Medicine: Donating Blood for Yourself

An NIH panel suggests a method of safer transfusions

Anyone facing major surgery has reason to be fearful. In recent years that fear has been magnified by the threat of a terrifying complication: contracting acquired immunodeficiency syndrome from a blood transfusion. Since 1981, 414 Americans have developed the deadly disease after receiving contaminated blood. The introduction last year of screening tests for AIDS antibodies has made the nation's blood supply much safer, but it has not completely eliminated the risk. Thus last week a panel of 13 doctors and blood-bank officials met at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., to discuss what more could be done to ensure...

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