(Investigator 124, 2009 January)

[The following was researched in 1973 by several Jehovah's Witnesses,
used privately by a few people in the sect, and is now made available to Investigator.]

The book THE RIVER OF LIFE says:
'The ancient Egyptians, Jews and Syrians practiced blood transfusions, believing that it restored health by restoring the soul. One of the earliest references to blood transfusions in medicine describes how a Syrian warrior named Naam was treated for leprosy by a transfusion of blood. Transfusion was also accepted among the Greeks as a magical restorative…

The magical form of transfusion was practiced until recently by the Zulus. When a Zulu king fell ill, blood was taken from his healthy attendants and mixed with blood from the king. This reinforced blood was then introduced into the king's circulation through a tube to charge it with new strength and healing vigour.' (Pages 58 59)
Since the discovery of the circulation of the blood was announced by W. Harvey in 1628 A.D. how could ancient peoples perform transfusions without this knowledge?

According to THE RIVER OF LIFE (pages 70-75) various ancient peoples including Egyptians and Chinese did understand though not perfectly, the circulation of the blood, and this about 4,000 years ago.


About 7 million units of blood are transfused in the U.S.A. each year. These are given to less than 3 million patients. Thus patients receiving blood transfusion, receive on the average less than 2½ units each.

'In the average short term adult general hospital, the largest percentage of patients receiving transfusions should be those receiving the single unit — about 35% to 37%. About 25% will receive two, and about 12% will receive three units of blood.' (May 31, 1971, page 1490)

How much blood does a person have?
'A normal sized adult is roughly 7% whole blood by weight; hence a 70 kilogram man has a measurable volume of 4,900ml, if he is neither very obese nor cachetic.' (ILLINOIS MEDICAL JOURNAL April 1973, page 350)

ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA (1970, page 798) gives the blood volume of:
Adult male         -     5000ml
Adult female     -     4000ml.

Haemoglobin is the red oxygen carrying pigment in the red blood cells, which carries oxygen to the entire body.

The adult male has 12 to 17gm of haemoglobin per 100ml of blood.
The adult female has 11 to 15gm of haemoglobin per 100ml of blood.


Statistics for death or injury from blood transfusion are not precise, but note the following, which apply to the U.S.A.

JAMA 1970, page 461:
'Depending on whose figures you accept, the incidence of transfusion associated. hepatitis can be as low as 0.05% or as high as 8%…the National Academy of Sciences National Research Council estimates that blood transfusions result in 30,000 overt cases of hepatitis end as many as 3,000 deaths every year.'
SAGA March 1972, page 32 cites Dr. Albert Ehrlich, Director of Laboratories at St. Mary's Hospital in Hoboken, N.J. that:
'incompatible blood transfusions, that is transfusions of blood of the wrong type due to technical or administrative errors, killed over 5,000 patients in just one year.'
The Hobart MERCURY February 18, 1972, citing Dr. Garrott of Stanford University and also the Government's Centre for Disease Control gives the number of deaths as 10,000 to 35,000 and the number of medically injured as 75,000 to 500,000 every year from transfusions.

For certain other countries the figures are even more critical. Nobukatsu Shimada of Keio University in Japan, revealed that one out of every five patients surveyed who were given blood transfusions in 1969, later contracted hepatitis.

Australia, however, is better off with only 1 case of hepatitis per 1,000 blood transfusions.


What patients receive blood? The AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY (August 1971, page 24) gives these percentages for 1967:

Surgical        45%
Medical        33%
Obstetric        2% (mostly for post-partum haemorrhage)
Trauma        10%

For these patients would any treatment other than blood suffice?

