Padre Steve Might be a Mad Cow Carrier and Can’t Give Blood…He’s “Mad” as Hell and isn’t going to take it anymore!

I am guilty yes guilty my friends.  I have about a one in a zillion chance of having the dreaded variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease but if your believe those who promote conspiracy theories and unscientific assumptions I am probably something like Typhoid Mary just waiting to unleash death and destruction on millions of unsuspecting God fearing beef eating Americans by donating blood.  That is my alleged crime and while it is not a ‘crime’ in the truest sense of the word it might as well be as it ostracizes me and hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions of veterans and their dependants from a civic duty that many of us did before all the media hype that surrounded the decision to ban us from being able to give blood.  It is discriminatory, exclusionary and for that matter bad public policy.

Now my dear readers what is my crime and the punishment that has been inflicted on me?  I was in the military and lived in Europe in the 1980s and 1990s for a period of about four years. That my dear reader makes me ineligible to donate blood even if I am otherwise healthy and willing to give in time of need.  However the rule is rather arbitrary in nature. It specifies that living in most of Europe for 6 months or more if you are in the military is enough for a person to be a risk.  However the rules tolerate those who go on beef eating and haggis hogging binges for limited amounts of time while wearing kilts in Great Britain. It is an absurd standard to hold anyone to as the fact is simple, if you didn’t eat high risk cattle you have almost no chance of contracting or carrying the disease.

I readily admit that in that time in Europe I did eat beef. Mind you dear reader it was always well cooked and I certainly never ate Haggis.  However I am now and have been for many years treated as if I had some exotic and deadly plague like I was infected with HIV or Hepatitis B, diseases that are proven to be transmitted through contaminated blood products. I my friends am the poster child of what it is to be discriminated against based on special interest groups and media fear mongering.  That absurd fear mongering got our wonderful Food and Drug Administration and other government regulatory agencies to take draconian measures to stop something that in the scope of infectious disease is rather low on the threat scale.  I say that such action is not based on legitimate public health concerns but on a political agenda that uses fear to accomplish what it never could at the ballot box.

Now mind you Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) or the variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) or the real “Mad Cow” disease is no laughing matter but statistics underlying the incidence of the disease in the United States of vCJD show that if there is a threat it is very limited and that the chances of the Cubs winning the Worlds Series are better than getting this dread disease. Even statistics of a supposed “second wave” of vCJD in Great Britain estimate about 70 persons over a period of years during a “second wave” of vCJD might die, at worst case the number is 600.  In fact in Britain only one case of transmission of vCJD though blood products has been confirmed and if all people who had eaten beef lived in and eaten beef in Britain were barred from  donating blood the British would likely have to convert oil tankers to bring blood in from around the world. But they are not while people in the United States who lived in Europe, not even Great Britain are banned as a class from donating blood and the vast majority of these Americans are military members and their dependants.

I am a supporter of stringent policies on infectious diseases but if in Britain, the very epicenter of a disease that reared its ugly head in the early 1980s people can and do donate blood and the incidence of the disease is miniscule and is scientifically regarded to having more to do with genetics than eating beef.  Yet the Federal Government responding to fear mongering press reports and conspiracy theory maniacs have banned an entire class of people from donating the gift of life to those in need.  It is absurd and dishonest and plays into the hands of fear mongering power seeking special interests groups that claim the public good while discriminating against a whole class of people whose only crime was to serve their country.  Bill O’Reilly and Steven Colbert do you hear me?

Before this I was almost a religious blood donor I learned it from my dad who I think had his golden bucket from the Delta Blood Bank in Stockton. In fact he took me to donate for the first time and I continued because it was the right thing to do. I donated until I was branded with the scarlet letter of being a potential carrier of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease and have been refused ever since.  This is also true for hundreds of thousands and possibly millions of healthy military members, veterans and family members who ate a steak in Germany or some other western European country because we might have eaten a significant amount of “Bully” British Beef or perhaps a butt load of Scottish Haggis even though the chances of having these delicacies is significantly lower in good old Deutschland where people would rather eat Argentinean beef than beef from a country that they thought they should own by now and where the vast majority of the beef is well rather “brown-shirted” if you get my drift.  If the CDC or FDA has banned a whole class of patriot Americans from donating blood at least do it based on a preponderance of evidence and not speculation and paranoia.

