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Bloodless Surgery 226

isaacbowman writes "Dr. Charles Bridges, a Pennsylvania Hospital cardiologist, says says regarding new bloodless surgery options - "Among the benefits are reductions in recovery time, hospital stay, cost and complications -- as well as an estimated $20,000 in savings per patient." Advances in medicine have made this possible and Dr. Bridges also says, "There's no downside to it that we can see, and there's certainly no downside that's been documented." Dr. Patricia Ford, director of Pennsylvania Hospital's Center for Bloodless Medicine & Surgery, further states, why blood transfusions are dangerous, saying that they are "like getting a transplant; they can be risky and should be a last resort.""
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Bloodless Surgery

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @09:43PM (#15209341)
    We can thank Jehovah's witnesses for that. They are a driving force for bloodless surgery.
  • Re:I'll bet (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MindStalker ( 22827 ) <mindstalkerNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @09:58PM (#15209408) Journal
    Hardly... The savings is realized in two ways.
    1. Less risk so the doctors insurance cost are less (SOME of this savings will be passed on to you)
    2. Quicker recovery time so your hospital room stay will be shorter. This only means quicker turn around time so they can push for more surgeries.
  • Re:I'll bet (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AuMatar ( 183847 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @10:03PM (#15209425)
    Hi. Welcome to corpoatism. None of the savings will be passed on to you, or to the doctor. The CEO of the malpractice insurance corp will get a bigger bonus.
  • Old technology (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dorpus ( 636554 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @10:13PM (#15209465)
    "Keyhole surgery" generated some fanfare a few years ago, but the reality is that it is more dangerous than open surgery, requiring greater skill. How the hell do you operate on something you can't see, digging around under flesh?
  • by brianerst ( 549609 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @10:48PM (#15209600) Homepage
    The official position of the church is that you cannot use any of the major blood fractions (red or white blood cells, plasma or platelets), but the use of certain blood fractions (animal hemoglobin, interferon, interleukin, etc.) is left up to personal conscience.

    A handy chart for the various blood related things JWs may or may not use can be found here [adam.com].

  • by Isldeur ( 125133 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @10:51PM (#15209617)
    Jehovah's Witness have a theological objection to blood transfusions, but unlike Christian Scientists, not to medical treatment in general. In fact, they are quite insistent on high quality healthcare.

    I work in one of the US' big children's hospitals in the neonatal ICU. Right now I'm watching a one month old 34 week gestation boy with a transposition of the great arteries slowly die because of these objections along with a bunch of treatment knots. This belief is utter nonsense. And if you don't believe me, come and watch this life of this little guy slowly ebb away as he struggles and struggles. You look into his eyes and tell me giving him blood will damn him.

  • Re:I'll bet (Score:2, Insightful)

    by modecx ( 130548 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @11:05PM (#15209677)
    I agree with #2, but #1? If there is any universal truth, it's that insurance bills never go down!
  • by Rachel Lucid ( 964267 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @11:11PM (#15209702) Homepage Journal
    Odds are good the '20k in savings' is either an average savings (and hence including the ever-expensive organ transplants and other risky surgeries) or else it's a cumulative savings from the following:

    • Red Cross doesn't have to expend as much effort into attracting donors with gimmicks like t-shirts and other contests when that money could be put into more useful 'core' purposes.
    • Less transportation issues and cooling needed for fewer amounts of blood to circulate, which also means a lack of emissions, vehicle repairs/maintenance, and all-important gasoline to worry about.
    • Less chance of a blood shortage forcing doctors to use 'riskier' procedures on their patients, leading to less complications.
    • Already mentioned in the article, but those shorter hospital visits and fewer complications really DO add up, as most people who've ever been in for surgery will tell you the complications are often worse (and costlier) than the surgery itself.
    • Time in the operating room can be VERY expensive for hospitals! Easier surgery means less time in the Operating Room, which translates into immediate savings.

    The compensation is in keeping up repeat business and being able to brag about the new revolutionary procedure that will attract new business. A doctor you have a pleasant experience with is a doctor you keep going to, every time.

    In my own experience, I've had supernumerary teeth removed by a specialist, went back a year later to the same guy to have some crowding issues resolved, and I'll be getting my wisdom teeth taken out this summer by the same guy. If I didn't like the guy on at least some level, he wouldn't be seeing this kind of repeat business, even if it is only three procedures across eight years.

  • by brianerst ( 549609 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @11:12PM (#15209711) Homepage
    I completely agree with you, and sympathize with the anger and frustration you must feel. While much of my immediate family are Jehovah's Witnesses, I am not. Because of this fact, they have not spoken to me for 14 years.

