RH Negative Blood
The Historical Perspective
For simplicity, RhD is used for Rh positive blood and Rhd is used for Rh negative blood in this series of blood articles. Blood types are: O, A, B, and AB.
If you have Rhd negative blood, and have arrived at this blog from searching the Internet for information, you’re not lost. Yes, this is a writer’s blog, but I also have Rh negative blood. I’ve thought so many times over the years about writing this article. I believed someone with higher credentials would step forward and clarify misrepresented facts and answer the lingering questions. Instead, dangerous information is spreading like a fever. The most horrifying lie out there is “people with Rhd blood can’t get infected with HIV.”
Not true! If you’re posting untrue claims on your personal web site, you may be putting yourself in legal jeopardy. Have you considered the consequences of your actions if someone takes your advice and then gets diagnosed with HIV? Ask bartenders about serving the last drink and then the person goes out and kills someone. It takes one case, like the last drink, to get sued. You’ve been warned. Be a responsible netizen!
Any person engaging in risk behaviors may contract HIV, no matter what your blood type is. Please think about the math involved. Just 15% of people have Rhd, and then you have to factor in the risk behaviors and age group. Then spread that number across every city and rural county. That’s why so few with Rhd get HIV. It’s the math, not the blood!
Decades have passed since I first searched for answers on Rh negative blood. Why it exists is hard to nail down. I hope after I’ve written articles from the historical perspective, I’ll find a scientist willing to propose “reasons” based on DNA discoveries. For now, I’m seeing a weird braiding of science, false information, and fantasy. It’s getting harder for the layman to fathom out the truth, especially, if a mother is trying to explain Rh negative blood to a teen.
I decided to offer an historical approach to Rh negative blood to shed light on the subject in a different manner. I’ll compile the science record and put it in layman’s terms when I can, and leave out the “other theories,” which are based on myth or fantasy. Don’t misunderstand me, I enjoy myths and fantasy, but I need to keep it separated from facts. I’ll bust some myths along the way, and I don’t mind doing so. I suspect there are people out there, like me, who want their information in a manner that makes sense.
First a word about me: My qualifications to write these articles are: I’ve obtained my MSN and numerous professional certifications in critical care nursing, medical-surgical nursing, and clinical research. I’ve been a nurse in many disciplines; I’m a mother of two sons—one RhD and the other Rhd. I’m good at research, and I’ve had three shots of RhoGAM. So, I have blood in the game and truth matters to me. I’m retired now and writing fiction (See My Books).
I’d like to invite any reader with additional information to improve this profile to please e-mail me with your work, in your own words. If it’s not too much trouble, I’d like documentation. I prefer science or academic linked articles. The internet is full of theories, but few people take the time to show the rest of us how their opinion developed. Gut reactions don’t count. I’ve read countless medical articles in biomedical archives and in books to make the articles factual. I’m trying to paint a picture of what happened from the beginning into one large mural. At least that’s the plan. Hopefully, the articles will make the subject clear to those who want clarity.
Blood Thread is dedicated to people who want the truth with appropriate citations.
Yes, we’ve cracked the code for DNA, and yes, the scientists have added volumes to the research literature about Rh Factor, but some with Rhd blood, are hanging on to ancient information. To be clear, people are hanging on to century old data. It’s time for an update. If you don’t like history, stop reading. I’m presenting information based on facts and from primary and easily verified sources.
Everything I write will have links to source material from the scientists and written in their own words. These people did the work when blood types were discovered, and then later the same scientists discovered the Rh Factor. Don’t believe me, believe them!
Look, there’s a reason kids are taught to look up information and check sources. This establishes an open and inquisitive mind. If a fact is true, the person or source should provide links for those who like to dig. Links that verify back to reputable sources. Everything else is speculation or opinion. In such cases, the reader should search out information on the author before buying into a new theory. When it comes to Rh negative blood, some people write bizarre statements like they’re letting you in on a secret. The truth is many can’t source their facts, so they layer in conspiracy theories along with their personal opinions. The problem is they present it as fact and not an opinion. Heck, I love conspiracy theories too, I’ve even written a book (Swarmers) with Rh negative blood playing a role, but I know I’m writing fiction.
If you’re someone who believes Rhd blood is pure blood and contains none of the same characteristics of money/ape blood, you’ve been pranked, punked, deluded, lied to, and shined on. Even if you don’t believe in evolution, you can’t escape the scientific work processed for over a hundred years. The data is clear; we share blood characteristics with monkeys and apes. All humans do. This fact is confirmed by the Blood Grandfathers, if you will, the men who gave us blood typing and Rh Factor discoveries. How is it so many revere the names’ Landsteiner, Levine, and Weiner in one breath, and in the next, deny everything they believed in?
