Coming to terms with being human.


He’s dead Jim…

Bloodless surgery sounds nice, doesn’t it? Most people, Anne Rice fans excepted, believe blood is at its best inside the body, not out. Well, at a growing number of hospitals in the United States, the option of bloodless surgery is available.
Don’t get visions of scalpel-less surgery though. Bloodless surgery means that other people’s blood isn’t used. No bags of O-Positive Red Cross Specials getting pumped into your veins. The present technology utilizes blood boosting medications, saline replacement, and other techniques to avoid the blood of those dirty people, like your friends.(Admit it, we are dirty people. I don’t want to know what’s in my own blood much less what’s in yours.) Contamination coupled with constant donation shortages makes bloodless surgery in demand. And the technology is advancing. I assumed this new tech arose from the desires of Gene Roddenberry infected visionaries, but no. It came from good old fashioned religion.

Jehovah’s Witnesses do not want our blood. Transfusions are against the will of God, according to their interpretation of certain scriptures. At the same time, Jehovah’s Witnesses do want to live. Unfortunately, to keep on living during major surgeries, most people need the help of some extra blood. So the J.W.’s have been pushing for bloodless surgery techniques to help them keep from becoming martyrs.

I consider the absolute rejection of blood transfusions a mite extreme. But if it weren’t for this different view point, bloodless surgery options would not be available. The rejection of one method resulted in the emergence of another. A method that makes better use of available resources than it’s predecessor.
The interesting thing is, the J.W.’s weren’t setting out to affect medical technology. They were just trying to live by their own rules. A minority viewpoint inadvertently affected the course of a science. As the world becomes more interconnected and, as a result, more homogenized how many inadvertent solutions to our problems will never materialize? What is the cost of our disapproval of difference?


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