For decades, Carl McIver, the Chief Branding Officer of Red Bloodless, has known all too well about the difficulty in finding hospitals and doctors who are willing to give patients the option of having a bloodless surgery. This technique refers to surgery performed without the transfusion of allogeneic blood. Many people view bloodless surgery as a very foreign technique and even impossible to accomplish. But it is a medical necessity for Jehovah’s Witnesses, who because of their beliefs cannot have blood transfusions. When they are in need of an operation, instead of introducing donated blood to their body, doctors cycle the patient’s own blood back into them.
Although these types of procedures have been taking place for years, finding the proper facility for the surgery can be difficult. Not every doctor or hospital is willing to perform this particular surgery, but they are slowly accommodating individuals who require this service. That’s why Carl started Red Bloodless (www.redbloodless.org) with a mission to create a platform that lists every institution that will provide patients with the option of bloodless procedures, while also maintaining the goal of making the general public aware of this opportunity.
“The interesting thing about bloodless surgery is you would think it takes some of the most sophisticated equipment, it really doesn’t. It’s some of the simplest things...(and) it forces the surgeons to do better.” Although Carl explains that he is not here, “to critique doctors or hospitals; our area is just awareness,” he pointed out that in a normal surgery, donated blood can act as a Band-Aid for doctors, and with that transfusion, comes the possibility or risk of some glaring side effects such as “hepatitis.”
The messaging to the general public about bloodless surgery has been a difficult journey. There has been a preconceived notion that bloodless was more dangerous to the patient than the traditional method of using blood transfusions. It was not a subject that was being widely discussed. So, when COVID-19 began ravaging its way through the United States and across the globe, Carl saw an opportunity to help and get the word out to the public.
“With COVID, you’re going to need some options with blood” McIver said. He pointed out that between the current blood shortage we are experiencing and the people’s lack of wanting to share blood, now is the perfect time to inform anyone who is willing to listen about bloodless surgery. More medical professionals are joining Carl’s cause as an emerging list of cardiologists, surgeons, nurses, and doctors begin to take notice.
Like many, when COVID first started hitting the US, Carl watched in frustration from an arm’s length, noticing that the people within his community weren’t taking it seriously. “People in my area of Connecticut have a lifestyle that some may feel should not be interrupted under any circumstances. Mostly, dinning and entertaining was a challenge.” Unfortunately, this is when COVID hit much closer to home for Carl when his brother, who works in a hospital, was diagnosed with the virus. At this point he knew his informative messaging technique needed to increase tenfold and in a new positive direction. Carl used his marketing and branding background to create Red Bloodless sponsored COVID ads that featured the demands we have all become familiar with: encouraging “social distancing,” to “get behind your mask,” and “Inclusion - Join Fighting COVID-19.”
Carl focused on making the ads as stylish and hip as possible, featuring everyday people who support this style of messaging. His hope was for the ads to go viral by assisting in educating people on how to remain safe from COVID, while also making them aware of Red Bloodless. However, like so many times before, Carl has found himself in an upward battle to get the word out to the masses. He has connected with city officials in Connecticut, where he lives, and New York, but unfortunately he has not made any forward progress from either area. Unwilling to quit, Carl took it upon himself, with the help of his team of volunteers, and began spreading the information on his own terms. As he predicted, people started listening and his message circulated across the US as well as abroad in India and Africa. However, Carl knows things could be better. He knows people need help and he wants to do whatever he can to do aid those folks in distress.
When asking Carl and his Red Bloodless team how they can be assisted right now, he had two requests: a sponsor who can help with the heavy lifting and some simple grassroots who can support his cause.
“I've created well over a hundred individual participant posts. I would love to see (these) spread wider on all social media platforms.”
COVID has been an eye opening experience for so many people this year. For Carl, he has tried to look past the negative struggles and do what he can to help those in need, no matter how small the request might be. “If just one of my campaign posts readjusts the thinking of one person, just think how many lives may be saved from (stopping) that person spreading the virus to others.” And he has same hope for bloodless surgeries. Carl knows that not everyone will be on board right away, but if just one person learns more about it today, he foresees a bright future of others being educated about the procedure down the line.
If you would like to connect with Carl’s team, he can be found on LinkedIn, or at his website: www.redbloodless.org