Since scientists have recently developed an artificial blood, many questions have likely been coming up. One of those questions may be whether or not doctors should be using this artificial blood, made of plastic, without a patient’s consent. Blood is often used during emergency situations, so doctors need to think quick. Which option should they choose?
What is Artificial Blood?
The artificial blood in question is made up of tiny plastic molecules. These molecules are very similar to natural hemoglobin, containing an atom made up of iron at the center. This is necessary to bind the oxygen and carry it through the body. The molecules join together in a tree-shaped form. Hemoglobin molecules are also shaped in this way. The shape and size make it easy to deliver oxygen to all areas of the body.
Why Use Artificial Blood?
At times there is a shortage of blood supply and in emergency situations, if there is not enough blood on hand, it could prove tragic or even deadly for a needing recipient. This artificial blood seems to be suitable for all blood types, meaning less chance of rejection. When using natural hemoglobin supplies, doctors must match the correct blood type. Since some blood types are less prevalent in society, there may not always be enough supply on hand. Also, the storing and handling of natural hemoglobin can be quite delicate. The artificial blood can be stored at room temperature and is ready for use quickly. The packaging can be immersed in water right before use in the patient to reach the desired consistency. Natural hemoglobin must be refrigerated. However, plastic blood supply does not require such storage.
Why Did Scientists Choose Plastic As the Material?
The structure of the specific plastic molecule closely matches that of natural hemoglobin. Therefore, it is seemingly the closest fit possible. To achieve optimal success, the molecule must be as similar as possible.
Won’t The Body React Oddly To Plastic?
Artificial blood in still in testing and developmental phases. However, with a structure similar to natural hemoglobin, scientists remain hopeful that it will be accepted by the body.
Should Doctors Ask Permission?
Were this plastic blood available for use in patients, there may be some people who would not feel comfortable with this synthetic substance inside their body. For that reason, among others, it may be more appropriate to get permission. However, in many cases where blood is needed, the patient may not be conscious or cohesive enough to give permission. There are pros and cons on both sides of this question. Yet another thing to consider is the fact that there may be adverse affects on the body further down the road. Doctors (and possibly legal teams) must weigh all the benefits and risks and decide which option is better for the patient. Those risks and benefits could possibly even differ, depending on the patient.
*Note that the author is not a medical professional. This is simply meant to be a starting point for someone interested in the subject at hand. Always seek the advice of a professional where medical issues are concerned.
“Artificial Blood Developed By Scientists”
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