Insight on the News
“Liquid Russian Roulette”
● Selling their blood for money is a way of life with thousands of people today. In Karachi, Pakistan, Dr. Fauzia Qureshi of Jinnah Hospital says that 90 percent of the blood donors there are professionals—unemployed, infirm, often addicted to drugs, generally in bad health. Japan’s drug companies rely on bought blood for half their supply, and “The Daily Yomiuri” of Tokyo says that “this may very well account for the fact that the incidence of serum hepatitis is still at the same level” as it was ten years ago.
The situation in the United States is similar. An article in “New York” magazine tells of professional donors who sell a pint of their blood as many as 444 times in a period of only four years. But whether it is bought or not, blood is potentially dangerous. “We estimate that 5,000 patients a year die from complications related to blood transfusions,” Dr. Clive O. Callender, transplant director of Howard University Medical College, is quoted as saying. “The most lethal complication is hepatitis. We believe that 1,500 to 3,000 patients die each year from hepatitis related to blood transfusions.” (“National Enquirer,” May 6, 1975) For long it was thought that freezing serum for as much as a year would kill the hepatitis virus. Then, last year, a laboratory technician at Walter Reed Army Hospital thawed out a blood sample taken back in 1941. He found that it contained large quantities of hepatitis virus—still alive after thirty-three years. No wonder the article in “New York” magazine reporting on this calls blood transfusions “liquid Russian roulette.”
Surgery Without Blood
● In view of the above, it is interesting to read of some developments in bloodless surgery reported on by the “Arkansas Gazette.” Dr. Carl L. Nelson, of the University of Arkansas Medical Center, has developed anesthetic techniques for performing joint-replacement operations (as of a hip joint) without blood transfusion. His methods are the results of his handling cases of Jehovah’s witnesses, who refuse blood transfusion on Scriptural grounds.—Acts 15:20, 28, 29.
One of his methods involves the use of sodium nitroprusside. It affects the minute muscles controlling the size of the veins and arteries. Whereas standard operating methods of replacing a hip joint may cause the loss of three or four units of blood, this method has reduced the loss to less than one unit, a situation that can be easily remedied by use of a nonblood “plasma expander,” with no danger of serum hepatitis. Dr. Nelson has performed thirty such operations on Jehovah’s witnesses in the past two years with no blood transfusions.
World Without War?
● With the close of the Vietnam conflict, the Los Angeles “Herald-Examiner” ran an article entitled “A Warless World,” saying: “The world for the first time in about 45 years is without a conflict that can be said to rank as a war.” “But,” it added, “real peace remains elusive and threats to it are plentiful.”
The threats to peace are indeed multiple. Little more than a state of suspended belligerency prevails in the Middle East, including Cyprus, and the same is basically true of Korea. Guerrilla activity troubles Thailand. The Philippines still faces a smoldering Moslem rebellion. Guerrilla wars in Africa brought independence to a number of lands, but the liberation fighters have often become involved in power struggles among themselves. Latin America rarely sees a week pass without bloodspilling in guerrilla activities.
Perhaps the land most graphically illustrating the lack of true peace is Ireland. Hardly a block of the capital city of Belfast is not pockmarked by bombings in the six-year-old Catholic-Protestant conflict. Alongside City Hall, the Methodist church has a large sign popularly known as the “Scoreboard.” It now lists more than 1,200 killed since 1969. Nine thousand others have been wounded or maimed, and property destruction runs into the millions of dollars.
Yes, as 1975 wears on, it becomes evident that mankind needs the rule of the “Prince of Peace” more than ever.—Isa. 9:6, 7.