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Useful new surgery method


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UK 'blood recycling' breakthrough will let Jehovah's Witnesses have major surgery
  • Scientist created machine that recycles blood lost in operations
  • Will allow Jehovah's Witnesses to have major surgery as rules out need for blood transfusions which their faith forbids
  • Gadget could save NHS millions by reducing demand for donated blood

British scientists have created  a groundbreaking machine that recycles blood lost in operations.

The invention will allow Jehovah’s Witnesses to have major surgery because it rules out the need for blood transfusions, which their faith forbids.

The technology could also save the NHS millions by reducing the demand for donated blood.

The Hemosep filtering machine was used recently on Jehovah’s Witness Julie Penoyer, 50. Doctors told the freelance translator she needed to have part of her aorta – the largest blood vessel in the body – replaced because it could burst at any time, killing her.

She suffers from a rare inherited condition called Marfan Syndrome, which makes her cartilage highly stretchy, meaning the walls of  the top of her aorta were dangerously thin.

But she said she would agree to surgery only if she could have the operation without a transfusion. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe it is against God’s will to ‘ingest blood’ in any way.

The team at the Trent Cardiac Centre in Nottingham then mentioned the Hemosep machine.

Unlike other blood recovery devices, it enables the collection not only of red blood cells but also of crucial cells and enzymes that help it to clot, meaning Mrs Penoyer could have the operation without receiving any blood products.

She underwent the seven-hour operation in late January and is now recovering well after spending just 13 days in hospital. Last night she said: ‘People tell me they can’t believe I’ve recently had heart surgery. At last I can breathe properly again.’

During the operation Mrs Penoyer lost more than two pints of blood.  But this was pumped straight back into her body.

The machine works by filtering blood through a plastic membrane that captures vital red blood cells, clotting cells called platelets and enzymes called clotting factors.

Jonathan Bain, who operated the machine, explained: ‘We had to have everything connected in one continuous loop, so at no point would the blood have left her body’s circulation. We went to great lengths to make sure the loop was not broken.’

He added: ‘This was a life-saving operation because the danger was that her aorta could have ruptured  at any time. That would have been catastrophic.’ But it would have been nearly impossible to save her life after a rupture without resorting to a blood transfusion, he added.

The machine was the brainchild  of Terry Gourlay, professor of biomedical engineering at Strathclyde University in Glasgow.

He took his idea to Brightwake, a Midlands-based firm, which makes wound dressings and other high-tech medical products.

Founder Steve Cotton said: ‘It  shows what is possible with a bit of British ingenuity.’ He has calculated the device could save the NHS more than £10 million a year by reducing the demand for donated blood.

 

Edited by Qapla
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Is yhis machine any different from the "cell saver" blood salvage device used here in the U.S. for many years?

 

If I understand everything correctly this machine does a temporary bypass of a section of blood vessel to be replaced. The language is not completely clear or not if it is also the same as a cell saver but I know the cell saver machine vacuums blood from the wound and recycles it through a cleaning process and back into the body. The cell saver machine was used with my dad's successful valve replacement in the early nineties.

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It does not sound like a normal cell salvage device, which washes and cleans Red Blood Cells. Britain has regular cell salvage, one congregation over there donated one to a hospital several years ago.

Thus from info given about new device is my opinion that it is a completely new generation of cell salvage, or even a new process entirely.

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The congregation that donated the cell salvage unit was close to our congregation and generated a lot of coverage at the time.  I personally felt that it was inappropriate for a congregation to do this as I thought it was insensitive to those whose conscience would not permit them to use the machine.  It is still very much a  conscience matter and whilst the gesture was well meaning it would undermine anyone who then did not want to use that treatment.  Imagine being a brother or sister in that hospital or where a doctor knew of this and being faced with the reasoning "well your organisation gave Newport NHS a machine so it must be alright". It would make the fight for them to stick to their conscience so much harder.

 

I think this technology is the same.  It sounds like it would fall into the same category as cell salvage so would be a conscience matter.

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It is not just one congregation nor is it just here in the UK that these machines and other machines like it have been donated by Jehovahs Witnesses to hospitals. A quick search on google shows lots of news stories around the world regarding this.

Edited by Mykyl
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I think a way around this conscience delima would be for a congregation who wished to make such a contribution

to do it anonymously. They could explain at that time that among our fellow believers this is a matter of conscience

and we do not wish to create problems for them by what our personal conscience will allow. This would show the

medical personel our genuine concern for our follow believers, and remove the somewhat showboat and carnival

atmosphere that appears to surround these donations. True the public would not know of these donations But Jesus

said; " When you go giving gifts of mercy, do not blow a trumpet ahead of yourselves, just as the hypocrites do.....

Truly I tell you, they are having their reward in full. " Matt 6:2

 

                                                                                                                                                   GStorrs46

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I haven't read the news articles but I seriously doubt that it was our brothers that was tooting their horns ahead of their donation or after for that matter. Does it not stand to reason that a hospital would want to show appreciation for such a large contribution to their ability to help all people that they would want to publicize it?

