After working in critical care units and having assisted in the giving of blood more than I care to remember I would definately say that blood transfusions for the chronically ill are very dangeous...the thing is, buy the time it comes around to giving blood they are getting close to dying anyway. Most chronically ill who get transfuions are dead in less than a month. It goes faster if they are elderly on top of that.
They are receiving blood because they are not making enough blood to keep up due to one disease condition or another... so when depeted blood is administered they just don't have the capacity to replace it over the course of a week or so. Some will. Some will get better with the added blood. It will give them the boost they need to turn a corner. There is no way to predict exactly which one will and which one will not.. but most doctors know whena last ditch effort is being made and who will survive it and who will not. Families want last ditch efforts generally. These patients are long past being able to be helped with nutrition or supplements for the most part, they long missed the boat on that one.
Where transfusions can be a real life saver is when there has been severe trauma and blood loss. If people are generally healthy they can endure the tranfusion and get past any deficiencies it may present. Aside from trauma we should think of all the moms who might have died without transfusion after severe blood loss during birth.. There are quite a few of them.
But then again, there is also the risk of the diseases that can come with transfusion that do not bring death immediately but many years later. I would say that doctors do not give blood transfusions lightly for the most part. You really got to be in a pretty serious conditoin to get one and that seriousness in and of itself will jeopardize your survival.
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