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#161210 - 01/04/09 02:53 AM blood type on ID's
nursemike Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 789
Loc: wellington, fl
Has anyone had any experince that suggests that blood type is useful ID data?

Military ID's apparently include blood type, and some civilians talk about it, too. IME, no er docs will order blood based on history. Must be different in the military. Most er's have access to low titer O negative blood, low risk stuff to transfuse really quickly-but a cross-matched unit is available in about thirty minutes from most blood banks. Cross-matching-actually mixing a bit of the recipients blood with the donor unit to see if they react, indicating incompatibility- is done because blood types are not as simple as A-B-AB-O and Rh- there are dozens of antigens that affect compatibility.

So why is blood type on ID tags?
Dance like you have never been hurt, work like no one is watching,love like you don't need the money.

#161213 - 01/04/09 03:18 AM Re: blood type on ID's [Re: nursemike]
Jeff_M Offline

Registered: 07/18/07
Posts: 665
Loc: Northwest Florida
You are correct. However, in a disaster situation, it may be different. It couldn't hurt, anyway.


#161215 - 01/04/09 03:22 AM Re: blood type on ID's [Re: nursemike]

When I was a firefighter / 1st responder, it was drilled into us to never take a military ID tag with blood type as fact. The reason for this that many times a patient could possibly be wearing her/his extended family, friends old military tags etc. With an unconscious patient who has no ID on their person, we would not be able to guarantee that this was their name on the tag and their blood type. Even if the patient was conscious, we were not to take their blood type as fact. Also it very surpising how many people do not know their own blood type. Typical response was " I think...."

This same topic was also discussed at one of our training sessions when we had an ER nurse come in for some training. Her response was to the effect: "No civilian nurse or DR. should never take the risk that the tags are correct and should instead order blood work.

#161219 - 01/04/09 03:53 AM Re: blood type on ID's [Re: nursemike]
Desperado Offline

Registered: 11/01/08
Posts: 1530
Loc: DFW, Texas
After my short walk thru Panama, the medic that treated me said he was (expletive) shocked that my blood type was correct on my dog tags. Evidently there had been some he had seen that were way wrong. Having said that, I have a card and tag for each member of the family that is on their body at all times. Guess what, blood type is included.

For Gulf War 1 we wrote or blood type on our helmet bands.
I do the things that I must, and really regret, are unfortunately necessary.


#161220 - 01/04/09 03:55 AM Re: blood type on ID's [Re: nursemike]
Arney Offline

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
I think you might find this article interesting.

Blood type discrepancies on military identification cards and tags

This article mentions a 1981 study which found that 10% of the blood types listed on the ID cards or dog tags of two US Army combat units in Europe had the wrong blood type listed. That's a frightening statistic.

#161222 - 01/04/09 03:59 AM Re: blood type on ID's [Re: ]
scafool Offline

Registered: 12/18/08
Posts: 1534
Loc: Muskoka
I have the wet red type of blood, if that helps.

Seriously though, I have been injured badly enough at least twice that they had to give me blood.

I do not remember any emergency personel ever asking me what my blood type was. Not at the scene, not in the ambulance, and not at the hospital.

(One of the times they did repeatedly ask me my name, who the Prime Minister was and what year it was. It was very annoying.
How can you trust doctors who don't know simple stuff like that?)

I am not a medic, nor was I ever military, so I might have some of this wrong, but I do remember they used plasma one time.
I think it was because with plasma they don't need to worry about blood type.

Repeating disclaimer; I am not a medic, nor was I ever military, so I might have some of this wrong

I wonder if they put the blood type on the tags in case they need donors in an emergency. I seem to remember hearing about field transfusion kits being supplied with no blood bags to medical corps years ago.
They could not carry blood, it would rot, so they were expecting to use the two legged blood bags they had wandering around.

Edited by scafool (01/04/09 04:54 AM)
May set off to explore without any sense of direction or how to return.

#161234 - 01/04/09 06:39 AM Re: blood type on ID's [Re: scafool]
MDinana Offline

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 2186
Loc: Bluegrass
Blood type is included on military ID's probably for 2 reasons: cross donors (where you transfuse without typing it), and to get blood quickly to the patient. Why? Well, yeah, O Neg works on everyone, but it's also kind of rare. Best to save it for folks that are truly O Neg, or traumas where there isn't time to cross check.

In the civvy world, usually O Neg (and increasingly, O Pos) is given while the typing is pending - in emergencies. If a transfusion is needed non urgently, then it can wait for a typing.

I don't know what you mean about "no doctor will order blood typing based on history." If it's not useful and not going to change treatment, docs don't order it - for no other reason that they probably won't get paid for an unnecessary test. Same goes for docs in the military.

#161237 - 01/04/09 07:04 AM Re: blood type on ID's [Re: nursemike]
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
Military ID is unique to the military. Like 90% of what happens in the service, it has little to no application in the real world.

Outside of the military, it makes you feel better. *shrugs* Magic feathers.

When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

#161242 - 01/04/09 12:02 PM Re: blood type on ID's [Re: ironraven]
BigAssDiesel Offline

Registered: 06/01/05
Posts: 58
I am a medic in Iraq and people use the blood type tags to look cool. That's all it is, cool guy factor. You are not getting blood until you are typed. Period.

#161244 - 01/04/09 01:06 PM Re: blood type on ID's [Re: BigAssDiesel]
oldsoldier Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 742
Loc: MA
Mine is on my dogtags, but they currently reside on a mantle in my house, so they'd do me no good. I also served during the first gulf war, we wrote it on our helmet bands as well. Later, after 9/11, I was activated with the national guard, and we took to writing our personal info on our ribs. A few guys went so far as getting it tattoed there. How embarasing if it were the wrong blood type? laugh
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