Completely hypothetical: Suppose I am suspected for committing a crime. The police can obviously get your DNA via your trash since once it’s out in the road it’s public domain. They can ask me for the DNA. They can follow me and wait for me to drop a cigarette butt or something. Those are just a few examples. However, what if I went and gave blood to a bloodmobile that you have at work or see outside of Wal-Marts? Could they then go in and demand the blood or needles used to draw the blood?
I believe this is the way the police obtained a blood sample from a relative of the BTK suspect Dennis Rader. The police used his daughter’s blood, taken without her knowledge from an earlier blood test, and used it to compare to DNA the killer had left behind.
For the life of me I don’t know the answer to this question (I work in a blood bank), but I will find out because now I’m burning to know. Actually though, you mentioned blood you “donated”, so the answer I’m looking for is whether the unit of blood you donated is something they can take.
As far as blood drawn for the sake of testing though, yes, everynow and then we are called and asked to hold onto patient specimens for police investigational purposes. For example if you were in a drunk driving accident, or some other crime then yes the police can ask for and take the blood sample that was drawn in the Emergency Department and tested in the lab for substances of abuse (doesn’t matter what we used it for, just an example).
Now I will have to investigate whether or not confidentiality becomes an issue when actually donating blood. I can tell you that donor information is kept to track each unit with each donor (and always kept confidential). But I will try to find out more.
I have been wondering myself about something along these lines. But I was thinking more of the DNA and fingerprints that are currently being used as ‘child protection’ precautions. Y’know, if your kid gets snatched, we can use this information to identify his remains, confirm his blood is in the perp’s house, confirm he was in this airport, etc.
So I’m wondering if you do this and then at 16 your kid gets into some kind of trouble, say breaking and entering or car theft. Can the police then use the DNA or fingerprints to convict your child?
I found this, which suggests the question remains open:
IIRC, anything that leaves your body and comes under control of someone other than you, you no longer have any say over that thing.
Wait a minute.
When I go to donate blood, there’s always this elaborate procedure where the sample is given a number, and the number is not linked to me, and I can call in later and casually mention that I had unprotected anal sex in Africa for drugs while eating cow brains, in case I’m too embarrassed to admit it to a person, and too flustered to make something up, like “I don’t feel well.” I’ve always been given the impression that this procedure was done to protect my anonymity.
But, now that I think about it, assuming that one of their screening tests catches something, they’d have to have a way to notify me, right? So, is all that song and dance with the stickers and the secret number just for show?
I think the sticker thing is just to give you another out so that if your blood shouldn’t be in the donor supply you have another opportunity to take it out. Many people are too embarrassed to admit anything to a real person when they ask the questions. Many people will forget once they leave the bloodmobile. This way while they are there thinking about it they can take it out.
I don’t think it’s to protect your anonymity at all. I am pretty sure they can trace your blood to your from the time you give it to the time they give it to another person.
Thanks to everyone who has chimed in and helped!
No, no! Don’t go away, I am coming back with answers soon!