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It's a reasonable idea Michael however the funds used to purchase these units come from the congregation.  They are there for congregation purposes.  Generally with this sort of expense the will of the congregation is sought but that still infers that the conscience of individuals will not be taken into account, it's just a matter of having a majority rubber stamp the donation.  Indeed it is possible that the majority of the funds being used could have been donated by individuals whose conscience would not permit them to use a cell salvage unit.

 

I am not trying to be a Scrooge about this as I personally have no issue with cell salvage, I just think that it the society consistently avoids making reference to specific treatments in the medical world and this sets a useful precedence in the matter of cell salvage and the conscience of all of the congregation.

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Since we weren't at that congregation and don't know if it was "majority" or a "unanimous" decision, we shouldn't judge what the congregation did as being a "rubber stamp majority". There may have been a lot of conversations by all before a final decision was made. Regardless, one was made and the deed was done - we should respect it their decision. Really, who are we to question the will of another congregation.

 

I do agree that cell salvage or dialysis is a conscience matter, but - in my experience - this is one that the VAST majority of God's people are OK with. This seems very different from a conscience matter regarding blood fractions.

 

How about we stick with this story rather than hijacking the thread and talking about a different one?

 

I am happy she was able to get her surgery done and with a QUICK recovery. Turns out we JWs aren't so crazy after all, eh? Instead we are making things better for all. You have to love our God for teaching us well.   :wub:

Edited by trottigy
EEK!! deed NOT deAd
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It's a reasonable idea Michael however the funds used to purchase these units come from the congregation.  They are there for congregation purposes.  Generally with this sort of expense the will of the congregation is sought but that still infers that the conscience of individuals will not be taken into account, it's just a matter of having a majority rubber stamp the donation.  Indeed it is possible that the majority of the funds being used could have been donated by individuals whose conscience would not permit them to use a cell salvage unit.

 

I am not trying to be a Scrooge about this as I personally have no issue with cell salvage, I just think that it the society consistently avoids making reference to specific treatments in the medical world and this sets a useful precedence in the matter of cell salvage and the conscience of all of the congregation.

I replied to this topic last night,but i'll try again,i can't remember clearly whether the congregations donated money directly,but i seem to remember brothers being asked to consider donating money toward the purchase of cell salvage machines & laser scalpels etc for local hospitals,for use with both witness & non witness patients.

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  • 4 weeks later...

 I found these interesting complimentary websites:

Here is a picture of the Hemosep blood filtering machine - parts were made using a 3D computer printing machine.
http://www.additiveanalytics.com/blog/blood-recycling-machine-developed-3d-printer-undergoes-successful-patient-trials/

Here is the Brightwake engineering developer's website page about the machine:
http://www.brightwake.co.uk/hemosep-blood-processing-developed-at-brightwake-ltd_N3.html

Advancis website that make the commercial version of the machine:
http://www.advancissurgical.com/hemosep/clinical-benefits/

Here is a BBC news report showing Professor Gourley explaining how it works and you can see it working. As Musky explained once though, the BBC is not available in his quadrant of the Universe, so may not be available in yours either:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-1

 

2004 we helped raise funds for cell saver machines in our county of the UK - not this machine though as it wasn't around then. The congregations in our area did not do this as a whole because: 

1. This is not what the congregation or the Hall is really set up for spiritually or legally as is read in our obligatory yearly Annual General Meeting.

2. It is a conscience matter and some would not be comfortable with it, so they would not be pressured to be part of anything they may feel bad about.

 

  A brother at Wigton congregation, who works in our National Health Service and knew us, sent us a private email explaining that he was joining a registered charity that other brother's in the country had set up solely for the purpose of helping raise funds for this specific purpose. He sent us a Pdf file of information about the cell saver and a special scalpel that sealed as it cut to lessen interoperative bleeding.

 

He explained that he knew these things were a matter of conscience, so we should not have anything announced at the meeting or pinned on any Kingdom Hall Noticeboard. We were just to let people know privately and leave it up to them if they wished to help with fund-raising or not. 

 

The brother and some of the HLC had organised a seminar at a big conference centre, the Reghed Centre - just off our main Motorway the M6 and invited doctors, consultants and surgeons to it, along with makers of the machines & scalpels and any from the congregations who were happy to listen to the recorded TV news reports on the machine's good work in hospitals already and 'Powerpoint presentations'and talks by some of the HLC and a local surgeon who is a Witness. Over 30 medical professionals in the county turned up and were seated on the front rows of the theatre.

 

In the following week, my husband volunteered to co-ordinate those who felt OK about this, to have one Saturday after Ministry to donate to and. if they wished, help out at a large car-boot sale and we raised quite a good amount. Some of what was left we sold on a charity site on Ebay. We sent the cheques to the brother at Wigton who added it to a charity bank account opened specially for this fund. We were privately sent updates on the progress of the fund and Carlisle City Infirmary and Dumfries General Hospital received cell saver equipment and Lancaster City, if I remember correctly, got the special scalpel. I remember shortly after this I heard from an HLC brother that 30 hospitals in UK benefited from a Cell Saver machine this way.

 

This all happened in 2 months and did not affect our Ministry or other duties, no brothers/sisters were asked to join in whose congregation needed funds for a new/refurbished Kingdom Hall under the old Hall funding arrangement.

Edited by retroHelen
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