Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Looming Blood Surplus: A Case Study in Supply and Demand

A market for blood? Many Americans, used to being rewarded for a donation with a warm feeling of talking to WPTV of West Palm Beach, Florida.
public service rather than cold cash, might see the idea as offensive. “I would guess 99 percent of people don't know that blood is sold,” says Ben Bowman, CEO of General Blood, a national blood brokerage firm,

Yes, there is a blood market, a big one with a turnover of $3 billion per year by some accounts, and it is entering a period of turmoil.


Just a few years ago, people thought an aging population, in need of more hip replacements and heart bypasses, would mean an endlessly rising demand for blood. In recent years, though, doctors have come to realize that transfusions, life-saving though they can be, have a downside. The cost of unnecessary transfusions is one consideration, but the risk of transmitting disease is the real negative.

As anesthesiologist, Josh Martini remarked to Minnesota Public Radio, "I was told in medical school, 'don't bother giving one unit, you should just give two if you're going to give any.'" Now, he says, the mantra is changing to "why give two, when one will do?">>>Read More

Follow this link to view or download a brief slideshow with supply-and-demand graphics that can be used as an in-class quiz or independent reading for students.

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