The New York Times recently reported on the potential dangers with receiving a blood transfusion with blood drawn and screened by the Red Cross. The Red Cross supplies 43% of the nations blood and handles blood from the actual donor draw to the time the donated blood is used. FDA reports have documented problems with the screening of donors for possible exposure to diseases, failure to properly swab the arms of donors, failure to test for syphilis and failure to discard deficient blood.
There is no way to determine the full extent of the mistakes made by the Red Cross in the handling of blood. According to the FDA there are situations where the Red Cross has repeatedly failed to investigate its mistakes. Potential diseases transferred through blood transfusions are HIV and hepatitis.
Blood transfusions are very common. Each year, almost 5 million Americans need blood transfusions. This procedure is used for people of all ages. The most common need for a blood transfusion is for people who have lost their own blood during surgery. Some people who have serious injuries—such as from car wrecks, war, or natural disasters—need blood transfusions to replace blood lost during the injury.
Seniors who had disease are likely to require a transfusion at some time. Many elderly with severe infection or liver disease that stops your body from properly making blood or some parts of blood. An illness that causes anemia, such as kidney disease or cancer. Medicines or radiation used to treat a medical condition also can cause anemia.
Staffing problems are the real cause of blood supply problems. Low paid employees are expected to follow complicated processes to harvest and store the blood. The low pay and complex nature of the job leads to high employee turnover.