I had two comments concerning items in your May 24 Outliers, p. 72.
The "Minor Miracle" item concerning a living-donor liver transplant stated, "The blood types of donor and recipient must match." Although it is preferred that donor and recipient blood types match, they do not always match, mostly because of the chronic shortage of livers for transplantation. Nor do they have to match for a successful transplant.
"The acid test" segment discussing a new blood screening test for hepatitis C and HIV, said the nucleic acid testing, known as NAT, would detect viruses "directly and thus much earlier in the course of an infection." How does one define "much earlier"? For the hepatitis C virus, NAT would shorten the infectious "window" period from an average of 80 days to 20-30 days. For HIV, the window period with current testing is only 16 days, which NAT would lower to 11-12 days.
The U.S. blood supply is already exceptionally safe, and it can be made only marginally safer through new, much more expensive testing.
Mary Jo Drew, M.D.
Medical director, blood bank
Henry Ford Hospital