Results 1 to 2 of 2

Thread: ‘Bloodless’ Lung Transplants Offer Hint at Surgery’s Future

  1. #1

    ‘Bloodless’ Lung Transplants Offer Hint at Surgery’s Future

    HOUSTON — Last April, after being told that only a transplant could save her from a fatal lung condition, Rebecca S. Tomczak began calling some of the top-ranked hospitals in the country.

    She started with Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, just hours from her home near Augusta, Ga. Then she tried Duke and the University of Arkansas and Johns Hopkins. Each advised Ms. Tomczak, then 69, to look somewhere else.

    The reason: Ms. Tomczak, who was baptized at age 12 as a Jehovah’s Witness, insisted for religious reasons that her transplant be performed without a blood transfusion. The Witnesses believe that Scripture prohibits the transfusion of blood, even one’s own, at the risk of forfeiting eternal life.

    Given the complexities of lung transplantation, in which transfusions are routine, some doctors felt the procedure posed unacceptable dangers. Others could not get past the ethics of it all. With more than 1,600 desperately ill people waiting for a donated lung, was it appropriate to give one to a woman who might needlessly sacrifice her life and the organ along with it?

    By the time Ms. Tomczak found Dr. Scott A. Scheinin at The Methodist Hospital in Houston last spring, he had long since made peace with such quandaries. Like a number of physicians, he had become persuaded by a growing body of research that transfusions often pose unnecessary risks and should be avoided when possible, even in complicated cases.

    By cherry-picking patients with low odds of complications, Dr. Scheinin felt he could operate almost as safely without blood as with it. The way he saw it, patients declined lifesaving therapies all the time, for all manner of reasons, and it was not his place to deny care just because those reasons were sometimes religious or unconventional.

    “At the end of the day,” he had resolved, “if you agree to take care of these patients, you agree to do it on their terms.”

    Ms. Tomczak’s case — the 11th so-called bloodless lung transplant attempted at Methodist over three years — would become the latest test of an innovative approach that was developed to accommodate the unique beliefs of the world’s eight million Jehovah’s Witnesses but may soon become standard practice for all surgical patients.


  2. New Feature! NoBlood Answers!

    • ASK questions regarding Transfusion Alternatives and Patient Blood Management.
    • SHARE your facts, opinions and personal experience.
    • DISCOVER the best answers chosen by Healthcare Professionals and the Public.
    • RANK the best answers.

    Click here to see the Best Answers to Top Questions.

  3. #2
    Managing Editor Jan B. Wade's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 1996
    Bellingham, Washington, United States
    Congratulations to Jessica Varisco and Doctor Scheinin!
    Mr. Jan B. Wade

    Click here for the Best Questions and Answers regarding Transfusion Alternatives and Patient Blood Management.

Similar Threads

  1. lung transplants
    By hcmanning in forum Ask a Professional
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 09-18-2010, 01:03 AM
  2. lung transplants
    By helpme in forum Ask a Professional
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 11-06-2008, 03:21 PM
  3. Asia - Girl undergoes ‘bloodless’ op
    By Jan B. Wade in forum News and Hot Topics such as Hepatitis C, SARS and AIDS
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 01-09-2005, 07:56 AM
  4. Lung Transplants using Polyheme??
    By olecrowe in forum Ask a Professional
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 09-27-2004, 01:12 PM
  5. Lung Transplants w/o blood??
    By olecrowe in forum Ask a Professional
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 09-27-2004, 12:19 PM

Tags for this Thread


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts