Ngoc Thai, MD, a transplant surgeon at Allegheny General Hospital, answers questions about organ transplantation without blood.
All organs are flushed clean of the donor's blood in order to protect the cells of the organ. We have had a number of patients who are Jehovah's Witnesses who receive kidney transplants. These procedures were all performed without the use of banked blood. Because it is our determination to respect the beliefs and decisions of our patients, all patients who are Jehovah's Witnesses, or who otherwise indicate their unwillingness to accept a transfusion, are consulted with by the Center for Bloodless Medicine. This ensures that our entire staff has a clear understanding of our patients' wishes and beliefs.
No. The donor's blood is flushed from the body as the organs are flushed. The blood is not used in any transfusions. Therefore, persons who are Jehovah's Witnesses can safely consent to organ donation without violating their beliefs to not participate as a donor or recipient of a blood transfusion.