Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Dr. JJ van Loghem (In Memoriam)

Whether we know it or not, lifelong blood bankers have many names buried in our consciousness just from seeing them over and over again. For me, one such name was "van Loghem."

JJ (Joghem) van Loghem died on August 3, 2005. Dr. van Loghem was the scientific director of the Central Laboratory of the Netherlands Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service (CLB) from 1950–78 and was the president of several organizations, including the Society of the Netherlands Cancer Institute.

Among Dr. van Loghem's many accomplishments:
  • First person to detect what is now known as human platelet antigen 1a, alloantibodies to which are the most common cause of neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia (NAIT) in Caucasians
  • One of the founders of Vox Sanguinis (formerly Bulletin of the CLB, founded in1951)
  • Served as Vox Sang's first editor (1956–1960)
  • Awarded the AABB Karl Landsteiner Memorial Award in 1964

JJ van Loghem truly was one of transfusion medicine's pioneers. To read more about his extraordinary life, if you are an AABB member, see his obituary in Transfusion Nov. 2005; 45(11):1823.

New on TraQ

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Marcela Contreras receives first "International Woman in Transfusion" Award

Dr. Marcela Contreras
Marcela Contreras, Professor of Transfusion Medicine, Royal Free Hospital Medical School and National Director of Diagnostics Development and Research, NBS London, UK, has received the first-ever "International Woman in Transfusion Award."
As I wrote in an earlier blog (13 Nov. 2004), in 2004 three of the major transfusion medicine organizations in the world were led by women, and to honour the occasion, the organizations (AABB, BBTS, and ISBT) created this award.

The award recognizes women professionals whose cumulative record – in original research, innovative educational methods or outstanding clinical practice –demonstrates important and significant contributions to the body of medical and/or scientific knowledge or to the understanding and practice of transfusion medicine.

Dr. Contreras, MD, FRCP, FRCPath, is an active member of AABB, BBTS and ISBT and served as ISBT president (1996-98) and BBTS president (2001-03). She has written 100s of scientific papers (sample Medline citations) and many textbooks, including “Blood Transfusion in Clinical Medicine” with P.L. Mollison and C.P. Engelfriet.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Br Med J illustrations available as PowerPoint slides

The British Medical Journal has introduced several new features this week.

The one I like best allows readers to turn illustrations from BMJ articles into PowerPoint slides. It works for illustrations such as graphs and figures but not for tables.

After finding the desired illustration, select "View larger version" [in this window] or [in a new window], and then click on "PowerPoint Slide for Teaching."

Give the resulting Powerpoint slide a descriptive name and save it to your desktop or appropriate folder.

Try it out with any of the figures in this article:
Serious hazards of transfusion (SHOT) initiative: analysis of the first two annual reports. Br Med J 1999 Jul 3;319:16-9.

See the other new features:

What's New on TraQ

Thursday, August 25, 2005

NCBI (PubMed) toolbar

The NCBI (includes PubMed) has a toolbar (in beta testing) for use with either Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox.

If you use Google's toolbar, the NCBI toolbar is similar. Instead of choosing to search the web, news, images, etc., (as in Google), the NCBI toobar allows you to select from several databases (PubMed, gene, nucleotide, all). As in Google, you can also highlight your search terms.

Read more and download here:

Cheers, Pat

What's New on TraQ

Automatic e-mail updates on PubMed

PubMed now offers automatic e-mail updates in conjunction with saved searches, which are now called "My NCBI" (formerly"cubby"). NCBI is the National Center for Biotechnology Information at the US National Library of Medicine.

The e-mail updates automatically notify you when new papers are published with your search criteria and can be scheduled for various periods (daily, weekly, monthly). It's a nice feature for monitoring the latest literature. You can also log-in and run your saved searches at any time.

Get your free account here:

Cheers, Pat

What's New on TraQ

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Implementing new blood safety regulations in the UK

In the UK the NHS Operational Impact Group (OIG) has released its final report on implications of the new regulations on transfusion services, including financial implications. It's fascinating and it's now on TraQ.

For example, they have decided that some activities currently done by hospital transfusion labs might be classified as "processing" under the new regulations and therefore can only be carried out by licensed "Blood Establishments" (blood suppliers - their National Blood Service) after 8 Nov. 2005. Processing includes pooling cryoprecipitate, irradiating components, splitting components, and washing red cells.

