Organ Transplantation Without Blood
Ngoc Thai, MD, a transplant surgeon at Allegheny General Hospital, answers questions about organ transplantation without blood.
When a person receives an organ transplant are they also getting the donor's blood given to them, or are the organs cleaned in some way?
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 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.
If I sign an organ donor card, would my blood then be withdrawn for transfusion into someone else upon my death?
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.
Where can I get more information about organ donation and transplantation?
Contact the Center for Organ Recovery and Education (CORE) at www.core.org or 1.800.DONORS.7. In addition, your local Department of Motor Vehicles has information on organ donation and can add the designation "Organ Donor" to your driver's license.