For the record and for all time, the same doctors that discovered the blood types and the RH Factor knew we shared blood characteristics with monkeys and apes. They went in search of them! Weiner alone has many articles covering this fact. He worked extensively with apes and monkeys. He purposely and with dedication sought out the shared similarities in his research.
I think one reason why everyone’s confused is because people absorbed the wrong information in their initial search. Answers are on-line but they’re spread out helter-skelter. As soon as you speak or write, “We (Rhd) don’t have monkey blood proteins in us, we have pure blood.” The doctor, geneticist, etc knows you’re missing basic facts, and they don’t think the truth will “sit” well with you. So to avoid conflict, they dodge questions. They don’t owe you an answer when clearly you’ve formed an off the wall opinion.
Here’s the truth and all you need to know if you want to stop reading – In the beginning: In error, the paternal antigen (Rh+) was named the Rhesus factor. If you’re still confused read the historical story I’m presenting, and I think your confusion will clear if you keep an open mind.
Let me explain. This error wasn’t done on purpose. The Landsteiner teams found 6 antigens and now there are around 57. The Rh system is complicated; it was then and it remains complex today. They didn’t have computers or our technology. The average person doesn’t keep up with the changes in medical knowledge or terminology over decades and genetic discoveries exploded. Medical views and their terms changed to fit the new facts. Non-scientists have passed on dated information, like people once claimed, “The earth is flat.” It was accepted fact at one time but now we know it’s not true.
By the time it was discovered that the mother’s antibodies were produced against a different antigen from the one discovered by Landsteiner and Weiner, the rhesus blood group terminology was widely used, especially in magazines and newspapers. It’s hard to backtrack when science walks out of medical journals and into local papers.
It wasn’t until the race for the vaccine began, some twenty years after the Landsteiner/Weiner blood test was discovered, that the average person even heard of Rhesus Factor. Therefore, instead of changing the name after twenty years, it was abbreviated to the Rh blood group. I don’t know this for sure, but I suspect the reason they didn’t want to change the name significantly is because RhoGAM began with the famed Rh spelling. They didn’t want to introduce confusion at a time of great celebration in the obstetrics world.
RhoGAM was a significant medical discovery. It changed the quality of life for mothers, babies, and their families. It was as significant as the discovery of antibiotics. RhoGAM has saved countless lives and allowed Rh negative women to have more than one baby born without risking serious life-threatening conditions. I’ll spell out the problems Rhd women once faced for those who want the historical perspective on the disease now called HDN-hemolytic disease of the newborn.
Imagine being fourteen and you’ve just learned you’re Rhd. You go online for information and find out you’re a reptilian. No way! I can no longer let “the bunk” go unchallenged. The articles I’ve written will provide balance and be a layman’s summary of the seventy years that have followed since the papers describing Rh Factor were first written.
If I have a granddaughter with Rhd one day, I want her to discover truth based on facts. I want her to know the story of why she won’t have a lifetime of grief, or a history of multiple miscarriages and near death because doctors stayed focused in the lonely cure track, to combat a disease afflicting RhD babies born from Rhd mothers. I want her to know that people in mental institutions and prisons gave their blood for the testing that led to “our cure.” I want her to know the names of the doctors involved in making her childbearing years easier. While RhoGAM isn’t a 100% cure, it has stopped the nightmare of infant mortality from the common to the rare. Yes, the disease still exists but not like in the past.
My hope is that by telling a historical story interested people will have “gaps” filled in. I’m going all the way back to the beginning to give interested people the historical background they deserve. By providing scientific links that motivated readers can follow, I hope to do some “myth busting” for those who want to understand how and what happened. The world of Rh Factor has moved on since 1939. While Rhd women suffered, Rhd men stepped forward back in the day and volunteered to get sensitized by RhD blood, so transfusions would be safer and made RhoGAM possible. The first male volunteers were prisoners.
I’ll be posting a new article every Wednesday until I feel I’ve covered the topic the best I can. I don’t punch clocks anymore, so if I skip a week here and there please forgive me. I’d love readers to participate in my blog’s comment section. If you learn something new, please share it on your social networks.
Blood Thread is a series of articles about blood, disease, feuds, doctors, and scientists. I’ll do my best to write in layman terms and also explain as I go, but please use the dictionary I’ve created to help with the understanding of medical terms. Medical terms have also changed over the years. Or borrow a Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary. Any books I mention can be bought or requested in your public library through intra-library loans. Just ask your local librarian. The articles I reference will be available on the internet or at any biomedical library in your town.
Next Article in the Series: Blood Thread: Monkey Blood, Blue Blood, Pure Blood, True Blood, or Ordinary Blood?