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Blood test: What you don’t know about blood

For decades, blood has been called “the gift of life.” And while its image was tarnished in the 1980s when HIV and hepatitis contaminated the blood supply, better screening tests have made donated blood the safest it’s ever been. Each year, close to five million Americans receive a blood transfusion.

For many, that transfusion will be a lifesaver. But for others, a transfusion may do more harm than good, according to some doctors and researchers. For those patients, there may be a better alternative. Need to Know medical correspondent Dr. Emily Senay reports on the potential problems, and ingenious solutions, to the time-honored practice of blood transfusions.

For more on the potential risks of blood transfusions, see our previous First Look videos on the Centers for Disease Control’s new “hemovigilance” program, and the more than 100 blood management initiatives at hospitals across the country.