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In the U.S., we are given the right to make our own choices for what goes on with our bodies. Making the decisions and giving consent as well as refusing, it is up to the single person alone. As U.S. citizens we have that power and the right to do as such under any circumstance. Even with medical treatments, we are given the right to refuse any treatment or care. There are many reasons for someone not wanting to receive treatments or procedures whether it be invasive or not. “Consenting to treatment means a person must give permission before they receive any type of medical treatment, test, or examination.” Consent is required before going on with any medical treatment or procedure because the patient must be informed of the procedure or treatment, its benefits, risks, and possible outcomes. The procedure of donating blood is no different. Forcing a person to donate blood isn’t a good idea because it opposes some people’s religious beliefs, contradicts the law where forcing someone to even draw their blood is considered assault and inflicts some health risks with any blood draw.
Many people refuse to have their blood drawn due to their religious beliefs. There are quite a few religions that do not permit one’s blood to be drawn. Some examples of religions that prohibit medical treatment include Christian Scientists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Scientologists, as well as the Amish. These religious people believe in the healing of their faith and spirituality. “Fundamentalists tell us their lives are in the hands of God and we, as physicians are not God,” (Frankel). One’s religious beliefs should be respected no matter how ridiculous it may seem. Especially in a country that promotes the right to practice one’s religious beliefs such as the United States.
Mandatory donation for all would not work in these people’s benefit. It would be denying them of their basic rights as a citizen in this country. They believe in the healing power of prayer alone and that should be respected. By trying to morally fix something such as increasing blood donations it can completely cause new problems for many. Dr. Sloan, a professor of psychology says, “Too often, deference to religion in contemporary American society has resulted in us subordinating all other values.”
Drawing someone’s blood forcefully contradicts our laws. Unless a blood draw is warranted in the event of a crime it is impermissible. The phlebotomist or whoever draws the blood must obtain consent from the patient. If consent is withdrawn at any time or not even received from the patients the procedure or treatment should not go any further; If they are then restrained and forced to have their blood drawn in a routine blood draw it is considered as a form of assault and battery. Forcing anyone to donate violates their constitutional rights. Proceeding with the donation without consent then violates the fourteenth amendment; “to guarantee a wide array of rights against infringement by the states, including those enumerated in the Bill of Rights (freedom of speech, free exercise of religion, right to bear arms, etc.) as well as the right to privacy and other fundamental rights not mentioned elsewhere in the constitution.” It goes against the basic rules of consent. It’s even within the name itself “donating” blood. To donate is to voluntarily give something.
Especially nowadays we live in a world of people taking back their deserved rights to their own bodies. Many people are taking a stand in many situations involving the right to make choices for their own bodies. These situations include abortion, vaccines, consent, etc. Forcing someone to donate their blood is contradicting people’s right to make their own choices about all of these situations as well. How are people supposed to fight for the choices of their own bodies and have people restrained to insert a needle into their arms and draw their blood? Should donating organs and forcing vaccines to be legal and justified as well? This is a contradiction of everything known today.
During the training of a phlebotomist, they are taught that restraining/forcing a patient in the slightest way is not acceptable. Even if a physician were to order restraining/forcing a patient in blood draw the demands should not be met. Restraining a patient, can lead to anxiety for the patient and escalate a situation fairly quickly. This can lead to the phlebotomy technician to potentially injuring them as well. It is completely unsafe and unlawful to force a donation upon anyone against their free will.
Another reason a person might refuse to donate their blood is because of some of the health risks that can occur. Not only is the blood draw uncomfortable, but it is also a process that takes up to one hour and fifteen minutes. It can cause some redness, bleeding, and swelling around the site. A person may even feel weak or lightheaded post-donation. Although these symptoms usually go away within three days it is still something the patient should consider. The patients’ health should not be taken lightly in any way because any one of the symptoms listed does have an effect on them and they should choose whether or not to go through with them.
There are many reasons to go out and donate blood. One thing that is beneficial is that I can save lives. The only way to do this is by relying on people to donate. Even though it can save a life the reality is that not all blood donations are even used. So, although someone may have taken the time to go out of their way and donate their blood, the donation still has to go through vigorous testing and may end up being thrown out. Once a donation has happened the person who donated really does not know where their blood is going from there.
Not only may it not end up being used or even be used to save a life should this be a valid reason. Because donating organs can save a life. Does this mean that everyone should be forced to donate organs to the people who are in need of it? According to AHIP, “In the United States alone, approximately 42,000 of the 4.1 million children born each year would die early deaths as a result of diseases that could be prevented with vaccines.” Does this mean we should also allow vaccines to become mandatory or should we allow people to have their birthright in weighing out the pros and cons to decide what is best for themselves? Mandatory blood donation will only lead to chaos in being contradictory to many of the procedures and medical treatments being given as options today.
According to a survey taken by Carter Blood Care, the third top reason one should donate their blood is that it is one’s civic duty or the responsibility of every citizen. Although this could be a form of civic duty does not mean you must just do this one particular act. Someone could show and express their civic duty by accomplishing and participating in many other things. One’s civic duty can come in many forms such as voting, being an active member in your community, paying taxes, joining the military, etc. For example, it is our civic duty to join the military, so that means people should be forced to join. There is so much more out there for one to explore as their civic duty. As a citizen, they have a right to choose a form of civic duty to carry out and should not be forced into specific duties. It should not be limited to one specific thing such as blood donation.
Another reason one might consider a donation or be a reason for donation to be mandatory is that certain blood types are in high demand. For example, blood types such as AB are needed to be donated. According to Red Cross, there is a short supply of this type of blood in the United States. The reality is that it is only needed and there is a shortage of this type of blood is that it is rare. So, for someone to make donation mandatory based on this point alone is outright ridiculous. Only three percent of people in the U.S. have AB-positive blood. Which shows how rare it actually is so if everyone were forced to get all of the three percent of these people is not practical or ideal.
If blood donation were to be forced upon everyone, should the government require consent for anything else at this point? If they take away people’s right to consent, then what else is capable of happening. This can lead to some very negative consequences, backlash, and even more impractical laws. People’s religious beliefs should be respected as well as a patient’s consent for any procedure or treatment. Lastly, patients should be informed. Whether it is informing them of the positives or the negatives, they should know and make their decisions from there. This would be the only right way to get them to start donating their blood. It would only be unjust to put mandatory donations upon everyone by taking away their own basic rights.
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