The result is that either hospital transfusion services will need to get licensed (like the blood supplier) or else the NBS has to do all the processing for them. There are also other implication for traceability, quality systems, training, and hemovigilance.

TraQ has been following events in the UK related to implementing the EU blood directive because Canada is in a somewhat similar situation. The main difference is that the Canadian standard that affects transfusion services (CSA Standard Z902-04) is not yet regulation. The Canadian Society for Transfusion Medicine (CSTM) has also revised its standards for hospital transfusion services to provide a user friendly equivalent of the CSA standards.


Cheers, Pat

What's New on TraQ

Friday, July 15, 2005

Usurpation of identity (more...)

Here's another example sent by a colleague in BC, Canada (names are changed):

We had a patient a few weeks ago who got into a fight while out with friends at a bar. He was brought into Emergency and crossmatched under
“Fred Flintstone”. He did not have a historical record so no one was the wiser.His friends even called him “Fred”. Who was to know?

Well,the police were notified and came to the hospital to investigate....Ooops! As he was about to go into the OR, a police officer recognized him as “Barney Rubble”. He was using a friend’s ID because he was well known to them and under house arrest!

All specimens were discarded, redrawn and retested. The record under the original name was expunged.

Cheers, Pat

What's New on TraQ

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Dr. Jack Bowman (In Memoriam)

Updated: 19 Mar. 2014 (Revised broken links)

Dr. Jack Bowman, AABB Karl Landsteiner Memorial Award recipient, 2001, a transfusion medicine pioneer, and one of the world's leading experts in treating and preventing hemolytic disease of the newborn, died on May 22:
I was privileged to work with Dr. Bowman at the Canadian Red Cross BTS in Winnipeg from 1967 to 1977, after I joined the organization as a child prodigy <;-)
  • Dr. B was group O Rh negative and often would donate his own blood for exchange or intrauterine transfusions (IUTs) when we were out of fresh O negs on the weekends
  • His twin brother Bill wore a bow tie, making it easy to differentiate "bow tie Bill" from Dr. B
  • Seeing him literally scurry about the donor room as he managed the plasmapheresis sessions of his "Rh ladies" who donated their anti-D for the production of Rh immune globulin. All of these women had had at least one baby die from HDN and at least one saved by an IUT managed by Dr. B. Their respect and affection for him was obvious to all.
  • Getting the chance to work on many of Dr. B's projects, including monitoring anti-D production in Rh negative women who volunteered for the clinical trial of prenatal Rh immune globulin at 28 weeks gestation; monitoring the antibody titres of the women who donated anti-D for Rh immune globulin and were boosted periodically with D+ red cells; working as a go-fer during plasmapheresis of the "Rh ladies"
  • Getting to donate anti-B (being group A) via plasmapheresis and experiencing the 5-minute transfusion of my cold autologous red cells
  • Once when I came to Dr. B about a patient with a difficult serologic problem, he looked at me and said, "You tell me, Pat. You're the expert." As someone who believes that we recall life mainly as a series of short encounters, this is one of my defining moments. It was the first time that someone in a position of professional authority had told me that my knowledge and experience had value. Simple, but all too rare.
  • Dr. B was the prototype of the busy professional who had far too much to do - university professor, medical director of a combined blood centre and transfusion service, director of another major laboratory (the "Rh Laboratory" pioneered by Bruce Chown and Marion Lewis), director of the Rh Institute, a pharmaceutical plant that developed intravenous Rh immune globulin (Win Rho), clinician who treated fetuses and newborns with HDN, husband and father.
Yet he was also the type of man who, years after I left the Red Cross, an organization with many technologists and nurses since it was not only the province's sole blood centre but also the transfusion service for all of Winnipeg, would never fail to recognize me at conferences and find time for a chat that showed he remembered.
Besides the many mothers and children affected by his work, Dr. B will be missed by everyone who had the good fortune to work with him. He was a "oner" - an all round good guy and true giant in transfusion medicine, a pioneer who played a key role in one of our greatest success stories, the prevention of Rh hemolytic disease of the newborn

I encourage you to add a comment below.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Finding free full text articles in PubMed

PubMed Central provides access to journals that provide free full text articles but did you know that a better way to get free full text articles is by using PubMed's "Search Field Descriptions and Tags"?

