Medicine: The Blood Business

Anyone who needs a blood transfusion is already in physical trouble. Unless someone is willing to donate blood for him, he is likely to be in economic difficulties as well. Blood is in short supply throughout the U.S., and it must often be obtained commercially at an ultimate cost to the patient of up to $40 a pint. Even at high prices, such blood is occasionally tainted.

The reason for this shortage is not scientific but social. American hospitals have ample facilities for acquiring, storing and administering blood. What they lack is willing contributors...

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