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Heredity determines your blood type

Published: Feb. 12, 2021 at 7:09 PM EST
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -

Positive or negative, we all have one of four blood types: A, B, AB, or O, but how is your type determined? Kathy McCarty has more on how you can find out.

Just like hair or eye color, our blood type is something we get from our parents, based on genes we inherit. Dr. Roger Pelli, of Northern Light A.R. Gould Hospital, says while you may know your blood type, when a procedure requires blood, hospitals take precautions to ensure a match.

“An order can be placed to have your blood drawn for blood type, but that’s not routinely done, and mostly because hospitals will not accept a person’s word about what their blood type is. And even if they have a card that says what their blood type is, if they have to receive blood, blood will be taken from them and tested again to prove that that’s their blood type and to cross-match their blood to blood that won’t hurt them and will be helpful to them,” says Dr. Roger Pelli, Chief Medical Information Officer for Northern Light A.R. Gould Hospital.

Donating your own blood is a common practice for procedures like orthopedic surgery. Dr. Pelli says even receiving your own blood can be problematic.

Dr. Pelli says, “There are new surgical techniques and new ways of collecting the blood during surgery and to prepare your body even before surgery to build up its own blood within your body. So even if you lose blood, you will not lose enough to need a transfusion. And that’s being done more and more, because it’s the safer thing to do than to even give your own blood back to you.”

One way to determine your blood type is to donate blood, or, if you’ve had a prior operation, the hospital may have your blood type on record.

“We want to match their blood not only for the blood type and the Rh, but some people, especially if they’ve received blood in the past, have certain antibodies within that blood that’s unusual, and we want to know that, because then we have to be even more specific in matching blood that we’re going to give them to their own body,” says Dr. Pelli.

Kathy McCarty, NewsSource 8

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