Thursday 14 March 2013

Working in Montréal today --Vein up

Good morning folks,

I will be working in Montréal today.

Pssst, hey buddy, wanna sell me your blood?  Nope, there is not too many ways of dressing up that question so that it doesn't sound unsavoury.

In the 1979 Carl Reiner film, The Jerk, Steve Martin's character Navin explains to his family in a letter that he had been down and out and had been raising money to eat by selling his blood several times a week.  But when he had cut himself shaving and only a hiss of air came out he decided that he should stop the practice.

Yeah, a bit unsavoury.

Yet..  A company, Canadian Plasma Resources, is seeking licence for two pumping stations, I mean clinics, one in Toronto (next door to the Scott Mission) and one in Hamilton.  If licenced, these exsanguination stations (clever eh? how about hypovolemia havens?) will lure in the indigent, the downtrodden, the hungry, the poor and siphon off their blood for a double sawbuck.

Currently in Canada the act of donating blood is a civic duty performed by members of our society that respond to a personal generosity.  The donation is performed freely, without compensation except for perhaps a glass of orange juice or water.

As a result, Canada's blood supply is of very high quality.  This as compared to the U.S. which pays for blood and therefore has established that the act of blood donation is not an act of community responsibility and charity, but a way to earn enough for cardboard box of red wine.

But you know, it's even worse than that.  It sets the poor and downtrodden to a particular low rung of our society, that of resource to be used up, consumed by the rest of us.

If blood is fine to purchased from the less fortunate that hang out at the Scott Mission, what about a kidney or some bone or ligament material?  You know I am having trouble with a ligament in my right wrist, how much ligament could I buy for a Mack King?

Incidentally, well not really Incidentally, since this has everything to do with the inequality of this, is that blood whether as plasma only or with the red blood cells, is fairly easy for a healthy person to make, but as the health and nutritional level of a sample person falls, blood production can be more taxing.

That crumpled green plastic note in the homeless' pocket may not adequately compensate him for the increased fatigue, protein loss, and compromised immune response.

Have a good day, vein up.


  1. Twenty dollars per pint? Would a donor still get soup and juice with that? Soup and juice is the main reason why I give blood.

    Aside. Nothing about the new Pope? I thought you'd have been all over that, Daniel.

  2. I was also expecting something about the new Pontiff?
    - Celine

  3. I think that I have a duty to do the unexpected.. yes?