Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Health risks of free-market medicine — 1: The blood supply
The US does not allow the use of blood stored for longer than 42 days - in the UK this is lower, at 35 days. —BBC News in "Old blood 'boosts infection risk'"
I mention this only because the American public is so consistently lied to about the inferiority of "socialized medicine"—a phrase I would encourage you to use in conversation so long as your lip doesn't turn up.
A study conducted in the U.S. found that the risk of infection doubles when blood older than 29 days is transfused into a patient. The cause of this is hypothesized to be the release of certain chemicals after blood has been stored beyond two weeks.
The rational consequence of this finding, you might think, would be to set medical standards to require disposal of older blood. But it's not so simple in the U.S. A shortage might result—
Dr David Gerber, who led the research, and presented the results at the American College of Chest Physicians conference in Philadelphia, said that any change to the time limit could lead to a blood shortage.
"More cautious utilisation of blood might help to alleviate, at in least part, a diminished blood supply that might result from such a change in policy."
Here's one way to ease the shortage.
France to permit gay blood donations (7/12/06)