In the United States we often run short of blood but we exclude by default one of the healthiest and giving groups of people in the world from giving. There are times in every major medical center that blood products run in short supply because of supply and demand.  Most donations centers have on hand no more than a 3 day supply for normal transfusion needs and if a major catastrophe involving vast numbers of traumatic injuries occurred, the supply would be gone in no time and people would die for the lack of blood.  Unfortunately in the world of potential mass casualties caused by terrorism or natural disaster this is a more likely occurrence than a mass outbreak of vCJD. Quite often there is more demand than supply and red blood cells have a short shelf life of 35-42 days at refrigerated temperatures and plasma can be frozen but has a shelf life of only about a year meaning that those stocks are also limited.

So rather than looking at statistics and solid data military members are banned from donating blood unless they choose to dishonor themselves by lying about it.  I have never done that as much as I wanted to give blood.  Heck we have an Armed Service Blood Center in our very hospital whose outreach director is one of my former Lieutenants from my days as a company commander in Germany.  I may be at times “mad” but my “madness” is both genetic as from a bit of PTSD, but my blood is a-okay high test 104 Octane B positive blood and I cannot donate when I want to because the debate is being driven by anti-beef eating, anti-military food Nazis who use this ‘cause’ to spread fear and increase their power relative to the rest of us.  Just take a look at their websites which are populated with hyperbole even more hyperbolous than what I spout.

I contend that I and hundreds of thousands of veterans and military members have been damaged by the zealotry of the “Mad Cow” fear mongers and their media accomplices which did its best to spread panic about this incredibly rare disease by showing infected cattle lurching around barnyards. Now it is true that this is a heinous disease but incredibly rare and for the most part has been controlled even in docile cows.

My argument is that there is a terrible need for blood products and a whole group of people are being discriminated against on the basis of media hype and pressure by special interest groups.  I know by saying this that it makes me a target and that once this post gets some hits that I will have one of these anti-beef eating, anti-military and national security ignoring bozos will post nasty things about me. So far as they don’t call me a Dodger fan I will be civil despite the fact that they won’t rest until none of us can give blood because we ate beef once in our lives.

I wish that some bold law firm would take this up as a class action suit naming the FDA, CDC and every major television network that spread the fear which drives the decision to bar an entire group of healthy people from giving blood.  This may seem callous and insensitive but I say let’s stick it to these guys and let them see the shoe is on the other foot. Let’s kick their vegan asses back to the planet Vegan where they belong. It’s late tonight but tomorrow its cheeseburger time for Padre Steve, pass the condiments please and get my stein ready.

So until the next time I say peace and may the law be with us. Maybe there is a reason that some of my classmates in seminary said that I should have gone to law school.  Maybe that’s what I’ll do with my GI Bill when I retire go to law school pass the bar and be a Priest-Lawyer, but not a Canon Lawyer, no money in that is there? So let’s go out and win a billion dollars or so from these oppressors of individual liberty and the common good.

Anyway Peace Out my brothers and sisters, have a burger or steak tonight.

Love ya,

Padre Steve+

23 Comments

Filed under healthcare, laws and legislation, national security, Political Commentary

23 responses to “Padre Steve Might be a Mad Cow Carrier and Can’t Give Blood…He’s “Mad” as Hell and isn’t going to take it anymore!

