Anonymous

    Fran,
    I disagree with you on the NO RISK about accepting someone else’s blood because of Human Error first of all because a watched a Dateline show that the subject was invetro fertilization and the wrong embryo was implanted in the wrong mother. I know this is not “blood” but it is a person being implanted in the wrong person. What are the chances that the lab or blood bank gives you the wrong blood even if you donated your own. Then there is the fact that you have bacteria in your blood that would fight with the bacteria in mine so the anti-rejection drugs that are necessary are more as well as the heal time is longer. I have a DVD that I would be happy to send you that outlines several more reasons for bloodless alternatives if you would be interested please email me at dana.crone.ward@live.com.
    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Dana Ward

  • Anonymous

    Fran,
    I disagree with you on the NO RISK about accepting someone else’s blood because of Human Error first of all because a watched a Dateline show that the subject was invetro fertilization and the wrong embryo was implanted in the wrong mother. I know this is not “blood” but it is a person being implanted in the wrong person. What are the chances that the lab or blood bank gives you the wrong blood even if you donated your own. Then there is the fact that you have bacteria in your blood that would fight with the bacteria in mine so the anti-rejection drugs that are necessary are more as well as the heal time is longer. I have a DVD that I would be happy to send you that outlines several more reasons for bloodless alternatives if you would be interested please email me at dana.crone.ward@live.com.
    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Dana Ward

  • Trochjose

    Maria, where are you getting your info from? yes we love life, but God comes first, remember what Jesus said at Matthew 4:10, I know what happens to “christians” today, yes they are willing to go half & half, but when it comes to show the true faith they put themselves first saying that the bible is wrong and whoever wants to follow what it says is wrong. About blood transfusions, modern medicine SAYS that are dangerous, have you done your homework and look up how many people are infected & die from BT every year? but that’s not the point here, the point is obedience to God. if you want to discuss Acts 15:29 I will be happy to do it with you, with your minister or your Doctor, remember there is a lot of info about the risk of BT and thousands of Dr. that don’t use it, remember NO DOCTOR can guarantee that a BT is 100 0/0 safe. Agape to you and your Fam.