Synthetic blood

I gave blood yesterday and couldn’t help noticing that blood donation is a microcosm for why health care is so expensive.  It requires staff to contact and recruit volunteers. A team of nurses to screen the subjects and draw blood, which requires using  multiple single-use items like needles and tubes.  The blood would then have to be tested for pathogens like hepatitis and HIV and then be stored.  While people mostly blame the increase in technology for why health care costs keep increasing, I think the main reason is that quality control must be installed at every step and this takes a lot of effort and people.  If we accepted more risk, health care could be cheaper.  However, I also think that technology could be a means to lowering health care costs.  For example, just think how much money we could save if we had a reliable source of inexpensive synthetic blood.  In fact, I think this may be a perfect application for  stem cells.  Instead of blood donation centers we would have factories of reactors with hematopoietic stem cells producing all blood types 24/7.

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