Blood transfusion from the dead?

Trying not to seem insensitive, but to ask a serious question:

In an emergency situation, like on the battlefield, can blood be taken from the recently dead for transfusion?

This was prompted by watching the scene from Pearl Harbour [minor spoiler?] where the pilots are asked to donate blood while victims are dying around them.

Blood coagulates pretty fast…

Many people are a bit sensitive about desecrating corpses and a facility set up on the battlefield to harvest blood from corpses (many of whom have probably suffered massive blood loss anyway) wouldn’t go down well. It wouldn’t be terribly efficient either I guess. But yes, blood can be harvested from cadavers - the pioneering work was done in the former USSSR by Shamov and Yudin in the 1920s and 30s.

every once in a while the SDMB brings up a WOW[sup]TM[/sup] question. This is definitely one of them.

I know i’m gonna donate my blood to the SDMB when i die.

How fast is fast? Five minutes?

I don’t mean any offense to those who would be sensitive to this issue. I’m a “just-an-empty-shell” person myself. I would be sensitive to letting someone die if the blood they needed was sitting unused a few feet away. But that’s just my opinion. At the same time I can understand how some people would find that offensive.

When a sensitive mortician is preparing a body for burial for their sensitive clients, isn’t the blood removed from the body? Is this considered desecration?

Gee. I’m never posted a Wow question before.

I fear this may be changing from a General Question into a Great Debate.

Knowing nothing about medicine, he asks…

Can you do a simple field test to ensure correct blood groups, or is that a lab only test?

Well if they knew they were going to do this they could test everyone beforehand and have them wear tags to identify their type.

For information here.


It can be done (provided of course the people didn’t die of an infectious disease), it’s just easier to carry bags of blood or plasma than it is to set up a collection and transfusion system on a battlefield. Add to that the fact that the blood of people that have experienced serious trauma is usually loaded with powerful chemicals, both naturally occurring and administered by a desperate medic and you get blood that may not be ideal to give to a wounded person.

But it is possible. As an interesting side note, an American doctor from Michigan also proved in a series of studies in the 1960’s that cadaver blood could be used safely and effectively for transfusions. His name?

Dr. Jack Kevorkian