Kansas Jehovah’s Witness saved by blood substitute

KANSAS CITY, Kansas (AP) — A suburban Kansas City man is recovering at home after his life was saved by a transfusion of a blood substitute.

Mark Watkins, who is a Jehovah’s Witness, collapsed on April 15 while at church. Doctors determined he was bleeding to death internally.

Because his religion prohibits blood transfusions, University of Kansas Hospital trauma surgeon Charlie Richart contacted a Massachusetts firm that creates a product called Hemopure. The Kansas City Star reports  that Hemopure is a blood substitute that includes purified cow hemoglobin.

Richart had to get special compassionate care dispensation from federal officials to use Hemopure because it is not approved for use in the U.S.

Watkins received six units on April 17-18 and went into surgery April 19. He went home from the hospital Friday.


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