Unpalatable and macabre at first glance, the idea actually makes a lot of sense. Roughly 15 million pints of blood are donated each year by approximately 9.2 million individuals. Over the course of the same year, about 2.6 million Americans will — sadly — pass away. If hospitals were to harvest the blood from a third of those people, roughly 4.5 million liters would be added to the reservoir.
Contrary to what you might think, blood from cadavers is not only usable, but quite safe.
“For six to eight hours, the blood inside a dead body remains sterile and the red blood cells retain their oxygen-carrying capabilities,” Mary Roach reported in her book Stiff.
In fact, as Roach further described, “For twenty-eight years, the Sklifosovsky Institute [in Moscow] happily transfused cadaver blood, some twenty-five tons of the stuff, meeting 70 percent of its clinics needs.”