I have an appointment to give blood this morning. I’d say “I’m giving blood”, but three out of the six times I’ve gone, I’ve been rejected because my iron was low. Normal, but not good enough to have a pint taken out and then not fall to bits later in the day. Makes sense.

What doesn’t make sense? Some of the restrictions that Canadian Blood Services put on people. It’s ridiculous that people who have lived in or the UK for France for more than three months (prior to 1996) can’t give blood because of potential exposure to BSE. BSE! WTF! Has there ever been a link proven between simply existing in Western Europe and Creuztfeldt-Jakob Disease? If there even a proven link between BSE and CJD? It’s fecking ridiculous.

The most controversial one, of course, is the banning of all homosexual men (yes, all), and any man who has had sex with another man, because of ‘risky’ behaviours and perceived higher risk of HIV. I think Canadian Blood Services needs to get its act together and find another way to screen. Apparently, they are working on it, making the deferral not ‘lifetime’ but for one year. So, y’know, it’s okay if you’re gay and celibate.

But people still need blood, including people I know who have gone through major medical stuff this year, so I’m not going to stop donating despite this outdated policy. What does this make me, a well-meaning hypocrite? Is there some kind of campaign for people like me to protest the policy, but continue to otherwise support Canadian Blood Services as a donor? I know I have signed at least a couple of online petitions, but that’s really just pissing in the wind, right?

Any suggestions from the cheap seats (ie not my office chair) on how to be a more effective complainer on this matter?

2 thoughts on “Haematology.

  1. elsewise

    Is CBS much different in its policies from Hema-Quebec? When I was at university, HQ’s restriction on donations from gay men was a huge deal. Sad to hear that there’s still no progress on that front.

    Not on this issue specifically, but in general I’d suggest submitting complaints in a clear and concise letter (or email) instead of using petitions, form letters, comment cards, or anything else that could easily get filed away as a write-in. In my experience, heartfelt letters are harder to ignore. Write-ins end up in stacks, as a problem to handle. Letters get read and have the power to change minds – not just the recipient’s, but those of everyone else who handles the letter. I wanted to hug the lady who recently wrote to my minister and was thoughtful enough to wish the office clerks who handled her letter a merry Christmas. Heh.

  2. megan

    I think the policy is more or less identical. It’s ‘too expensive’ to do things on a case-by-case basis, even though HIV and Hepatitis tests are done before a blood product can be used.

    And yes, I know that most slacktivist ways of complaining are pointless. Long ago, I was a teenaged curmudgeon who wrote letters to the editor, but fell out of the habit. I should start writing letters, though, you’re right. Curmudgeons can get shit done. 🙂

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