The Safety Of Blood Essay Research Paper

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The Safety Of Blood Essay, Research Paper The Safety of Blood A five-year old girl is riding down the street, on her way to her best friend?s house. She doesn?t have a care in the world and is quietly humming to herself. Suddenly a car whips around the corner and swerves to avoid the child, but he looses control and squarely hits the girl, causing the her to fall and get trapped between the car and her battered bicycle. A main artery in her leg has been severed and blood fills the gutter of the street. As she gets rushed to the hospital in the ambulance, a pint of blood is given to her to attempt to replace some of the life giving fluid that is pouring out of her leg. In the end she received four pints of blood and made a full recovery. Although everything turned out all

right for the girl, things could have been much different. What if that blood hadn?t been there because the nation?s blood supply was low? What if the blood that she received had been infected with a deadly disease such as Syphilis or HIV? These are pressing concerns for today?s society. Even though one in every five people will need a blood transfusion and the risk of contracting a disease such as AIDS is practically negligible, people are still concerned that the blood that they receive may have harmful or deadly diseases and that today?s blood supply is not “safe.” However, “safe” means different things for different people. For some, safe is an absolute security from any danger. This is an extreme viewpoint, though, because most people realize that one can never be

completely safe. Another, and more popularly held connotation of “safe,” is the probability of not getting hurt. This is a much more reasonable and plausible definition and therefor will be used throughout this paper. However, even though the overwhelming probability is that nothing will go wrong, people still fear that the nation?s blood supply is unsafe. They are incorrect in this belief, though, because much is done to assure that the nation?s blood supply is, in fact, safe. One requirement to having a safe blood supply is to have an extensive reserve, because this allows for the option of discarding any blood that is potentially unsafe. The assurance of an ample blood supply begins with the donation process. Most of the people in this country have the capability to donate

blood. However, only 4 percent of the eligible population actually donates.1 There are few restrictions and the reason why there are blood shortages is because people don?t want to donate as opposed to can?t donate. For most blood centers, the physical criteria that a donor must meet are as follows: person must be at least 17 years of age, weigh 110 pounds, and be in good physical health. However, if so many people can donate blood why do so few choose to? Most people are afraid of giving blood. There are many misconceptions about the process of donating blood and receiving transfusions. For example, people believe that there is a danger of contracting diseases, especially AIDS, from the needles used during the process. However, these chances are zero, and a person has less of a

chance of contracting a disease while giving blood than he has in any other ordinary situation Actually, people have little to fear about giving blood. Many precautions are taken to assure that the process is safe for the donor, and the blood that is received is safe for the recipient. Before the donor even gets close to the bed or the needle, he first must complete a thorough survey asking about his past and potentially risky behavior. The survey asks about recent sexual encounters, focusing on homosexual situations. It also asks about drug use, body piercing, and prostitution, which are all considered to be “at risk behaviors.” If the donor has participated in such behavior he will not be allowed to donate until a time when it is safer for everyone involved. If the donor