    I'm not overly fond of many of teachings of the church, but I'm also cognizant that most every religion has its nutty aspects. JWs also tend to be very nice and honest people, and live lives of moderation that tend to reduce their need for medical assistance, all of which are also a requirements of the church. It's a very mixed bag.

    Unfortunately, rationally looking at your own religion is not a strength that many possess.

  • by a_nonamiss ( 743253 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @11:47PM (#15209866)
    Speaking from personal experience, my mother-in-law ruptured her spleen and didn't go to the doctor for 2-4 weeks. (She didn't know when she ruptured it.) She bled internally for this entire time, eventually ending up unconscious in the Emergency Room from blood loss, where they decided it needed to be removed. My in-laws are extremely devout Jehovah's Witnesses, and refused any sort of transfusion. The doctor told my father-in-law "Your wife will die without a transfusion. She's lost too much blood." They opted for blodless surgery anyways.

    Keep in mind that I do not personally subscribe to these beliefs, but this is what I, as an outsider, observed: (Anecdotal, yes, but it's all I have to go on.) They called in their best surgeon. The surgery took much longer than a "normal" splenectomy. The surgeon took extra time and went slow. All the internal sutures had to be extra clean to avoid blood loss. Even the external sutures were done with great care. They were so careful with blood loss that she lost less than half a pint of blood through the whole procedure. (Almost all of that half-pint was in the spleen, or so the surgeon said.) My mother-in-law survived the surgery. (although it was pretty dicey for about 24 hours - the hospital told the family to make sure her "affairs were in order.") She recovered in record time. No complications. Even the scar was less visible than a typical surgery scar.

    So regardless of religious views, it seems to me that if you request a bloodless surgery, you get better medical care. Rather than trying to chop you up and sew you back together as quickly as possible to free up the operating room for the next job, everyone involved seems to slow down and take things easy. You become that pain in the ass exception that they need to take extra special care of. Rather than run you through the mill, they have to take you off the assembly line, look at your special needs. I still doubt that I personally would opt for a bloodless surgery, but it really gave me pause to think about the whole idea.
  • by Idarubicin ( 579475 ) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @08:56AM (#15211338) Journal
    They called in their best surgeon. The surgery took much longer than a "normal" splenectomy. The surgeon took extra time and went slow.

    So regardless of religious views, it seems to me that if you request a bloodless surgery, you get better medical care.

    In other words, the time of a specialist was taken up for a case where his expertise wasn't really required. Someone else didn't receive the benefit of that surgeon, and an operating theatre and all of the support personnel (anaesthesiologist(s), nurses, etc.) were tied up for extra time.

    The patient, meanwhile, spent more time on mechanical ventilation and under general anaesthesia. She was exposed to a longer, riskier procedure that had a substantially greater risk of failure. (The doctors weren't recommending a transfusion because they're lazy or slipshod.)

    Greater cost in human resources and greater risk to the patient. That isn't 'better medical care'. That's a medical team that will bend over backwards to try to accomodate a patient's religious views. There are cases where a 'bloodless' surgery, from a purely medical standpoint, is in the patient's best interests. This really wasn't one of them. I'm happy that things turned out all right for this patient, but regardless of the quality of the surgeon it was a matter of luck as much as skill.

  • by DavidIQ ( 971233 ) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @09:10AM (#15211403) Homepage
    Clean shaven makes one a hypocrite? More moronic ramblings from an Internet idiot that thinks they know something about the Bible when they don't. Have you even ever OPENED a Bible? So you're saying Muslims ARE Christians? Better not...you might get the beating of your life from one of them who would find that offensive.

    If you're talking about the "Mosaic Laws" then I suggest you brush up on your Bible reading and see if you can conclude that it was abolished by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Otherwise I've never seen anything that suggests you can't shave.

    I find it funny how idiotic some people on this site are sometimes. As for the blood being part of those same laws...this is true BUT it was mentioned again AFTER the "sacrifice" so it's upheld as something to follow even after the abolishing of these laws just as thou shalt not kill is also retained along with other things.
  • by karzan ( 132637 ) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @12:30PM (#15213219)
    If the child is too young to consent, the basic human rights of the child must trump anything that the parents say. For example, say there is a 3 year old child that gets into an accident and is in hospital, and will die without surgery, but the parents do not consent to surgery. The child's right to live unquestionably trumps the parents' so-called 'right' to impose their religion on their own child. The doctors are not forcing a religion on the child, the parents are.

Air is water with holes in it.