7 August 2012
Work Count: 1,227
The Unexposed Dangers of Blood Transfusions
Blood is not considered the “fluid of life” without valid reason. This essential liquid is circulated throughout the human body within veins, capillaries and arteries to our heart, where it is cleaned from contaminants and waste products, then replenished with nutrients and oxygen needed to maintain life. That is the way the human body system nourishes its cells. Blood provides the necessary nutrients to our cells to keep them alive. When this process is compromised by chronic blood loss, trauma, clotting abnormalities (hemophilia, anemia, etc.), the ...view middle of the document...
If not immediately treated, this type of reaction can also cause death (1-2). MFMER also mentions that the liver and heart can be affected due to an overload of iron in your blood. One of the highest risks associated is the Graft-versus-Host disease, which takes place when transfused white blood cells attack the recipient’s blood, in which case the results are fatal (Blood Transfusions- Risks 2). “Blood transfusions have often been given to patients unnecessarily or given to patients as a precautionary measure, causing death in many documented cases” (Hupson, “Blood Transfusions - Safe Medicine?” 1).
“Health care professionals administer approximately 40,000 units of blood each day in hospitals around the United States, according to the professional blood banking organization AABB. . . Serious side effects and complications known as transfusion reactions, however, may occur.” (Andrews 1). As the previous comment states, even though blood banks are very careful screening the donor’s blood to minimize the chances of contaminating blood with bacteria, parasites and viruses, it is not one-hundred percent safe. The blood can still be contaminated. In an interview in 2001, Professor Neil Blumberg commented that there can be diseases that have not yet been discovered patent in the blood that doctors do not know about (No Blood-Medicine Meets Challenge). A few of the known diseases that can be contracted are HIV, hepatitis B & C, West Nile virus, Human T-Lymphotropic virus, and sepsis, which includes all invasive bacterial infection of the blood (Blood Transfusion- Risks 2). A wide range of parasite infections including Malaria, Chagas and Lyme disease are other possible risk factors. It is crucial that a donor’s venupuncture site is cleaned thoroughly so that there is no chance that bacterial contaminants enter the blood bag either. If the blood offered for transfusion is not handled carefully while being collected, results will be fatal to the recipient.
Considering all the risk mentioned, what are the available alternatives to blood transfusions? People have the right to be informed about the dangers and costs involved in transfusions so they can make the correct decision. The No Blood- Medicine Meets the Challenge videocassette, produced by Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, breaks then down into several categories or strategies:
The first strategy is minimizing the blood loss. To achieve this goal there are instruments like the electrocautery that helps the doctor during the surgery. This instrument stops the bleeding by cauterizing the tissue along the incision, replacing the scalpel itself. The best technique nowadays to stop the bleeding is the Argon-Beam Coagulator: a pen-like instrument that sprays argon gas on the surgically cut tissue thereby reducing blood loss (No Blood- Medicine Meets the Challenge). Other useful techniques are the laparoscopy. This is an operation performed in the abdomen or pelvis through small incisions with...