Since the onset of the AIDS epidemic, some people have had concerns about blood transfusion. The solution to avoid blood from an unknown source was to store and use one’s own blood supply. Some hospitals have programs for people to store blood for their own use before elective surgery. In some parts of the world, this has become a business. For a fee, an enterprise will take and store your blood in case of an emergency.

This blood storage solution has been available for decades. Some medical health authorities say that such precautions are unnecessary and unwarranted. The assumption is that safe practice procedures are in place and that the available blood supply is not at risk. Then, a news story such as this crosses the news services – today (February 7, 2008):

“WASHINGTON – The Food and Drug Administration has fined the Red Cross an additional $4.6 million for the distribution of “unsuitable blood products,” bringing penalties against the organization to more than $19 million in recent years.

…That settlement resolved charges that the Red Cross had committed “persistent and serious violations” of federal blood safety rules dating back 17 years.”

link: FDA fines Red Cross another $4.6 million

It makes one wonder what trust can be placed with organizations. This is basic health care. Has it come to the point where iconic institutions like the Red Cross can no longer be trusted for public safety?

Catherine Forsythe
Director of Operations

[tag]fda, blood, security, red cross, health care[/tag]