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Less blood is really more, transfusion critics say Cutting back on blood use could halt infection

• JoNel Aleccia Health writer MSNBC.com
SEATTLE — As a doctor and a patient, Dale Reisner knows the value of donated blood. But when the Seattle obstetrician had to have heart surgery four years ago, she did everything possible not to get a single drop. “I don’t have any religious problems with it. If I was near death, I definitely would have taken blood, no question,” said Reisner, who is fine now at age 62. “But if I could avoid a transfusion by better pre-op preparation, then I was interested.” Image: Dr. Dale Reisner Mike Kearney / Swedish Medical C Dr. Dale Reisner actively avoided a blood transfusion during surgery to repair a mitral valve in her heart. Long dominated by Jehovah’s Witnesses — whose faith forbids blood transfusions — bloodless surgeries and blood conservation programs are now attracting mainstream patients worried about what some experts say are clear risks, including more infections, longer recuperation, increased illness and even death.

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