Enter search terms as usual in PubMed
and add (exactly as shown): AND Free Full Text [Filter]

Try this search:
transfusion AND platelets AND 2004:2005[dp] AND English[la] AND Free Full Text [Filter]

For more search tips and resources, see my personal search page:

What's New on TraQ

Monday, April 18, 2005

Usurpation of identity

A recent letter to the editor in Transfusion caught my eye:
Zimmermann R, J, Weisbach V, Eckstein R. ABO discrepancy by usurpation of identity Transfusion 2005 Mar; 45(3):454.

Over the years I have seen 2 cases of usurpation of identity, both while working in the centralized transfusion service of the Canadian Red Cross (now Canadian Blood Services) in Winnipeg, Canada. For U.S. readers, Winnipeg's blood system is similar to that of the Puget Sound Blood Center - a combined blood center/transfusion service, with a centralized crossmatch facility serving the city of Winnipeg and smaller sites across the province.

In one case, an unconscious young man was admitted to the emergency department of a local hospital following a car accident. A blood group done on his current sample was different than the historical record. It turned out that he was carrying his friend's identity card in order to meet the legal age of drinking alcohol.

The second case involved a young women who was having a therapeutic abortion. Similarly, her current blood group differed from her historical record. Once questioned, she admitted to passing herself off as her friend, to the point of deceiving a physician. The reason for the deception was social, not financial, since Canada, like most of the developed world, has universal healthcare.

In both instances, the discrepancy would not have been caught were it not for the record. No harm would have come to the perpetrators since they would have received blood of the correct groups, based on their current typing results. In the future, however, such deception might have consequences for their friends, should they ever require blood products based on historical records alone.

In the USA where many people lack health insurance, such deception may be more widespread.

Regardless, although records play a major role in preventing misidentification, both cases illustrate the importance of not relying on records.

If you have first-hand knowledge of similar cases of identity theft in patients requiring transfusion, please e-mail me. Many thanks!

Cheers, Pat

What's New on TraQ

Friday, March 11, 2005

"Who's who" in Transfusion Medicine- Mike Murphy

Thought it would be fun to do some blogs on "Who's who" in transfusion medicine, especially those involved in hot topics.

A current hot topic is use of mistake-proofing tools such as electronic blood transfusion systems using bar codes or RFID. One of the recent TraQ case studies includes a section on mistake-proofing technology:
  • See TraQ Case O-2

    One of the experts actively involved in new technology is Dr. Mike Murphy from John Radcliffe Hospital and the University of Oxford:
  • Profile of Mike Murphy (BloodMed.com)
  • John Radcliffe develops e-prescribing for blood

    Some key papers:
  • Barcode identification for transfusion safety (Curr Opin Hematol 2004 Sep;11(5):334-8)

  • Barcode technology: its role in increasing the safety of blood transfusion (Transfusion 2003 Sep;43(9):1200-9)

  • Patient safety and blood transfusion: new solutions (Transfus Med Rev 2003 Jul;17(3):169-80)

    What's New on TraQ

    Cheers, Pat
  • Tuesday, February 08, 2005

    Access change at BMJ

    February 2005 marks a transition at the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

    Original research articles remain free but the full text of other articles (e.g., editorials and reviews) are free only for the first week after publication and then under access controls for the next 51 weeks, after which all content will once again be free.

    Since editorials and reviews are important sources of topic overviews, I recommend that users subscribe to the weekly alerts for the BMJ table of contents.

    Then be sure to access the editorials and reviews within one week. <;-)
    • Tip: "Save as" (under FILE menu): Save reviews and editorials to your desktop as web pages (.htm or .html files) for reading later at your leisure.

    What's New on TraQ

    Saturday, January 08, 2005

    Tsunami victims & Rh negative rbc

    Because I've always been interested in racial and ehtnic differences in blood groups, this news item from Thailand caught my eye:
    Rh negative blood needed in Thailand to treat western tsunami victims

    The frequency of the Rh(D) antigen in Caucasians in N.A and Europe is ~85% but has a frequency in parts of Asia approroaching 100%. It makes sense that western tourists requiring transfusion need other westerners to donate.

    See all
    transfuson-related tsunami news on TraQ

    What's New on TraQ