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Less blood is really more, transfusion critics say

MSNBC.com, August 18, 2010

Long dominated by Jehovah’s Witnesses — whose faith forbids blood transfusions — bloodless surgeries and blood conservation programs are now attracting mainstream patients worried about what some experts say are clear risks, including more infections, longer recuperation, increased illness and even death. "The best blood is in your own veins,” said Dr. Lori Heller, medical director of the blood management program at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, where Reisner had her surgery — without any transfusion. “We want to think before we transfuse.” Decades of experience with Jehovah’s Witness patients, including 1.5 million members in the United States, has helped propel the new emphasis on blood management, said Sherri Ozawa, clinical director of the Institute for Patient Blood Management at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in New Jersey.