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Understanding Blood and Blood Components

Bloodless Chart

Learn more about blood and 'minor blood fractions' with this helpful interactive chart.

Related Classes & Events

Bloodless Medicine

Bloodless Neurosurgery

Would you travel 1000 miles for Bloodless Surgery?

as told by Diosdado Rodriguez of Miami, Florida

Back in 2000 I was weight training and while straining my neck I felt it crack. I felt pain immediately and over time began to notice strange symptoms including tingling in my hand and thumb, stabbing pain in the left side of my chest and pain in by back. MRI revealed that I had herniated disks at the cervical 5-6 and 6-7 levels with narrowing of the spinal canal. During the next few years I saw four neurosurgeons and they all said the same thing. If the symptoms did not resolve then I would require bi-level removal of 5-6 and 6-7 cervical disks together with fusion (the use of cadaver bone graft obtained from the bone bank, or the use of a piece of bone taken from my own hip and placed where the removed disks used to be) and the use of a titanium plate with six screws to hold the bone graft together. As anyone can imagine, the use of fusion and a metal plate did not sound very appealing to me, so I decided to endure the pain while looking for other options.

My search for other options though was not working out. Additionally my symptoms were worsening to the point that I was starting to consider having the recommended surgery. I made one last attempt to find another option on the Internet and found Dr. Hae-Dong Jho, Director of the Jho Institute for Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. I sent my MRI’s to Dr. Jho’s office. They told me that it appeared that I was a good candidate for successful surgery without a fusion or plate, but that the final decision was pending a clinical evaluation at the office.

I flew to Pittsburgh for an appointment on December 18, 2006. Surgery was tentatively scheduled for December 19. This was not easy, we were going to be a thousand miles away from our family and friends. Our biggest concern was the fact that as a Jehovah’s Witness, I do not accept the use of blood transfusions. I knew that I would need to address this with Dr. Jho. My wife and I were mentally and spiritually prepared to return to Miami without surgery if Dr. Jho did not agree to operate without the use of transfusions.

On the day of the appointment, Dr. Jho was very thorough in his explanation and took time to answer all my questions. “You will not regret having the surgery done”, he said. Now it was my turn. “I agree to the surgery but there is one condition that I need for you to respect. Due to my spiritual convictions I do not accept blood transfusions, even if my life depended upon it. Do you agree to this?” Dr. Jho looked at me, put his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘Don’t worry, I never use blood for this procedure, besides, this is a Bloodless Center.’ He then arranged for me to meet the Bloodless Medicine Coordinator.

The Bloodless Medicine coordinators talked to me about my wishes and documented my decisions. They also visited my wife several times while I was in surgery. My wife later told me that she felt like she was in the company of true friends with the coordinators, even though we had met just the day before.

The next day, Dr. Jho informed me that everything had gone well and I could be discharged home! Only a one night stay for this major surgery! Since then my symptoms have continued to lessen and my strength has improved. I am glad to have been able to keep my own disks and avoid a metal plate and screws. Having this minimally invasive surgery was worth the inconvenience of traveling as far as I did.

It is my opinion that persons living near Pittsburgh are very fortunate to have a comprehensive Center for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery near to them. I am recommending the Center to everyone I come across that is suffering from conditions that could benefit from a bloodless center. A friend of mine from North Carolina is planning on going to Allegheny General for his condition. For my wife and I, it was definitely worth the trip.

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