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4/29/2017 8:16:04 AM

Morbid medical question

Something occurred to me last night as I had the first season episode "Germ Warfare" playing over and over again in my DVD player (Yes certain episodes help me to sleep believe it or not...).

I know the 4077th had like a 98% survival rate. For those rare few (which even one death was too many) who did die, would it have been possible to take their blood as a donation for future use?

So often there seemed to be shortages of blood and precious few donors. I wasn't certain if after someone died if their blood instantly became "bad" or if it would possibly be used.

I recognize this is kind of an odd if not morbid question but it's one that I got to thinking of last night. Any ideas?

Ruptured Brook

4/29/2017 8:03:50 PM

I think it probably wouldn't have been much of an option, or at least not worth the trouble (even for AB-).

Most likely the patient died while on some sort of painkiller or anesthetic (morphine, in most cases), and I think any of that would make it less than ideal.

You might have diseases in the blood, which you would have to run tests on somehow after drawing all of it.

I also found, after a couple minutes' research, apparently death causes stasis of the blood within minutes, leading to the endothelium breaking down (it's part of the vessel wall). That may compromise the contents of the blood by the blood melding with the nearby tissue, I suspect.

And, of course, blood cells need oxygen to survive. That probably leads to them dying within minutes, or possibly. Of course, that makes me wonder why donated blood cells live on in a bag for so long--some sort of artificial coagulant, I guess.

Good question!


4/30/2017 12:11:50 PM

The comment from Ruptured regarding the oxygen is probably the primary reason. Organ donation has a similar problem, although the timeframe required for harvesting is measured in hours, not minutes, at least if the TV shows I've seen are correct.

I'm guessing the handling of donated blood inhibits the breakdown so that it can be used for days or weeks before it goes bad.

Not a bad question and not a bad answer.


5/3/2017 4:41:31 PM

Thanks friends! This is great. Now I have one less thing to think about to keep me up at night. Of course I have 2 new things on my mind instead now!

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