Surgeon carried out life-saving process on firefighter whose spiritual beliefs opposed blood transfusion


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Cold surgical procedure is a protected various for sufferers who don’t wish to obtain blood transfusions throughout surgical procedure, well being specialists informed Day by day Submit.  Cold surgical procedure helps people obtain the surgical procedure they want after they can’t or select to not obtain any blood or blood merchandise reminiscent of crimson and white blood cells, platelets, or plasma, Dr. Ismail El-Hamamsy, MD, PhD, the Director of Aortic Surgical procedure for Mount Sinai Well being System in New York, informed Day by day Submit. 

“It’s the holy grail – doing heart surgery without losing any blood,” El-Hamamsy, who makes a speciality of cold surgical procedure approach, informed Fox and added, “The ultimate goal is to avoid giving the patients any outside blood products or coagulation products.” 

The surgeon stated throughout cold coronary heart surgical procedure, physicians use meticulous surgical methods and modern procedures to attenuate surgical blood loss and keep away from the necessity for a transfusion. El-Hamamsy stated apart from offering peace of thoughts to those sufferers, there was research after research that present sufferers who don’t obtain blood transfusions have a greater restoration than those that obtain even a small quantity of blood. 

In accordance with specialists on the Johns Hopkins Medicine Center for Cold Medication and Surgical procedure in Baltimore, Maryland, analysis exhibits that sufferers who don’t obtain blood transfusions get better quicker, expertise fewer infections and have shorter hospital stays than those that did obtain blood.

Doctors moving a patient into surgery quickly.

Medical doctors transferring a affected person into surgical procedure shortly.


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Respecting a affected person’s spiritual beliefs to not obtain transfusions whereas making an attempt to avoid wasting their life is a troublesome predicament for a doctor to be in, well being specialists shared. El-Hamamsy stated it’s a troublesome dilemma that surgeons face.

“I know of a colleague that that has happened to, and they had to let the patient go and that’s a patient where a unit or two units of blood would have essentially saved their life.”

El-Hamamsy stated cold surgical procedure includes in depth talks with the affected person and the members of the family previous to the process to make sure all are on board within the occasion a blood transfusion is required and a life and loss of life resolution have to be made whereas adhering to the affected person’s needs. 

El-Hamamsy was confronted lately with the dilemma when Pete Cutrer, a 42-year-old firefighter and Jehovah’s Witness, was recognized with an aortic aneurysm, a situation that would result in instantaneous loss of life if untreated. Cutrer’s faith prevented him from receiving a blood transfusion. 

 El-Hamamsy, informed Fox information, “It’s heart surgery. Things can happen and if they happen – in this case, it is like jumping off a plane without a parachute – we cannot deploy the parachute though we know it exists. We just can’t press the button.”

Cutrer, a husband and a father of a 16-year-old boy, wanted surgical procedure, however informed Day by day Submit, it was difficult to discover a extremely expert surgeon who may tackle his aneurism and in addition be skilled in methods to forestall blood loss throughout surgical procedure to forestall want for a transfusion. 

A view of Mount Sinai hospital as Fener Greek Patriarch Bartholomew hospitalized in New York, on Nov. 3, 2021. 

A view of Mount Sinai hospital as Fener Greek Patriarch Bartholomew hospitalized in New York, on Nov. 3, 2021. 
(Betul Yuruk/Anadolu Company through Getty Pictures)

“This doctor would need to have a current knowledge of blood conservation techniques. One who could offer strategies to optimize my blood count before the surgery and strategies to help minimize blood loss during the surgery,” Cutrer informed Fox. Cutrer reached out to members of his Jehovah’s Witnesses international community who helped him discover physicians and hospitals that specialised in cold drugs. He was linked with Dr. El-Hamamsy’s staff from Mt. Sinai. 

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Cutrer informed Day by day Submit, “Even the doctors who refused to do my surgery without blood were respectful of my wishes. They simply didn’t have the experience to operate on me without blood. I appreciated their candor.”

El-Hamamsy informed Day by day Submit, “My approach is everybody out there has a certain belief I am not one to judge that this belief makes more sense than that belief.” 

The surgeon had in depth discussions with Cutrer and each had been ready for a doubtlessly unfavorable consequence if blood was wanted. “I spend a lot of time discussing it – these people really know what they are doing and they are well-educated about the whole thing. They understand it. Their families are in on it.”


El-Hamamsy additionally stated that it will be important sufferers who’re weary of receiving blood transfusion ask their surgeon what their fee of cold surgical procedures is with sure procedures, and stated that many elements can have an effect on the necessity for transfusions. He famous that with coronary heart surgical procedure, he must be on prime of his sport however for sufferers like Cutrer, one must be much more so. 

Surgeon prepares his tools

Surgeon prepares his instruments

“You come in even more prepared and ready to execute at an even higher level – I have a real distaste for any time any of my patients needs a blood transfusion so we try very hard to avoid getting to the point that a patient will need a transfusion, and that starts with meticulous surgery.” 

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Fortunately, it was a profitable cold surgical procedure and no transfusion was crucial. Cutrer is recovering and informed Day by day Submit his community of Jehovah’s Witnesses, which incorporates 9 million membersworldwide, could also be one of many driving forces in furthering the event of cold surgical procedures. 

As for the surgeon, he informed Day by day Submit, “It feels great – that’s why we do what we do. I have the best job in the world.”


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