Blood Transfusion

My best friend Sarah was two and I was three the summer her family moved across the street from ours. One of the first conscious memories I have of the two of us was the following Fourth of July. The neighborhood families had a small fireworks show in the street in families had a small fireworks show in the street in front of my house. The only part of the evening I remember is when I was lying on my mom’s should, I remember looking and seeing Sarah lying on her mother’s should, looking at me and smiling. Later, when we were in school, Sarah and I would spend the night at each others houses on the weekend. This is when we would talk, no holds-barred conversations. We talked about what we thought about life and what we wanted to be when we grew up. Sarah wanted to be a billionaire, and I wanted to be everything from a doctor to an architect. We would often walk to the nearby park together and play on the swings. I remember it was the summer of 95’, that morning I told Sarah to come to my house for lunch, as she was riding down the street, suddenly a car whips around the corner and swerves to avoid Sarah, but he looses control and squarely hit my best friend, causing her to fall and trapped between the car and her battered bicycle. A main artery in her leg has been severed and blood fills the gutter of the street. As Sarah gets rushed to the hospital in the ambulance, a pint of blood is given to her to attempt to replace some of the life giving fluid that is pouring out of her leg. Sarah recovered quickly after the accident, but little did we know, we found out that Sarah has contracted hepatitis B through her blood transfusion. After that incident, I been having a lot of questions about blood transfusions and it often makes me wonder how well regulated and how they monitored during blood testing, because my friend is a victim due to the poor regulation.

Through research and according to, William Harvey, an English Physician first discovered the circulation of blood in 1628. The first successful blood transfusion was actually by Richard Lower in 1665 on animals. About 130 years after the blood transfusion by Lower, in1795, Philip Syng Physick performs the first blood transfusion on human. The slowly, the first blood back is established in the United States in the year 1932, by 1947, the number of blood banks have increased from 1 to 1500. When Hepatitis B appeared in 1971, it marks the beginning of testing donated blood. Ten years later, in 1981, the first case of AIDS case surfaced, it took three years to for researchers to identify Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) as the cause of AIDS. In 1985, the first blood-screening test to detect HIV took place, and the following years, many other tests such as screening for hepatitis C, HIV-1 and HIV-2 also implemented. In 1997, the government suggested a regulatory reform and in the year 2002, the newest virus, West Nile was identified as a possible transmitted disease through blood transfusion.

There are four components in one unit of blood, which include red blood cells, plasma, platelets and cryoprecipitated antihemophilic factor. Depends on the need of individual patients, some need all the components of whole blood, on the other hand, some may only need a portion of it. According to, “white blood cells are the largest of the three types of cells and are responsible for fighting infections or germs. White blood cells have a rather short life cycle, living from a few days to a few weeks. One drop of blood can contain from 7000 to 25000 white blood cells.” On the other hand, whole blood contains red blood cells, white blood cells, and plasma. Red blood cells make up about 40% of blood volume in our body; it carries oxygen to the cells and return to the lug to excrete carbon dioxide. “Red blood cells are perhaps the most recognizable component of whole blood. There are about one billion red blood cells in two to three drops of blood, and for