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Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 552537
Title When are infection risks of blood transfusion tolerable? Towards understanding the ethical views of stakeholders in the blood supply
Author(s) Kramer, Koen; Verweij, Marcel F.; Zaaijer, Hans L.
Source Vox Sanguinis (2019). - ISSN 0042-9007
Department(s) Knowledge Technology and Innovation
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2019
Keyword(s) acceptability - blood donation - blood donor - blood recipient - risk - transfusion-transmitted infection

Background and objectives: The perception of transfusion-transmitted infections (TTIs) is sensitive to various concerns besides the probability and impact of infection, and some of these concerns may be ethically relevant. This paper aims to advance thinking about blood safety policies by exploring and explaining stakeholders’ reasons to consider TTI risks tolerable or intolerable. Materials and methods: Inspired by critical empirical ethics and phenomenological hermeneutics, we held interviews and focus group discussions to explore the moral experience of policymakers, hematologists, blood donors and recipients. Respondents were invited to discuss general concerns about the blood supply, to address the tolerability of TTI risks compared with other hazards and to comment on the costs of blood safety. Arguments for tolerance or intolerance towards TTI risks were analysed qualitatively. Results: Stakeholders’ views could be clustered into seven categories: (1) clinical impact; (2) probability of infection; (3) avoidability of infection; (4) cost and health benefits; (5) other consequences of safety measures; (6) non-consequentialist ethical arguments; and (7) stakeholders’ interests. Various arguments were offered that resonate with current ethical thinking about blood safety. Assuming that resources spent on inefficient blood safety measures could be applied more beneficially elsewhere, for example, responders typically expressed tolerance towards TTI risks. Some other arguments seem novel, for instance arguments for risk intolerance based on the low probability of infection and arguments for risk tolerance if patients have a poor prognosis. Conclusion: Understanding the moral experience of stakeholders enriches ethical debate about blood safety and prepares developing more widely acceptable policies.

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