Jehovah's Witnesses helping hospitals to limit transfusions
Patients receiving too many blood transfusions are more likely to experience complications after surgery, according to health authority
Too many patients receive blood transfusions after surgery or childbirth, according to the health authority Sundhedsstyrelsen. The authority wants to limit their use.
Jyllands-Posten reports that Danish hospitals carry out 450,000 transfusions every year and use 48 half-liter portions per 1,000 individuals, while the UK, Ireland, France and the Netherlands use only 30 to 35 portions per 1,000 of the population.
Patients who have received blood are more likely to experience medical complications, including infections and organ damage. It may also lead to a higher mortality rate at the hospitals.
Surgeons seeking Jehova
Members of the religious group Jehova's witnesses refuse blood transfusions, forcing doctors to look for alternatives when treating any of the 15,000 members in Denmark who live according to the ban.
Each year between five and ten Jehova's Witnesses go through extensive heart surgery at Aarhus University Hospital Skejby, where surgeons use a cell-saver device that allows them to cleanse and reuse the patient's own blood during the operation.
Sundhedsstyrelsen recommends that hospitals hold back on the transfusions and only give donor blood when the patient's blood percentage is critically low.