Out for blood
Modern medicine, which has succeeded in developing an artificial heart, has not yet been able to create the perfect artificial blood. Artificial blood that carries oxygen produces serious side effects, such as high blood pressure. We cannot receive artificial blood which carries waste and immunity. People who need a blood transfusion have to anxiously wait for blood to be donated. However, blood only can be preserved three weeks, on average, and never more than 35 days.
Whenever winter comes, we are plagued by chronic blood shortages. Last year, students and soldiers accounted for 48.3 percent and 20.1 percent, respectively, of all blood donors. Whenever the vacation period comes, the blood shortages occur again.
The government authority for blood management announced recently that the current reserves of blood are below the standard, a seven-day supply. The supply of Type O blood is 1.7 days, and the overall average is 2.2 days.
The seriousness of the situation can be seen in the fact that Caesarean operations sometimes can not be conducted due to blood shortages. The Ministry of Health and Welfare is urgently devising a measure to temporarily remove the northern part of Gyeonggi and Gangwon provinces as government-protected areas against malaria every winter. The move was designed to encourage soldiers guarding the border to take part in blood donation.
What would be an alternative for solving the chronic blood shortage in this country?
The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.
By Lee Chul-ho [firstname.lastname@example.org]