JAMA Medical News (October 23, 1967):
'The use of Ringer's lactate solution has become as acceptable as whole blood in shock and surgery patients. But the key question of why it is effective and how much of the fluid to use remain controversial.'
JAMA (March 29, 1971) reports that 13 Jehovah's Witnesses who lost from 21% to 66% of their blood (that is up to 2600ml) were:
'…treated by infusion of crystalloid solution alone, supplemented by colloid plasma expander when necessary… Such solutions have varied in composition from simple sugar-water (5% glucose in water) to complex balanced buffered polyionic preparations (lactate Ringer's solution).'
Blood alternatives include:

Electrolyte solutions Destrose (sugar) solutions
Colloid solutions Saline solutions
Plasma and substitutes Ringer's lactate solution
Haemaccel (gelatine) solutions Coconut water

However, the above preparations merely maintain arterial pressure and give the heart something to pump. They do not contain haemoglobin and cannot transport oxygen. Hence they may not suffice when a person has lost more than 2/3 of his blood.

But even in such cases successful treatment is possible.

 JAMA June 16, 1969, page 2051 discusses 'Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in Chronic Hemorrhagic Shock.' This involves giving the patient pure oxygen to breathe under a pressure of 2 atmospheres in a recompression chamber. This enabled patients with hematocrit values of 7% to 10% to survive even though prior to this treatment death seemed imminent. (Hematocrit value refers to the % of red cells compared to the total blood volume, and is normally 45%)

In anaemia (lack of red oxygen carrying blood cells), red cell production can be assisted by taking iron and liver shots, vitamin B12 and folic acid. Though an adult has a hemoglobin level of 15 gram normally, one can survive with as little as 2½ gram.

LANCET August 20, 1960:
'A loss of up to 600ml (of blood) in the old or debilitated, or 1000ml in the healthy patient, can be called moderate.'
Until the 19th century, another medical practice known as blood-letting was common for all sorts of ailments. Most patients survived. But they survived not because of it, but IN SPITE of it.

Could the situation in blood transfusions now be similar?

In recent years scientists have been working with perfluorochemical compounds to produce a blood substitute. These compounds can dissolve twice as much oxygen and carbon dioxide as whole blood. Experimental animals have had 100% of their blood replaced by perfluorochemical emulsions with no identifiable ill effects. Perhaps this or some other preparation will eventually supersede Ringer's lactate solution (which does not transport oxygen or carbon dioxide) or even entirely supersede blood-transfusion which as already shown can be dangerous. (See: AWAKE! 1973 June 22 & July 8)

There are still other ways in which blood transfusions can be and are being reduced in number:
1.    By having more doctors at work during a serious operation. THE ADVERTISER 19/7/72 mentions how an 11-man team of doctors performed a successful heart operation without blood in 75 minutes.

2.    Freezing parts of the body to be excised. Liquid nitrogen is circulated through a metal probe. Applicable especially for deep tumours in brain or body, or for complex malformation of blood vessels in the brain. (See NEW SCIENTIST 1969, January 30, page 228) Tumours, once frozen can in many cases be left in place.

3.    Phototherapy for Jaundice seems superior to exchange transfusions which have fatal results in 1% to 10% of cases. Even the feeding of charcoal to the baby has good results. (See: THE PEDIATRIC CLINICS of N.A. May 1972; MEDICAL WORLD 1967 February 17)

4.    For fulminant hepatitis, exchange transfusions do not increase the survival rate. In one trial 8 out of 8 died who had transfusions but 9 out of 13 who had no treatment. (THE LANCET January 6, 1973)

5.    Cutting and tying the cord immediately after childbirth leads to unnecessary complication. It is better to wait until the blood in the placenta has drained into the baby, thus supplying the baby with an additional 90ml of blood. The placenta, much reduced in size is then delivered in ¼ to ½ the usual time. Furthermore, blood transfusion for post partum haemorrhage is 'never necessary'. (NEW SCIENTIST 1968, September 26)

Statistics of heart surgery without blood transfusions:

Number of Patients Number Who Survived     %
86% JAMA Dec. 12, 1966
83% JAMA    “      “      “
90% JAMA Aug 10, 1970
99% Awake! Aug. 8, 1970
Journal of Cardiology

How does this compare with similar surgery with blood transfusions?

