The Rh Factor Essay

1294 words - 6 pages

Falling off bikes, or just running around stumbling as kids is probably the first time anyone ever saw their own blood. Flowing red stuff that came after a lot of pain, no big deal. The second time, maybe a blood truck asking for donations, or maybe watching some horror movie. Either way blood itself is not something that stays on the mind, unless of course you’re hematologists (Physicians that study blood). Strange as it is, people do study blood and it is an important subject. I find it interesting though, that something so important and most people don’t know anything about it. It really wasn’t too long ago where blood actually started to make sense to people. In the process of ...view middle of the document...

What Problems could this cause? Firstly, think of blood transfusions. Though people that are Rh-positive can take blood from someone that is Rh-negative, someone that is Rh-negative cannot take the blood of someone that is Rh-positive. The Rh-negative blood will build antibodies against the Rh-positive blood, treating it like a virus. This was a breakthrough in the 40’s. WWII was happening, and the amount of soldiers being wounded was astonishing. In the publication "Blood Use in War and Disaster: Lessons From the Past Century", Hess, J.R., and M.J.G. Thomas writes, “Approximately 500,000 units were sent in 13 months reaching a maximum of 62,000 units in March 1945. This rate, 2000 units a day, is the highest rate of blood shipment in US military experience." Imagine how many more deaths there would have been if this understanding of the Rh factor didn’t emerge just a couple years prior.

Staying on the topic of transfusions, to find out someone’s blood type isn’t always an expedient activity. It can actually take up to thirty minutes. In emergency situations a person may not have thirty minutes. In fact some cases require emergency personnel to react within minutes if not seconds to get a patient blood before they go into shock. Since every single blood type can accept O negative without complications, the patient will receive O negative until the personnel are able to find the patient’s real blood type. With O negative being a universal donor it is one of the most requested at hospitals and blood banks. That being said it’s usually the one that has a shortage since it’s in constant need and not the most common blood type. O negative is so important that scientists have actually been working on ways to turn A/B blood into O negative. In the article, “To horizon: The Use of Synthetic O Blood Group in Practical Substitutive Therapy” Lupu, Anca Roxana writes, “The enzymatic conversion processes represents an achieving of producing universal red blood cells. This discovery opens new perspectives for the blood supply, enhancing the safety of clinical transfusions.” With only a 6.6% of U.S. population, and roughly 3% of the world’s population being O negative with a possible decrease each year, being able change blood to a universal blood type could be the next big break through. Crazy concept, yes, but it is being worked on.

Besides the importance of transfusions and blood supplies, there is another daily battle being fought. That battle is with everyday women; women that want to bear a child. Just like a blood transfusion, the same thing happens during pregnancy when women that are Rh-negative get pregnant by men...

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