The mission of the MedStar International Training Center for Bloodless Medicine (MedStar Bloodless) is to improve quality of care and patient safety for Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide by providing free training in the tools and techniques of bloodless medicine and surgery. Why would a leading healthcare system undertake such an initiative on behalf of a relatively small group of patients? And why does MedStar Bloodless belong in the MedStar Institute for Quality and Safety?
Dr. Stephen R.T. Evans, Medstar’s Chief Medical Officer, explains: “First, I believe strongly that a healthcare system should be, and ultimately will be, measured on how it serves not just some communities, but all communities that we are privileged to care for. Second, we now have a clear understanding of the evidence that supports outcomes that are significantly better when you do not use blood transfusions in managing patients. In serving the Jehovah’s Witness community, we gain expertise in strategies that improve the standard of care and enhance shared decision-making processes for all patients.”
Dr. David Mayer, Executive Director, MedStar Institute for Quality and Safety, adds: “The MedStar Institute for Quality and Safety places the highest priority on engaging patients in shared decisions around treatment choices, as well as maintaining an ongoing, open and honest, two-way conversation throughout the care being delivered. This model promises to improve the quality and safety of patient care for the Witness population, and lessons learned from MedStar Bloodless promise to improve quality and safety of care for all patients.”
Other patients who can benefit from the lessons learned in treating Jehovah’s Witnesses include:
- Patients for whom no matched blood is available
- Patients in circumstances where no blood is available
- Patients who wish to avoid the risks of blood transfusion
Bloodless medicine is quality healthcare without the use of blood transfusion. It is an evidenced-based, collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach developed to treat Jehovah’s Witnesses, whose rights, as well as their needs, values, preferences, and goals for treatment have, historically, often been denied because they refuse blood transfusion. The techniques of bloodless medicine and surgery have been used in the general patient population to improve outcomes, shorten length of stay, and reduce hospital costs. By offering free training and helping hospitals to establish programs for bloodless medicine and surgery, we are addressing an urgent need.
Interested in starting a bloodless program?
Learn how you can implement a bloodless program in your institution.
Are you a patient?
Learn more about bloodless medicine and surgery.