Bloodless Medicine and Surgery: Dr Ronald Lapin Interview

Thanks to judgerutherford for finding/uploading this one.

Dr Ron Lapin Interview: Bloodless Surgery + Jehovah’s Witnesses


Ronald Lapin (1941–1995) Was Israeli-born American surgeon, best known as a “bloodless surgeon” due to his willingness to perform surgeries on severely anemic Jehovah’s Witness patients without the use of blood transfusions. He completed medical school in New York City and established his practice in Orange County, CA, in the 1970s, where he lived until his death.

He pioneered the use of the electric scalpel in such cases, which reduces blood loss during surgery. He promoted and taught the use of this and other techniques that make bloodless surgery successful.

Lapin became interested in bloodless surgery in the mid 1970s, while practicing his profession in Orange County, CA. He was approached by a severely anemic Jehovah’s Witness in need of surgery (who, due to religious beliefs, could not accept a blood transfusion). During this first operation on a Witness patient, Lapin secured the help of the anesthesiologist by assuring him that the blood needed for the operation was “on its way”. After successfully performing that first surgery without the use of any transfused blood, Witnesses who heard of his rare cooperation came to him for help with their surgical needs. Thus was born his practice dedicated to providing bloodless surgery for Witness patients from around the world.

He founded several bloodless surgery centers in Southern California, including hospitals in Norwalk, Bellflower, and Fountain Valley, and became a tireless advocate of non-blood medical management.

In 1980, Lapin was chosen by a Japanese pharmaceutical firm to operate on Jehovah’s Witness patients, with conditional FDA approval, using Flouisol DA, an “artificial blood” substitute. The unique oxygen-carrying properties of the product were the subject of a segment on the ABC television program “That’s Incredible!”. During the show, one of Lapin’s patients, Donna Graham of Winchester, CA, was shown recovering from an emergency hysterectomy, having received approval for a transfusion of the “artificial blood” due to extreme loss of blood prior to admission. An unusual stunt on the program showed a mouse being immersed in the product, and yet, due to its blood being oxygenated via the fluid, it did not drown. After a tabloid newspaper accused the show of hiding the later death of the mouse, the stunt was repeated on another segment of the program.

For publicly challenging conventional medical practices, which Lapin derided as substandard and unacceptable, he experienced persecution in the form of legal attacks and even sabotage. His story is recounted in the Gene Church biography No Man’s Blood.

Although Lapin’s early advocacy of bloodless surgery was viewed as radical at the time, the outbreak of blood-borne AIDS infections helped the cause, and throughout the world today many hospitals gladly accept JW patients who have low hemoglobinm counts for a full array of procedures. Thanks in part to his efforts, surgeons routinely perform successful bloodless operations for all types of medical problems, from open heart surgery to hip replacement. There are even hospitals that openly seek such business; one such facility is Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in Englewood, New Jersey.

Lapin was nominated for a Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1983


Related Links
Hospitals Offering Bloodless Surgery

What is Bloodless Surgery?

Bloodless surgery at Toledo Hospital

10 Facts About Blood Transfusions

Major Surgeries Performed Without Blood

Bloodless Surgery — The Wise and Healthy Choice

Could a Blood Transfusion Give You a Heart Attack?

Less Blood is Better…

Life Saving Blood Transfusion?

Blood test: What you don’t know about blood – PBS Programme

Duration : 0:13:13

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  • At the very least, …

    At the very least, he was a brave man – and had a heart. He is no longer with us, but the benefits of his work carries on. Pretty much anybody who has surgery today owe him a thanks, but will likely never know his name. But then it was clear that fame is not what he sought, just good outcomes.

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