“Uber’s still a great job for anyone afraid to sell their blood.” -Family Guy
Many in the general public base their opinions of modern medicine on social media and popular media outlets, including television, film, music, and the celebrities within those genres. Transfusion medicine is no exception, as blood donation and transfusion serve as major plot devices in television episodes (Seinfeld’s “The Blood”), whole television series (The Knick), and movies (Mad Max: Fury Road).
These outlets have the potential to educate the public on the importance of transfusion medicine, especially in the areas of blood safety and donation. However, many media portrayals are misleading or even harmful to public acceptance and patient/donor decision-making, introducing misconceptions about blood storage, compatibility testing, donor requirements and remuneration, and the myth of the transformative power of blood. Even physicians and other clinicians could be confused by such misinformation!
In this session, we will discuss how an understanding of the impact of popular culture on patient and donor perceptions is critical to the practice of transfusion medicine. We will introduce the history of blood and transfusion from a cultural, rather than technological, point of view, including several examples of common misconceptions in modern popular media. Finally, we will provide practical tools for transfusion experts to educate patients, physicians, and the general public with accurate portrayals of transfusion and blood donation.
List examples in popular media of both accurate and inaccurate portrayals of transfusion and blood banking.
Evaluate the impact on patient care of popular misconceptions about transfusion.
Develop educational strategies to bring awareness of transfusion medicine to patients, physicians, and the general public.