JAMA August10 1970, page 1034:
'Results in this series of Jehovah's Witnesses undergoing major vascular surgery compare favourably with results in other patients who receive similar operations.'
THE AUSTRALIAN (17/7/73) has an article about Dr. Michael Debakey of Texas who in a 25-year period performed 25,000 heart operations (presumably with blood transfusions). His success rate for all types of heart surgery was 90%. This is roughly equal to the percentages above for heart surgery without blood transfusions.


Acts 15:29 and 15:20 "You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from BLOOD, from the meat of strangled animals and from fornication."

The Greek word 'apekomai' occurs 6 times in the New Testament.
It does NOT mean 'don't eat' but has a wider meaning:
1 Thess.4:3                '…keep away from fornication.'
1 Thess.5:22              '…avoid every form of evil.'
1 Timothy 4:3             '…abstaining from foods which God created.'
1 Peter 2:11               '…keep yourselves free from the selfish passions  that attack the soul.'

The command not to eat blood was given to Noah and to his 3 sons and applies also to all their descendants. Genesis 9:1,3 4, 7, 9.

To decide whether blood transfusions violate this command, we must first find out WHY God wants man not to eat blood. Consider the following reasoning:

I. God is the source of life. Psalm 36:9; 16:11; 66:9; 103:4; Job 10:12; Ecclesiastes 8:15.

2. Hence everything with life belongs to God. Ezekiel 18:4.

3. The soul or life is in the blood. Genesis9:4; Leviticus 17:11,14.

4. It follows that blood with its life belongs to God. Animals and vegetation were given to man to eat but not blood. Genesis 9:3 4

The New World translation (Genesis 9:5) says 'YOUR blood of YOUR souls shall I ask back. From the hand of ever living creature shall I ask it back.'

Thus blood belongs to God and God wants it back. How does God receive the blood back?

In the case of animals slaughtered for food, the blood was to be poured onto the ground. (Leviticus 17:13 14; Deuteronomy 12:15 16) In the case of human beings, they were buried after death and hence the blood was no longer used. Along with the body it returned to the ground or back to dust from which it was originally made. (Genesis 2:7)

Another reason why God commands not to eat blood:
Leviticus 17:11 'Because it is the blood that makes atonement by the soul in it.' (New World Translation)

Blood was and is sacred and figured importantly in the animal sacrifices which brought temporary reconciliation between God and man. These sacrifices and the pouring out of blood foreshadowed the sacrifice and pouring out of the blood of Christ. (John 19:34; Hebrews 7:26; 8:3; 9:11 14)

Note how David applied God's command against blood. He refused to drink plain water and poured it out instead because three men had risked their lives or their blood in obtaining the water for him. 2 Samuel 23:13 17; 1 Chronicles 11:15 19. Hence one might ask: What comes closer to violating the command to 'not eat blood':
A.    Drinking plain water acquired at the risk of someone's life?
B.    Having blood put directly into one's veins?


MODERN MEDICINE (September 15 1956)
'An appreciable risk of immediate or delayed morbidity and mortality accompanies every blood transfusion.'
'It will take some time and effort to rid our medical culture of the unfounded notion that transfusion is a tonic, or that it may reduce toxicity or hasten convalescence or improve wound healing.'
'No transfusion should ever be given if other therapy will suffice.'
JAMA 1970 (page 1034):
'We have found that blood transfusion is not a necessary accompaniment to vascular surgery, but indeed has certain disadvantages such as the risk of hepatitis.'
'Blood transfusion carries by far the greatest risk of anything we infuse into patients, and yet it remains a popular practice among us medicos… why use the stuff? For patients who have lost some of their circulating volume we have alternatives… Electrolyte solutions, Colloid solutions, plasma substitutes.'
'Complete elimination of blood transfusion during and after perfusion has been accomplished in Jehovah's Witnesses with no apparent increase in operative risks.'
THE BIBLE — Acts 15:29  'You are to abstain from…blood.'

A response to the above was published in Investigator 127 and is also on this website.

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