Meet Dr. Joshua A. Copel

Dr. Joshua A. Copel entered Tufts Medical School in 1975 thinking he’d like to become a psychiatrist. But after experiencing the exhilaration of delivering babies, he knew he’d be happier in obstetrics and gynecology. However, in the feminist atmosphere of Boston in the ’70s, a man going into obstetrics was not considered politically correct.

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People with blood pressure this low are not very common. Normal blood pressure is 12080, but may be as low as 9060. These numbers refer to the pressure when the heart is pumping (systolic pressure – the first number), and when the heart is resting between beats (diastolic pressure – the second number). People whose blood pressure is consistently below normal (for instance, 9060) are more likely to pass out from donating blood. However, if you take your time to rest and eat cookies before you leave, you should be fine. If you’re going to feint, it will be in those first 15 minutes after donating.

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The needles used to take blood are not like the sewing needles your mom has at home. These needles must have a hollow center large enough to allow blood to pass quickly, therefore they are a little bit frightening in their size. Believe it or not, they do not hurt any more than any other needles. If the thought of a big needle scares you, a good tip would be not to look at what the nurse is doing as she prepares you and inserts the needle. Most nurses will verbally coach you as they go, telling you what they’re doing and why, so that there are no surprises and hopefully to keep you at ease. It is usually the anticipation of getting stuck with a big needle that scares people; most nurses are adept at distracting you with their conversation and inserting the needle so quickly that you won’t realize it’s happening until it’s done!

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There are four major blood types, plus an Rh factor. For instance, my blood type is A+. The letter refers to the blood type, and the sign (either plus or minus, in this case a plus) indicates the Rh factor. The four blood types are O, A, B, and AB. Blood type O is called the universal donator, because all other blood types accept this kind of blood, because they don’t have antibodies to it. Type AB is called the universal recipient because it doesn’t have antibodies to any other types of blood. However, A types can’t receive or donate to B types, and vice versa.

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January is the American Red Cross’ Blood Donor Month. That organization alone receives nearly six million volunteer blood donations a year and serves over 3,000 hospitals nationwide (1). Still, this is often not enough. Surgery patients, accident victims, and hemophiliacs are just some of the individuals who require blood. Are there risks in donating blood What about receiving a transfusion How does it work.