March 23, 2017

May 1, 2013

I Can’t Give Blood

Driving through my new neighbourhood I spotted a sign calling for blood donors. While I can’t currently give blood (UK citizens are barred in many countries due to possible exposure to BSE) I would certainly like to. The UK has a great culture of blood donation and I hear that the Red Cross here in Australia are keen for UK Citizens to be able to donate, once the question of testing for BSE has been sorted out.

There’s not doubt about it, blood saves lives. Many of us have family members who would be dead today if people hadn’t donated. It’s possibly one of the most wonderful things you can do for another person - blood is life and so it’s a great gift. I want to encourage as many of you as possible to consider doing it.


But I can’t give blood and save lives.

As much as I want to, I just can’t.

I knew all this as I drove along. I saw the sign, wondered if I might donate and realised that there was nothing I could do as things stood.

And it’s the same in my job as a pastor. I can’t give blood. The Christian deals in matters of spiritual  life and death and the Christian pastor all the more so. The danger is, as we move in a world that is hurting and spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1) that we are deluded into thinking that we are the ones who can save lives. Or, equally damaging, others will think we can save lives. We just can’t  - we’re incapable. The temptation is to want to, because we seek to love people, and so we might very well give of ourselves almost to the point of blood (or it might at least feel like it). But we can’t give blood, at least not blood that will save people.

But, of course, there is someone who can give blood and save a life. More than one life. Jesus is the great blood donor:

Col 1:19 For in [Jesus Christ] all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

It is Jesus’ blood that brings life and health and peace, not our own. The Christian and the Christian pastor should always remember. There already is one that gave blood and saved lives and we do better to point others to his saving work, not try and do it ourselves.

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I can’t donate blood any longer because of chronic anemia. However, as a priest, I am a dispenser of Christ’s body and blood. His blood is the cup of salvation.

[1] Posted by Fr. Dale on 5-1-2013 at 07:15 AM · [top]

I got banned just for spending a couple of months in England during my college years. Oh well…...

[2] Posted by Capn Jack Sparrow on 5-1-2013 at 08:06 AM · [top]

I can’t either. In grad school, we had to be vaccinated against Hepatitis B due to our research. Alas, they lost the paperwork so I have no proof that I have been vaccinated and not infected with the virus. My blood would come up as Hep B positive during the screen and would not be allowed to donate.

[3] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 5-1-2013 at 10:54 AM · [top]

I haven’t been able to give blood since 1977, when I had a triple bypass. What that has to do with my blood being refused has never been explained to me, but if I present myself, and my history is taken, I am greeted with a look of horror when the bypass is mentioned. Gets me————
desert padre

[4] Posted by desertpadre on 5-1-2013 at 02:02 PM · [top]


You probably were given (or the cardiac bypass pump was primed) with blood or plasma. This was before HIV was known and there was no test for that or for Hepatitis C. Although the blood banks test donated blood for these (and more) now, they have decided to exclude those who received blood products prior to the age of routine testing.

[5] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 5-1-2013 at 02:47 PM · [top]

SC blu cat lady,

You should be eligible to donate if it was the standard vaccination.
The hepatitis B vaccination should produce an antibody to hepatitis B, but the antigen test will be negative.

You can go to the ARC web site for more information. Here is a little of what they have to say about vaccinations:

Acceptable if you were vaccinated for influenza, tetanus or meningitis, providing you are symptom-free and fever-free. Includes the Tdap vaccine.
Acceptable if you received an HPV Vaccine (example, Gardasil).
Wait 4 weeks after immunizations for German Measles (Rubella), MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella), Chicken Pox and Shingles.
Wait 2 weeks after immunizations for Red Measles (Rubeola), Mumps, Polio (by mouth), and Yellow Fever vaccine.
Wait 21 days after immunization for hepatitis B as long as you are not given the immunization for exposure to hepatitis B.

[6] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 5-1-2013 at 02:55 PM · [top]

I’m more inclined to think that desertpadre has blood amended by heart medications such as blood thinners that would make it unsuitable as donor blood.

[7] Posted by Fr. Dale on 5-1-2013 at 06:10 PM · [top]

Fr Dale, they didn’t even ask.

[8] Posted by desertpadre on 5-1-2013 at 06:40 PM · [top]

Maybe because of your location, your blood is too hot!

[9] Posted by Fr. Dale on 5-1-2013 at 07:04 PM · [top]

That’s It!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You’re a good man, Fr Dale!

[10] Posted by desertpadre on 5-1-2013 at 07:53 PM · [top]

Fr. Dale,

I had a similar thought, inasmuch as I have been unable to donate blood ever since I had a pacemaker installed for chronic atrial fibrillation, followed by a (partially successful) A/V nodal ablation. All of that resulted in me having to ingest anticoagulants on a regular basis. If I offered to donate, they would refuse to accept.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

[11] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 5-2-2013 at 04:35 PM · [top]

I haven’t been able to donate for over 10 years now because the hubby and I were stationed in Germany in the 80’s.  It’s frustrating because I have O neg blood, which is always needed.  I had just gotten my first 1 gallon pin too.

[12] Posted by Gartenfrau on 5-2-2013 at 05:19 PM · [top]

#12 Gartenfrau,
Wow! I was only donating one pint at a time!

[13] Posted by Fr. Dale on 5-2-2013 at 06:45 PM · [top]

I was a cancer patient in 1975, had surgery, and have been free of the disease ever since.  While I haven’t donated blood (I’m O pos) since then, I’ve often wondered whether or not I’d be able to do so now.  I do know that my doctors at one time had put me on anticoagulants, but have been wondering about my suitability for donating blood ever since.

[14] Posted by cennydd13 on 5-3-2013 at 10:14 AM · [top]

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