Too much blood.
Remembering last year's crisis – a severe shortage of blood products in Canada – it was surprising to read that Canadian Blood Services will be shutting down four permanent and 16 mobile clinics.
I am a blood donor.* It is with delight that I learn we have too much blood.
Experts cite five main reasons for this surplus:
- Minimally-invasive/robotic surgery reduces the amount of blood needed for each patient
- Doctors are transfusing when patients have symptoms, not for an arbitrary hemoglobin number (thanks to recommendations that have been made more popular thanks to initiatives like Choosing Wisely, eg item 5 on this list)
- Pre-surgery management can help increase patient's blood counts
- Better drugs during surgery prevent blood loss
- Blood supply is better managed by sharing blood products through hospital networks
It would be interesting to know which of these is has been the most effective at reducing the amount of blood required, but it sounds like most of these are in the best interests of patients and it results in a savings of $2.9 Million annually. However it happened, this is a big win for Canadians.
* Well, I have donated blood, but every time I travel overseas (often to areas where malaria is present) it seems to prohibit me from donating for a year, and then I got my weird medical condition, so it has been about 3 years since I last donated.