Doesn't the WTS say that blood can't carry oxygen for the first 24 hours after a transfusion?

by Olin Moyles Ghost 35 Replies latest watchtower medical

  • Olin Moyles Ghost
    Olin Moyles Ghost

    Some JWs have told me that blood transfusions cannot save lives in the case of catastrophic bleeding (for example, resulting from an auto accident) because blood cannot carry oxygen for 24 hours after it has been transfused. Is this in print in WT publications? It must be, because I've heard it on multiple occasions from different JWs.

    I find it very hard to believe that such a statement is true. Perhaps blood doesn't reach its full oxygen-carrying capacity until some period of time has passed, but I highly doubt that blood simply serves as a volume expander for the first 24 hours.

    Does anyone have more info on this--or can someone point me to some information?

  • sir82

    Doesn't sound familiar at all.

    It sounds more like the type of pseudo-science / urban legend explanation that was used to justify some beliefs back in the 60's.

    Sort of like the accounts of finding frozen woolly mammoths and how that "proved" the flood of Noah's day really happened.

    My best guess is that it was a line from some "expert" CO or DO at an assembly, and maybe it was one of those talks that got recorded and passed around amongst JWs.

    Then again, there might have been something like that in print in the 50's or 60's. But it doesn't sound familiar to me at all.

  • yknot

    From 1977.....

    *** bq p. 53 Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Question of Blood ***

    Will a transfusion immediately enhance the blood’s oxygen-carrying capacity?

    Many persons believe that it will, but a recent editorial in Anaesthesia made this significant point: “It is worth remembering also that the haemoglobin of stored, citrated red cells is not fully available for the transfer of oxygen to the tissues for some 24 hours after transfusion . . . ; rapid blood transfusion must therefore be regarded primarily as a mere volume expander in the initial stages.”89 Researchers at Ohio State University found that the reason for this is that chemical changes occur in stored blood. Their investigation showed that blood stored more than ten days “does not improve or may even worsen oxygen delivery immediately after transfusion.” And they found that the oxygen delivery was still below normal twenty-four hours later.90

  • Sapphy
  • Sapphy

    Hmm, I meant to say, yes, that sounds totally familiar. I remember being taught that as a child. Maybe it was in the old blood booklet. Does anyone remember the small white booklet with a very 1950s looking Doctor on the front cover?

  • Olin Moyles Ghost
    Olin Moyles Ghost

    Thanks yknot. It would be interesting to read the full articles quoted in that 1977 WT publication. But even taking the excerpts at face value, they seem to be saying:

    1. Transfused red cells cannot carry oxygen at full capacity for about 24 hours post-transfusion. [This is different from the way it was relayed to me. The JWs told me that transfused blood cannot carry oxygen for 24 hours. There's a big difference between carrying some oxygen and not carrying any oxygen.]
    2. Blood that's been stored for more than ten days (at least using the standard practices of the 1970s) does not carry as much oxygen as fresh blood. [To me that's simply saying that it's better to use recently-donated blood.]

    This is just another example of where a little knowledge can be so dangerous. You've got these JWs with no medical training making blanket statements about how transfused blood behaves in the body. They make these statements based on selective quotations in WTS publications from 30+ years ago. I'm sure the WTS is more than happy for its followers to mis-interpret these quotes as meaning that blood simply doesn't carry oxygen for the first 24 hours post-transfusion.

  • moshe

    It makes no difference what the blood does- the medical efficacy of a blood transfusion has nothing to do with whether it is allowed or disallowed by the Bible. Find the word transfusion in the Bible, that's all I need to see.

  • leavingwt

    Taking medical advice from one of Jehovah's Witnesses is like taking marital advice from Tiger Woods.

  • yknot

    ....The Ghost of Clayton Woodworth will continue to haunt the halls of Bethel until old coots like Smalley are put out to pasture......

  • cofty

    I think the clue is in "stored citrated red cells". Perhaps somebody could clarify but I'm, fairly sure that fresh whole blood delivers the goods immediately.

    I read a book by surgeon who was not a JW but very sympathetic to their cause and it was the first thing he said, that sometimes only an immediate blood transfusion will do and there is no alternative. He spoke particularly about traumatic blood loss as in the event of a gun shot wound or car accident. He insisted that anybody he treats accepts the reality of that. The book was called "No mans blood" but I can't remember the author.

    It is rediculous of JWs to even talk about the medical merits or dangers of blood. Their position is born of religious dogma not science. Why cant they just have the balls to admit it?

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