Bloodless And Transfusion-Free Surgery Has Its Benefits-Founder

by Medindia Content Team on  December 7, 2007 at 5:07 PM Hospital News
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Bloodless  And Transfusion-Free Surgery Has Its Benefits-Founder
The pioneer of transfusion-free bloodless surgery has revealed just why the technique is so beneficial, especially for patients wary of transfusions or those whose religion does not allow for it.

People such as Jehovah's Witness patients believe that accepting blood from a source other then themselves defies the scriptural teachings that their religion holds steadfast.

"Jehovah's Witness patients no longer have to die for want of blood," says Patricia Ford, MD, a hematologist/oncologist and Medical Director of the Center for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery at Pennsylvania Hospital, part of the PENN Medicine hospital network.

Dr. Ford is one of the pioneers of bloodless surgery and has been teaching its technique to doctor's around the world. One technique a bloodless surgery can employ is called "cell salvage" in which blood lost during surgery is siphoned from the body, passed through a filter for cleaning and returned to the body.

The physician can also use it during surgery to limit blood loss and to avoid the need for transfusion of blood from sources other than the patient. Originally developed to meet the needs of the Jehovah's Witness community, bloodless surgery is transfusion-free and is acceptable to Jehovah Witness followers because they are being reinfused with their own blood.

Bloodless surgery and medicine is a viable and life-saving option for these patients and those wary of the safety of the blood supply, and it is safe for a growing number of surgical and medical conditions, except for acute leukaemia and traumatic injury. "Bloodless procedures have proven to be safer than blood transfusion because they help eliminate complications resulting from transfusions such as immunosuppression, infection, diseases from emerging pathogens for which our blood supply is not yet tested," said Dr. Ford.

"The hospital stay is also shorter for our bloodless patients, a cost savings for the patient and the institution," she continues. Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia is one of the pioneering centres for bloodless medicine and surgery.

Dr. Ford likens the weeks-old blood often used for transfusions to "water from a dirty fish tank." Depleted of most of its oxygen-carrying capacity, the stored blood is not maximally beneficial to any patient.

Prior to surgery, Dr. Ford prepares patients carefully - using medicines to build red blood cells, and managing their haemoglobin count. A higher haemoglobin level lowers the risk of transfusion. Dr. Ford has performed the largest number of successful stem cell transplants without blood transfusion of anyone in the world. Among the procedures for which Dr. Ford has prepared patients for bloodless medicine and surgery are cardiothoracic surgery; radical hysterectomies, prostatectomies, cystectomies, and repair of aneurysms, chemotherapy management, and total hip and knee surgery.

The bloodless team at Pennsylvania Hospital has saved the lives of many Jehovah's Witness patients who otherwise would not have received care.

"We see patients from all over the country who come to us for our expertise in bloodless medicine. The needs of the Jehovah's Witness community have helped us develop practices that can not only save their lives, but can also benefit the entire patient community," concluded Dr. Ford.

Source: ANI

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Blood fractions are a matter of conscience to Witnesses. The reason being that whole blood is scriptually forbidden, but blood fractions are a modern scientific advancement. They are left to the individual to decide for themselves. They are not mindless guinea pigs. They are thoroughly educated on all alternatives, all benefits, and all potential complications. Bloodless surgery is now the gold class standard in the medical world as it has been proven to be safer, with patients having less time in hospital stays, less to none related complications. If you do your research properly, you'd know that.


Surgery patients often lose a significant amount of blood that must be replaced with transfused blood products. But several new techniques dramatically minimize or even eliminate the need for such transfusions. While primarily requested for reasons of faith, bloodless health care services offer many other advantages, and are being chosen by a growing number of patients.


Isn't it nice that the Watchtower has provided the medical community with millions of mindless guinea pigs for experimentation.


Blood issue at a glance: The Watchtower leadership of the Jehovah's Witnesses say NO blood, BUT they actually DO ALLOW some blood "fractions". Problem is this variance is so esoteric complicated that by the time special elders appear in the ER with the rule book, the JW patient is at the point of no return,bleeding to death. NOW,they blame the hospital staff for not having a "cell saver" machine instead of the Watchtower leaders who are responsible for making the rules. I was born a 3rd generation Jehovah's Witness in 1957 and endured the Watchtower's no blood commandment with longstanding bleeding Crohn's disease.The Watchtower leadership expects followers to die for their dogma and many have.The medical staff get blamed and are 'damned if they do damned if they don't'. In 20 years there will be artificial blood for anyone who chooses it,putting an end to this drama.


The Watchtower leaders of the Jehovah's Witnesses are hypocrites they promote no blood while at the same time use many blood fractions. The fact is that elective bloodless surgery advancements are not going to help me if I have trauma and lose much of my blood volume and need an emergency blood transfusion.

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