  1. gary pedrick

    I too picked up the blood donation habit from my pop.Was quite surprised and dismaed when I read this new question on the blood donor form . Have felt osriciesed ever since and feel great resentment . no one seems to understand my feelings I think it has something to do with the great number of folks who for reasons unknown are so adamately oppossed to giving blood. since I learned of my bar to donation I have made it my new mission to recruit new donors and believe me its a lot tougher than sittng in the chair for 30 min and feeling a tiny pin rick

    • padresteve

      Gary,
      Nit a bad idea, however with my sick sense of humor I might go around dressed like Dracula to do the recruiting. It is so weird to be ostracized in such a manor. I was watching an older episode of Boston Legal the other day on DVD and it was the one where they had the Mad Cow trial where a township had banned beef.

      Thanks for the comments and blessings,

      Padre Steve+

  2. SMB

    Hey, I am so glad I came across this blog. I am from Mississippi, where we are in the midst of a blood shortage of everything. My blood type is AB negative, and I have been a faithful donator since I was legal. Now I can’t give blood because I’m an army brat who lived in Germany from 1982-1987. I am thirty and very healthy but can not donate blood. It just seems a bit much. Anyways…thanks for writing what I’ve been thinking.

    • padresteve

      Amazing huh? But look on the bright side, if you do anything crazy or erratic you can blame it on the Mad Cow. I do. Blessings, Padre Steve+

  3. It is commendable that you wish you could still donate blood, but you should brush up on your facts. Even extremely high temperatures (up to 720 degrees) have not killed the infectious agent responsible for transmitting CJD. And since the disease can be incubated for up to 40 years, regardless of how healthy someone appears, they can still carry the disease. And I don’t think you would be so glib about it if you saw someone die from this disease. The disease literally eats away at the brain. Since the UK government has admitted that people were dying from a new variant strain of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, and that mad cow disease was the most likely cause. The scientist who headed the U.K. government’s Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee, James Pattison, had even admitted that millions of people could already be incubating the disease, which is indetectable, incurable, always fatal and invisible for years or even decades before emerging as an Alzheimer’s-like killer. I’m sorry you can’t donate blood. But if this step can help prevent an epidemic of this disease, it is a VERY small price for you to pay. Why don’t you visit cjdfoundation.org and check out the educational DVD to learn more about something before you post misleading information.

    • padresteve

      Ms LaTorre

      Show me the statistics. We are now how many years into this and what are the numbers? What I see from my research which obviously is inferior to yours is that very few people over the past 30 years have died of the variant and it is the variant that usually shows up quickly. Forgive my facts but simple quoting statistics and saying that millions could be infected yet almost no one is dying seems to misleading in its own way. I just think that people like you don’t want us meat loving folks to be able to donate. The fact is that no one is going to listen to me anyway. I lobby for no one nor have no power or government grants to support my jousting at windmills. The problem that I see is that government bureaucrats would rather make up things than admit that they were wrong about anything. I don’t need your DVD I watch Boston Legal.

    • mike

      I understand where you are coming from but up until 1995 i gave over 5 gal of blood.did the CDC contact all the people that recieved my blood and all the people that recieved thier blood and so on …you multiply that by about 100,00 millitary that this affected and you get the point that we are trying to convey.! Because the CDC don’t stop all the people we gave blood to from donating ..WHAT IS THE POINT!!!

  4. Right, obviously I think it’s okay for the blood supply to get dangerously low as long as only vegetarians donate blood… Actually what I really think is that if the government is taking the step of admitting the risk of infection through blood transfusion, then how about putting resources into developing a diagnostic tool to screen all blood donors (not just the meat loving folks) to ensure the safety of the blood supply. How many thousands were infected with HIV before blood was screened? And I agree with your statement that the bureaucrats would rather make things up than admit they were wrong. Just not sure we agree on what they’re wrong about. They want us to think only UK beef posed a threat, but cattle farmers are still using calve formula containing bovine blood, restaurant scraps in cattle feed, and the feeding of chicken manure to beef cattle (chicken feed can include beef byproducts). And it’s not my DVD, though it is very informative. But hey if Boston Legal is providing you with enough information, great.

