The term "Transfusion-Free Medicine and Surgery" refers to the practice of performing surgical procedures without the use of donated blood. Although the initial intent at Lakewood Regional Medical Center was to provide quality care to the Jehovah's Witness patient, we have come to recognize the benefits to all patients of such an approach, and have expanded our program to bring these techniques to anyone who might otherwise be transfused with donated blood. This is our approach to the transfusion-free care of the surgical patient.
There is no single technique to replace blood transfusion in the surgical patient. Rather there is an approach to the patient that incorporates mulitple well-estalbished and logical techniques that are highly effective in reducing the need for donated blood. These modalities include: pharmaceuticals to enhance hemoglovbin production, preoperative, minimally invasive surgical techniques, new techniques for hemostasis, staging of difficult surgical procedures, acute normovolemic hemodilution (ANH), introperative cell salvage, and finally and perhaps most importantly, greater tolerance of acute anemia on the part of healthcare providers.
If you're uncomfortable sharing blood through transfusions or if you hold personal or religious convictions against receiving blood transfusions, you have options. Choosing transfusion-free medicine and surgery alternatives can reduce the possibility of transmission of blood-borne pathogens such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS and may reduce the risk of infection.
The practice of transfusion free medicine and surgery consists of a highly-trained team of medical professionals that utilize specific treatments, devices, techniques and equipment in order to accommodate the health care needs of individuals who choose not to receive blood or blood products.
How does it work?
Transfusion-free medicine and surgery is accomplished through pharmaceutical therapy, blood conservation, and meticulous surgical techniques to minimize blood loss. Typically, one or more of the following procedures may be utilized to accomplish a "bloodless" surgery: The patient's blood may be filtered through specialized devices and returned to the body in a continuous circuit.
Cauterizing surgical instruments, rather than traditional scalpels, may be used. Medicines to increase red blood cell production and encourage clotting may be administered. Blood-dilution therapies may be utilized during surgery. The patient's blood pressure and temperature can be lowered during surgery which causes less blood to be lost.
Our commitment to transfusion-free medicine and surgery is to provide quality care while supporting our patient's choice in every possible way. Hospital program coordinators get to know each of our patients personally, and are available to them 24 hours a day. Our coordinators are here to help patients and their families, and provide assistance throughout their hospital stay, from referral to a qualified physician, to discharge from the hospital.
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To reach the Transfusion-Free Medicine and Surgery Coordinator at Lakewood Regional Medical Center, please call Ron Williams at (562) 602-6780.