Bad Blood or the Elixir of Life? Perceived Risk of Blood Transfusions

  • M. L. Finucane
  • P. Slovic
  • C. K. Mertz
Part of the Developments in Hematology and Immunology book series (DIHI, volume 34)


Concern is mounting in Europe and North America about the low proportion of people who say they would accept a blood transfusion. For example, in the event of needing a transfusion, 46% of Europeans assert that they would accept blood from anybody, 25% would only accept blood they had donated earlier themselves, and 23% would only accept a relative or friend’s blood [1]. Similarly, a North American Survey found that only about 19% of Canadians would definitely accept a transfusion [2]. In many cases refusing a transfusion comes with higher risks to health and life than accepting it [3,4]. However, given the spate of publicity in recent decades about potentially contaminated blood, it is not surprising that perceptions of blood transfusions reflect increasing fear. Already we know much from psychological research about risk perception in general and can forecast the impact of various risk management strategies on the public’s perception of blood transfusions. Health policymakers and regulators would do well to heed warning signals indicating that problems in the blood supply (real or imagined) will have devastating impacts. Fortunately, we may be able to minimize the likelihood of making decisions that turn out to be costly in terms of economics or human lives by looking at what we know about risk perception and what it implies for acceptability of blood transfusion.


Blood Transfusion Risk Perception Imagery Task Nuclear Waste Repository Public Risk 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. L. Finucane
  • P. Slovic
  • C. K. Mertz

There are no affiliations available

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