1. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Medical help in my sci-fi story.

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Link the Writer, Jan 22, 2011.

    Okay, I need help researching something for my sci-fi story. It's about blood transfusion.

    Basically, Captain Helen Chert discovers in the sick bay of her ship a child that's loosing a lot of blood. Without hesitation, Helen suggests for the doctor (Doctor Jackie) to hook them both to a blood transfusion machine.

    As a person with absolutely 0 knowledge in the medical field...how does that work? What blood type would Helen have to be to safely give blood? Type A or Type O? What's Type AB? What does the -/+ mean?

    Also, wouldn't there have to be some kind of procedure, as in Dr. Jackie would have to test Helen's blood to make sure it's OK to give it to the child? What about parental consent? Would there have to be some filling out of forms or something?
     
  2. Holden
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    Holden Senior Member

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    Blood transfusions will only work if the donor and the recipient have the same blood type. There are A, B, AB, and O. A The basic way it works is AB type can receive from anyone, O can donate to anyone. People with A or B can donate to A/AB, or B/AB, respectively.

    Some sort of test would be needed. If the child is given the wrong blood type, his body would begin to attack the new cells.

    If it was an emergency, I doubt forms would have to be filled out to save a life.

    But I would assume that ships would have reserves of blood on them, in case of those types of emergencies.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, testing of both patient and donor's blood would be a vital requirement...
     
  4. Pages of Romance
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    Pages of Romance New Member

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    I think the doctor would be the one who directs the crew to do the blood trans. He is in charge and went to school several more years than the nurse did. Just a thought.
    type A with type A or O
    type B with type B or O
    type AB with type A, B, AB, or O
    type o with type O ONLY
    Then there is Rh - or + Mixing these two can be fatal.
    I hoped this helped you in some way.

    Good Luck, Cary.
     
  5. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just adding to this. Type Rh is also said to be the rarest blood type. Type O is considered a universal donor because anyone can receive it, except type Rh.
     
  6. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    "...The basic way it works is that O-type and AB type can receive from anyone...."

    No - O is harmed by everyone BUT O.

    "O-" is a universal donor, "AB+" is a universal recipient.

    Basically, Link, blood cells have proteins on them. If you get blood in your system with proteins your body does not know, it attacks them and does VERY bad stuff to you as a result.

    The two most important proteins are called A and B. Someone without either is "O". Someone with both is "AB".

    Another important one is "Rh". If you have it, you are "Rh+", or just "+".

    Thus, if you have AB+, you can receive blood from almost anyone without worry. If you have O-, you can give blood to everyone without worry.

    Now, there are other, very rare, blood types. The above covers virtually everyone though.

    -Frank
     
  7. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    How SF is the story?

    Why can't the blood machine treat the blood so that it can be used by anyone?
     
  8. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    Oh - right, Allegro.

    That's been a "holy grail" of medicine for decades. Getting closer to being able to convert donated blood to O-, but can't yet do it effectively, safely and on the cheap. Of course, being sci-fi, I see no reason not to have such tech be common place.

    It's interesting that the OP's sci-fi ship has a "machine" ready to do blood transfusions. does that mean that the sick bay sees a lot of trauma? Or is it that they need to be very self-sufficient?

    I would think that a sick-bay that sees a lot of trauma would at least have some amount of blood already in stock. Maybe they've been seeing a lot of injuries and therefore have just run out.

    -Frank
     
  9. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    Plus, my idea avoids a coincidence where the person handy just happens to have the right blood type. Artificial blood is also something science has been working toward, but I don't know if the transfusion is important to the story.
     
  10. D.T.Roberts
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    D.T.Roberts Senior Member

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    In a SCI-fi story, why not have the technology in place to produce synthetic blood? There are currently fluids available that have the capacity to carry and deliver oxygen to tissues. It wouldn't be too much of a stretch to have a synthetic blood that could perform all the functions of biological blood but without the complications typing and cross matching.
     
  11. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    You raise an interesting point.

    I didn't want to have Helen be the coincidental "Hey! Maybe I have the same blood type!" and strap her to the blood transfusion thing.

    As for artificial blood/lack of a machine to do it, well...maybe I can work it where they're just not in a proper place to do it so transfusion via blood typing. So instead of being on board a ship, they're in the middle of a wasteland or something.

    Or maybe the victim is loosing blood, but not too rapidly. They still need to get him to the nearest medical facility though.

    Well, obviously I have to think about this a little more.
     
  12. Nietzschean
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    Nietzschean New Member

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    Hi. In emergency situations, ANY blood type can be given so that the person has sufficient supply to receive the appropriate blood type.

    Paramedics do not carry around every blood type. Even in Emergency care, sometimes random blood transfusion is given till the patient can be taken to critical care.

    If you require the person to survive then any blood type sustain for enough time. (Rejection does not happen immediately)
     
  13. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    It seems like you have many options and the chance to add some SF flare.
     
  14. Spacer
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    Spacer Active Member

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    I think a future spacecraft would have dehydrated blood substitute for emergencies. No short shelf life of banked blood, and low mass to store away.
     

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