    • padresteve

      Ms LeTorre
      Here’s the deal, half of this is tongue in cheek especially the Boston Legal remark, although that was a great episode. At the same time it is half serious. The fact is that if it is not just UK beef than no one that eats American, Canadian, or any other beef should be excluded too. Likewise those that go to Scotland to wear dresses, throw telephone poles, drink ale, whiskey and eat copious amounts of haggis on two week vacations should be banned as well. That I would think is high risk behavior but there is not exclusion for them. The fact is that the current policy is half thought out and done as a reaction to media hype versus facts. I’m all in favor of taking appropriate steps to ensure the safety of the blood supply, I have worked critical care in major medical centers and teaching hospitals. I also eat very little beef, a steak or a Kobe burger on rare occasions. I don’t lie about my status and follow what rules there are and I do not advocate that people that have lived in Europe in the specified time period brak the rule either. What I see is a badly thought out policy that is discriminatory and does little to address the concerns that you point out. Now I may not agree with your conclusions based on the studies that I have read but it is what it is. Thanks for your comments and forgive me as I joust at windmills in this case your windmill.
      Peace, Padre Steve+

  5. Hi, Just one final comment. I’ve now read through your site and have to say that basically I’m in agreement with a lot of what you have to say, and even if I didn’t, that’s okay too. I think the government’s ban on blood donors is a way to reassure the public, when in fact it is an inadequate measure, and rules out a lot of much-needed healthy blood. Guess it just hit a sore spot as you see I’ve just lost my husband to this dreadful disease, so I’m probably a bit oversensitive. And there is so much ignorance and misinformation about it, even among so-called health care professionals. Please forgive any offense. Thanks for your comments, and God bless you for all you do. Peace, Marisa

    • padresteve

      Marisa
      Marisa

      I am sorry for your loss and I agree that this is a terrible disease that ends up taking everything away from the people that it afflicts. I imagine that it took that man that you knew away from you even before he died. Had I known how the disease had taken your husband from you I would have certainly not been as flippant in my initial response to you. I am a person that figures that in most things there is room to disagree unless that is the intrinsic evil that I associate with the Los Angeles Dodgers, or those who treat other people shamefully based on race, religion, ethnicity, sexual preference or political differences.

      Thank you for your comments and come back any time. My dad died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease last month and I have a lot of compassion for those that have lost loved ones to any of these neurological diseases.

      Peace and blessings,

      Padre Steve+

  6. Tim Blakeley

    Steve,
    Just found out two days ago about this horrible segregation to former service members on the topic of donation first hand. I have been living in bubble apparently, and went to donate plasma and was denied. Wow, how many people were there during that time, military or not, and to just isolate those individuals is almost criminal..
    For one second, lets be heartless and cruel, and forget that its about the necessary blood in all medical fields and locations around the country that need to be kept as full as possible. Lets forget that we may be saving lives of others that may actually need our blood or plasma. Lets forget the argument that we served our country and now we are thrown under the bus by the same people that put an M-16 or whatever weapon in our hands for defense.
    Nah, lets get to the selfish story. Other people are getting 200 a pop a month to donate and we are unable. Some may be getting more or less. We have been denied this right because our country thought that was where we needed to be (Europe)to serve our country best. Yes, it the enlistment was voluntary, but most of us didn’t have a choice on our base.
    So my question is, why don’t those of us who are being denied have a suit against future earnings withheld? Would this speed up the process of finding a suitable test? Would it do anything? I dont know.
    Frustrating!! And thanks for the well written post, enjoyed every word of it.

    Tim

    • padresteve

      Tim

      As you know I am in your “Amen” corner. It is like being treated as if you are a criminal.

      Blessings,

      Padre Steve+

  7. SRLG

    Hi Guys,
    I’ve been through all that you guys have been. Even being denied income because my former place of employment gave 4 hours pay to anyone who donated blood! But I have a fact not mentioned here that may make this topic even more ‘conspiracy theory’ eligible. You guys probably did not do the grocery shopping at the commissary; I did. There were many, many occasions where we were given free beef at the commissary. I never questioned why – just assumed the active duty were being appreciated for their service. But after learning my blood may carry this disease, I often wonder if the meat was suspect??? Just saying.
    Keep me posted!
    SRLG (not using my name because of the shame 😉 )

    • padresteve

      We dis some shopping at the commissary but I don’t recall getting any “free” beef. Despite that going to the commissary was something just short of going to East Berlin to shop. It was not the free market and if they were out of something or didn’t carry something that was just too bad.

