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Frequently Asked Questions

Dr. Alan Gaveck is passionate about collaborating on all things blood disorders and blood safety. Here are a few topics to get your wheels turning.

If you would like to join research efforts, donate blood, or be screened as a test subject volunteer, please click the green button below.

General Questions

What is the biggest problem around blood transfusion safety in the U.S. in your opinion?

The biggest problem is human error! That’s why it’s a constant effort to standardize protocols, screening, and to continue funding life saving research efforts.

How can one avoid risk of pathogens or other risk factors if they know they might have to have a transfusion during a planned surgery?

If a patient can anticipate needing transfusions, their own blood can be drawn and stored for future use.

Are there any alternatives to blood transfusions?

This is a question which depends on many variables, but there are alternatives such as volume expanders, growth factors, and intra and post-operative blood salvage. However, there is no substitute for human blood.

Who should not be vaccinated?

If you’ve recently received a blood transfusion, consult your practitioners to determine if you should receive the seasonal flu shot to prevent influenza. If you’ve recently received a blood transfusion and require an MMR vaccine, your family doctor might advice that you postpone for at least 3 months.

Are pharmaceuticals used for blood cell transplantations?

Consult your doctor regarding pharmaceutical drugs to use with the intent of raising red blood cell concentration.

Can I donate blood if I am on medications, including over-the-counter drugs?

Most pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter drugs do not impact donor eligibility. If you are taking antibiotics, wait until the course is finished to schedule the blood donation. Check with the organization completing the draw to make sure none of your medications are on the Medication Deferral List.

Are health care workers at extra risk of exposure to bloodbourne pathogens?

Of course. However, most exposures do not result in infection. Epidemiology of exposures to bloodbourne pathogens and safety training should be conducted by the institution. Regular audits should be scheduled to ensure best practices are being carried out.

Are transfusion reactions in emergency medicine a problem?

They aren’t a widespread problem per se, because the incidence is statistically quite low in the United States. That does not mean they are impossible, and emergency physicians must be familiar with managing adverse reactions should they occur.

Study Areas

Blood Disorders
Sickle cell, hemophilia, anemia, cancers, and many others
Collection Methods

Guidelines, procedures, patient identity programs, approved protocols

Transfusion Safety

Approved interdepartmental protocols, guidelines, and procedures

Emergency Care

Interdepartmental standardization for safe transfusions

Have a Different Question?

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Improving Transfusion Safety is the Mission

Blood disOrders don’t discriminate.

emergencies happen.

access to safe blood supply is critical.