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Letters to the editors

MagazineJanuary 1995 (Vol. 5 Issue 10)Letters to the editors

In response to your article on blood transfusions (WDDTY vol 5 no 4), in 1951, I became seriously anemic with hemolytic anemia and after six months of weekly blood transfusions, I eventually had my spleen removed to prevent further destruction of red blood cells

Dear WDDTY:

In response to your article on blood transfusions (WDDTY vol 5 no 4), in 1951, I became seriously anemic with hemolytic anemia and after six months of weekly blood transfusions, I eventually had my spleen removed to prevent further destruction of red blood cells.

However, the splenectomy was only partially successful, so for the next 14 years I required frequent transfusions 1600 pints of blood in all. During those 14 years I continued working, married and had a baby (I was transfused every six to eight weeks throughout the pregnancy).

In spite of the "primitive" methods used in those days, I suffered only one severe reaction to the blood, and it surprises me that in spite of modern techniques, blood transfusion today appears to be a far riskier procedure than it was in those early years.

I am now 63 years old and I am everlastingly grateful to all those members of the public who donated blood. I am convinced that there must be thousands of people like me whose lives have been saved by blood transfusions, and if we had to wait for "hard scientific data" to prove that transfusion is really necessary, our lives would have been very much shorter.

With regard to your statement that transfusion has been adopted as standard practice "without one shred of scientific proof", surely the proof is in the fact that the patient survives.

For myself and those thousands of others, donating blood is more than just "a good deed"; it is the gift of life, and I deplore your inference that perhaps it is not. Barbara Green, Enfield, Middlesex.....

WDDTY replies:

While we would not wish to denigrate the value that donated blood has had on your life, for many other thousands scientific studies now demonstrate that it has meant a worse outcome or even death all because medical science has believed all these decades in the self evident worth of blood transfusion for everyone, without bothering to carry out the scientific studies that are only now proving otherwise. Indeed, many of the latest studies show that even trauma patients do far better when left alone or given fluids to keep circulating volume up than when given donor blood (See WDDTY vol 3 no 2).


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