Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Voices / A Forum For Community Issues | Gripe

(Blood) Banking on Rejection

July 18, 1998|MARCIA GOODMAN | Marcia Goodman is the court manager for the Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana

Several times in the past 15 years I have attempted to donate blood; each time I have been summarily rejected. Why? Because 31 years ago I had a melanoma.

If those who direct the policies of blood banks can't see the absurdity of continuing to reject a willing blood donor because of an incidence of cancer so distant in time, then someone needs to reexamine this apparently arbitrary policy.

I am in generally good health, and since I am a cancer survivor, my immune system must have been doing its job very well during the past one score and 11 years. Why is it assumed that my blood would be a threat to a recipient? There's not one shred of evidence that has been offered to me in response to my inquiries, only the blanket statement that except for cervical--or is it uterine?--cancer, if you've had any other type, it doesn't matter how many eons have passed, you are not their kind of donor. I wonder how the people who need the blood would feel about that.

As an example of how nonsensical this policy is, how do those in charge of the blood bank know if a donor who has an unblemished past is not in the process of developing a tumor somewhere in his or her body at the time that person donates blood? For that matter, how can they be certain that someone hasn't just that day contracted hepatitis or HIV? Is the blood routinely held long enough after it's donated to absolutely rule out such diseases? Hopefully, that's standard procedure, but there is still no way to determine a newly developing cancer with a blood test, so what is the sense in rejecting someone who was obviously cured and has a long-term survival history? If the blood supply is as low as reported and the need is as great as ever, then those who set policy for accepting donations should consider the complaint of this would-be but frustrated donor.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|