Scarcely a week goes by without news of a blood shortage somewhere in the United States. Summertime in particular sees supplies on the wane. With families on vacation and schools out of session, the American Red Cross regularly witnesses a dip in donations.No, we have not had a blood shortage in decades.
But with one simple change, blood shortages in the United States could be drastically reduced, or perhaps eliminated entirely. It's a solution seemingly out of Count Dracula's playbook: drain blood from the dead.I suspect that the reason is that we are getting too much blood from live donors already. If we got blood from the dead, then the live donors might see their blood as unnecessary.
Unpalatable and macabre at first glance, the idea actually makes a lot of sense. Roughly 15 million pints of blood are donated each year by approximately 9.2 million individuals. Over the course of the same year, about 2.6 million Americans will -- sadly -- pass away. If hospitals were to harvest the blood from a third of those people, roughly 4.5 million liters would be added to the reservoir.
Contrary to what you might think, blood from cadavers is not only usable, but quite safe.