The average adult body contains about 10 to 12 pints of blood, accounting for approximately seven percent of bodyweight. According to the National Blood Data Resource Center, approximately 8 million volunteers donated more than 15 million units of blood in 2001; the most recent year data was collected. With most blood banks struggling to maintain a three-day supply, there is a constant need for more blood donations across the nation.
While the demand for blood is reason enough for hospitals and doctors to turn to methods of surgery that require little to no blood transfusion, there are other reasons as well. Some religions forbid the tra
Dr. Harwin has been a proponent of bloodless surgery for decades, having treated hundreds of patients who are Jehovah’s Witnesses. These patients will not accept blood or blood products under any circumstance and this requires skilled and meticulous surgical technique.
Dr. Harwin treats blood as a ‘drug’ (see Dr. Harwin’s interview in the journal ORTHOPEDICS ) and limits transfustions for patients. He has helped develop protocols of blood management and serve as Director of Total Joint Replacement Bloodless Surgery Program at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City.
nsfusion of blood, while other people are wary of the remote chance of receiving tainted blood. These factors, coupled with advances in minimally invasive surgery, have lead to the popularization of bloodless surgery.
Some religions, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, forbid the faithful from receiving blood transfusions. Dr. Harwin is sensitive to any and all religious implications of the surgeries he performs and will work with his staff to make sure every procedure complies with each patient’s religious beliefs. Through careful planning and preparation, Dr. Harwin can minimize or eliminate the need for outside transfusions in an effort to create truly bloodless surgeries. Using his bloodless surgery protocol, Dr. Harwin transufuses blood in less than 5% of his surgical procedures and never in Jehovah’s Witnesses.
While the risk of contamination from blood transfusions is very small, if transfusion is necessary, bloodless surgery assures patients that the blood they are receiving is 100 percent safe. Autologous blood transfusion also eliminates any risk that the patient’s body might reject the transfused blood. By eliminating these risks, bloodless surgery is seen as one of the safest ways for surgeons to operate.
Board certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Steven F. Harwin has over 30 years of clinical and research experience, and performs hundreds of cases of bloodless surgery per year including bloodless total hip and total knee replacements. The Chief of Adult Reconstructive Surgery of the Hip and Knee at Beth Israel Medical Center, Dr. Harwin has been named the “Best Doctor in America,” “Top Doctor in the New York Metro Area,” and a “New York Super Doctor.” Dr. Harwin serves as the chief surgeon at the Center for Reconstructive Joint Surgery in New York City and is Director of Beth Israel Medical Center’s Total Joint Replacement Bloodless Surgery Program.
Find out more about Dr. Harwin and how to make an appointment at one of his New York City offices.
By Dr. Steven Harwin