Hepatitis after open-heart


Donating blood

fl I was recently in the hospital to have open—heart surgery. y lease, I was found to have infectious hepatitis. iinformation concerning this disease.——Mrs. J.Y.

§f years old and living in a mobile home park in South Florida.

also through inoculation of infected materials with inadequately steril- ized syringes and needles, particularly blood count stylets (the instru- ment used to puncture the skin). In addition, hospital and laboratory workers who handle human blood are particularly at risk of developing Type B hepatitis which may be transferred to others by direct contact. Your next step in this important detective work is to carefully review the conditions and personnel connected with that blood test. the test gets a clean bill of health, you can then discuss with your physician all the other possible sources of this infection.


After my re- Please send me some

You can get plenty of information on infectious hepatitis at your local library, so let me try to focus on your case specifically. I am not at all surprised that you contracted infectious hepatitis after open—heart

‘surgery since the chance of developing this serious condition following

blood transfusions is well known. Perhaps not so well known is that

there is a far greater chance of catching hepatitis from the blood of "professional" (paid) donors than from volunteer donors. I hope you

know the source of the blood that was given you.

In some major medical centers, rather significant numbers of open- heart operations using blood substitutes have been performed with good results on Jehovah's Witness patients who reject human blood transfu- sions. I often have wondered why these same techniques have not been applied more widely. Perhaps all of us who need surgery that appears to require blood transfusions should ask our surgeons if they are famil- iar with these scientific reports. Perhaps this can give all of us the same lower incidence of post—transfusion hepatitis and other advantages now enjoyed exclusively by the Witnesses.

I am 60 Recently, a representative of the local blood bank came to talk to us and told us

Although I have always been anemic, this is no longer the case.

.twe "elders" were eligible to give blood as long as our health was good.

I decided it was time I contributed, and I did so two months ago with no problems. This week, I went to give blood again. When the nurse injected the needle to draw blood, she said my vein had moved, and she had to re—do it. A few minutes later, she called another nurse, who said I was "vibrating." They had to stop the process, saying some- thing about the blood clotting in the tube. They said I shouldn't give up on them, but should come back two months later to again give blood.

I never should have told my husband what happened because now he

is very nervous at the prospect of my again donating blood. The word "clot" has stuck in his mind and has made him think "stroke." I told him the clot was outside of me, not inside.

What is your opinion about people my age donating blood? I'm in

good health, have low to normal blood pressure, a slow pulse, no history whatsoever of illnesses. Is there any reason I should be cautious, or is my husband worrying needlessly?——Florida Reader

No—one can oppose on humanitarian grounds the generous act of donating blood. However, the methods of blood collection and utilization often cause serious problems. For example, in our country, unlike others, paid donors are a major source of blood. The incidence of infectious hepa- titis in this kind of blood is so high that I recommend that every