      • Tom Ezell

        The free beef give-away at the USAREUR and USAFE commissaries was a deal back in 1980/81 to help take care of a commodity surplus for the cattle industry back in the World. I do remember it. Good job on your espousing this issue. I note that the Red Cross now accepts blood donations from gays, but not from the Cold War veterans. I too gave many gallons of blood up to the time the new CJD rule came out, but now they treat me like a leper. Well, they’re not on ‘my’ charity list any more, either 😉

  8. Dan M

    I, too, just found out over the past weekend that neither I nor my wife can donate blood because of this. We were turned away from a blood drive after revealing that I was stationed in Germany in the mid-80’s. And yes, we DO remember all of the “free beef” that the commissary would give us, and it made us ponder whether this beef was tainted.

    From what we were told, the FDA hasn’t yet come up with an acceptable “Mad Cow Disease test”. Hmmm…..now the conspiracy theorist in me comes out – we were given free beef while a member of the Federal Government…..and now we cannot donate blood because of the threat of Mad Cow disease…..and the FDA (another Federal agency) somehow can’t come up with a test…..can you say “millions of lawsuits due to us being given tainted beef” if a pattern emerges showing that many of us are carriers?

    I’m not saying…..I’m just saying.

    • padresteve

      Dan

      I know the conspiracy theorist that lurks in me as well, I guess that’s why I like the X-Files and Men in Black. 😉

      Blessings

      Padre Steve+

  9. robert

    i set in at the red cross and talked and gripped about this so much they gave me a free mug and a coke just to shut me up lol. and no one there could acually give me any info as to why except to say, sorry that is what the FDA is telling us. And one other thing I recieve my primary care at the VA and yet to see or here any concers about this. what gives? I mean FDA banned my blood could and will kill you no test, been around for thirty years now. I think i will write my congressman. And where are the groups that are suppose to be repressenting us, (IE DAV, VFW, and so forth

  10. Chaney

    I understand the frustration one might have being regulated by the FDA and CDC…but being a blood recipient, receiving many transfusions and blood products because of Luekemia, my immune system is already compromised, I am thankful for faithful donors, but honestly, I want to know that blood being pumped into my veins is safe. My cancer Dr says, when in doubt “cut it out”….I would say the same about blood, if you aren’t 100% sure the blood could not harm an already compromised recipient, then it’s not a good idea to give it to someone.

    I am alive today because of blood donors and quality processes.

  11. Donald Graves

    I was in Germany from 1980 to 1983 serving in the Army. My wife and I had a neighbor and friend who was an LA police officer diagnosed with Leukemia, as a show of support all his fellow police officers, family and friends took part in a blood and bone marrow donation drive. When it was my time to donate blood and volunteer my bone marrow to support my friend, the nurse after reading my questionnaire looked at me like I had the plaque and then informed me that I was not ever allowed to give blood or bone marrow donations due to my time in Germany during the 80’s and the mad cow disease. The nurse did inform me to “help myself to juice and cookies while waiting for my wife to donate.” My friend passed away about a year later and I always think of the hurt I felt for not being able to show him my support. That was my first encounter with mad cow disease. The Red Cross has me black listed on their donor list to this day.

  12. I am the zebra in the haystack…I lived in England and Germany during the Mad Cow outbreak and we were warned of possible exposure through the military Commissary’s meat supplied by the UK. I recently had genetic testing that came back with SNPs for Prions Disease & CJD. My doctors told me my symptoms were from other conditions. Yes it’s rare, but I also have other rare genetic conditions that affect Protein-coding, so maybe I was more susceptible to infection.

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