Stoker—231–Title Goes Here

Heather

Mother, knitter, spinner, writer, wife, weaver, host...not necessarily in that order...

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3 Responses

  1. Heather says:

    From awesome listener Pam:

    Okay, I know I’m WAY late to the conversation, but I just had to provide a little clarification from a modern-day point of view to episode 231, where van Helsing transfuses Lucy. I realize that this is a whole lot more than you ever wanted to know on the subject of blood transfusion, but you’ve taught me a lot about literature and it seems only fair that I, an immunohematologist (blood bank specialist), return the favor.

    As you said, transfusion was practiced in extreme circumstances in the 19th century. The odds of success for a first transfusion were around 35-40%; another 25% of recipients would likely have some sort of reaction, and the rest were likely toast. The odds start to drop with subsequent transfusions – that 35-40% figure is the likelihood that a single donor-recipient pair will be an exact ABO match, but the odds go down when a second donor is added. Individually, there’s a 45% chance that Lucy OR Arthur OR John was group O (40% chance that any one of them was group A, 11% for group B, 4% for group AB). But when you start adding variables (donors), the odds go down – the chance that two of them would be group O is 20%, and the likelihood that all three are group ) is 9%. That said, given that Lucy would certainly have died without the transfusion, the odds looked pretty good.

    Notice that in the paragraph above I was talking about a first transfusion; if a recipient gets multiple transfusions from the same donor, there is a chance that she would have developed antibodies to an antigen in one of the blood group systems other than ABO. The most common of these is the Rh system. If you’re Rh Pos (85% of the Caucasian population), you have the D antigen from that system; if you’re Rh Neg (the remaining 15%), you don’t have the D antigen and can make antibodies to it. Making those antibodies takes a few days/weeks, but if the recipient gets another Rh Pos transfusion at a later date, the results would be catastrophic, possibly fatal. This is a particular problem if the donor is the recipient’s husband. An Rh Pos father and Rh Neg mother have a 50% or 100% chance of having an Rh Pos child; if the mother has Rh antibodies, that baby would die in utero (in Victorian times; prophylactic measures can be taken now).

    Defibrination – Arthur’s age and vigor have absolutely nothing to do with the speed at which his blood would clot. The only variable that would affect clotting would be how quickly van Helsing could get the blood from Arthur into Lucy.

    And finally, your skin turning green and pale after the technician drew those 7 vials of blood from you for testing. Sorry, but your reaction was strictly psychological. Even the large vials only hold 10 ml (the small ones hold 5 ml), so the total amount of blood you lost was probably less than 50 ml, or a little more than 3 tablespoons. That doesn’t mean that you didn’t really feel ill afterwards; even the biggest, burliest football player can go out like a light from having blood drawn. It just means that your brain accidentally told your blood pressure to drop!

  2. emwall24 says:

    Where might I find the nifty blog button for Dracula? I remember seeing it a few episodes back but now that I am actually updating my sidebar I can’t find it. Doh. Thanks!