Medical Alternatives to Blood Transfusions

LEADING experts from over 40 countries gathered in Moscow for the 60th Jubilee International Congress of the European Society for Cardiovascular and Endovascular Surgery on May 20-22, 2011. “For doctors, an event of this scale is as meaningful as are the Olympics for athletes,” stated a Russian TV journalist.

Attracting great attention on all three days of the convention was a booth supplying information on medical alternatives to blood transfusions. Hospital Information Services for Jehovah’s Witnesses (HIS) staffed this booth. From it, doctors eagerly took hundreds of information folders, books, DVDs, and medical articles on this important topic. Demand was especially strong for the DVD featuring the video entitled Transfusion-Alternative Strategies—Simple, Safe, Effective.*

Many doctors who visited the booth agreed that there is a need for blood conservation in surgical practice. A cardiac surgeon from Italy who spoke at the congress said that he is well acquainted with Jehovah’s Witnesses and has successfully completed about 70 bloodless heart operations on Witness patients. He also said that bloodless surgery is perfectly normal in his clinic. A professor of the Deutsches Herzzentrum Berlin (German Heart Institute Berlin) took a copy of the DVD for himself and another for a colleague. He told the audience that he had recently performed bloodless surgery on a baby weighing just 5.5 pounds (2.5 kg); and his clinic has performed heart surgery on babies weighing even less.

A month after the Moscow convention, doctors from various countries attended the Fourth Belomorsk Symposium of Anesthesiologists and Intensive Care Physicians of the Northwest Region of Russia, in the city of Arkhangel’sk. HIS set up the same information booth there, and again it attracted much attention. On seeing the materials presented, a doctor from St. Petersburg exclaimed, “This is just what we need!” She expressed regret that simply out of force of habit, some of her colleagues continue to administer transfusions to burn patients. “Your materials would be very useful at the conference on treatment of burn patients that is being planned for St. Petersburg,” she added enthusiastically.

The world over, more and more doctors are seeing the advantages of bloodless medicine and bloodless surgery. Time will tell whether these will one day be the universal gold standard in medical treatment.

[Footnote]

Produced by Jehovah’s Witnesses.

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Hospital Information Services for Jehovah’s Witnesses staffed this booth. From it, doctors eagerly took hundreds of folders, books, DVDs, and medical articles

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Successful bloodless surgery is achieved through the appropriate combinations of medical and surgical blood-conservation techniques, devices, and pharmaceuticals