Attrition: Bad Blood


April 13, 2009: During the peak of the fighting in Iraq (2004-7) so many casualties sometimes arrived at the same time that military hospitals ran out of screened (according to U.S. standards) blood. Blood had to be collected locally, and was not screened (for things like AIDs and mad cow disease) to federal standards. Samples of that blood were later screened, and found 1.8 out of a thousand units of blood were contaminated (60 percent with Hepatitis C and the rest with T-cell lymphotropic virus, which sometimes leads to leukemia.) Of the 25,000 U.S. soldiers treated, seven received contaminated blood, and one came down with Hepatitis C. Hundreds of additional deaths would have occurred if the local blood was not used. By 2007, the Department of Defense had screening capabilities in Iraq, so that all locally collected blood could be checked for any diseases.



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