question to ask their doctors, namely, "What are the possible side effects of this new chemical preservative you are putting into my veins together with the blood?"

From Washington University's Laurence A. Sherman, M.D., comes an honest response to my coment about the amount of blood which is wasted: "Some hospital transfusion services have not bothered responding to questionnaires in regard to the actual utilization of blood...."

Dr. Sherman also admits that the issue I raised about the political squabbles in the blood bank industry "is in part true and characteristic of medicine as a whole."

The American Red Cross’ vice president for Blood Services writes that he was disheartened with my negative assessment "of an area in which dedicated professionals...have built a highly reliable blood supply service for patients...."

Yet Dr. Sherman, who is also director of the blood bank in Barnes Hospital, St. Louis, writes: "The point that the blood bank personnel have a vested interest in collecting blood is in part true." Dr. Sherman proceeds to absolve himself and the blood industry from any responsibil- ity for whether the blood is used for unnecessary operations, and he recommends such a question should "clearly be addressed to the surgical and anesthesiology community."

The blood bankers thus reject my recommendation that, since they have collected the precious blood of patients, they have a responsi- bility to tell donors how much blood is being used for vital opera- tions and how much is being wasted on unnecessary surgery.

Dr. Richard Aster, president of Scottsdale, Arizona's Council of Blood Centers, enclosed two excellent articles from medical journals. Let me pass on to you some quotes which come from the University of Michigan Medical School (Transfusion, Vol. 16, 1976, No. 4, and Vol. l8, No. 2, l978):

"A high percentage of blood transfusions to hospital patients are unnecessary...." writes Bruce A. Friedman, M.D. He calls for a reduction in the demand for blood, rather than a continuing effort to increase the national blood supply. Dr. Friedman states, "It is hoped that this study will give impetus to further efforts to identify and eliminate unnecessary hospital blood transfusions, which, in turn, will reduce the demand for blood and make blood more available for those patients with legitimate blood requirements." Dr. Friedman quotes a study which demonstrates that "16 per cent of the units of blood trans- fused on the surgical service, 25 per cent of units transfused on the medical service, and 38 per cent of units transfused on the obstetric and gynecologic service were without valid indication."

So enough bickering! It's high time for the responsible elements in American's blood banking industry to clean up their act.

They had better take the necessary steps to insure that, right now, not five or ten years in the future, 100 per cent of all blood and plasma in this country will be drawn exclusively from voluntary donors. I challenge the American Red Cross, and all other companies involved in collecting and selling blood, to widely publicize in their annual re- ports (as well as during the rest of the year) the magnificent achieve- ments of doctors like Houston's Denton Cooley, M.D., and Los Angeles' Ron Lapin, M.D., who have performed the most complicated surgery on thousands of Jehovah's Witnesses without the use of blood transfusions.

The sorry record of this country's surgeons and hospitals testi- fies to their inability to police themselves when it comes to unneces— sary surgery. There is every reason for the blood bankers, if they are to behave with responsibility and accountability to the millions of Americans who entrust them with their blood, to selectively control the