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April 6, 1984

Six Bucks, Doc

JAMA. 1984;251(13):1709. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340370041027

It's the part of town where Precision Machine Parts and Len's Auto Rebuild are neighbors to Reasonably Honest Dave's Used Appliances and Charlie's Finest Adult Movies. "If you haven't a friend in the world, you'll find one here," proclaims the sign over the Mission on Commerce Street at 15th.

"You can't reject me, Doc.... I need the money," protests a mother whose serum protein level is too low. Fortunately, her husband can donate plasma in exchange for gas money.

My job is to make sure the blood products donated here conform to federal standards and to treat uncommon, adverse donor reactions such as dizziness, convulsions, citrate intoxication, or a major blood group mismatch should the incorrect cells be infused. "Why the handcuffs?"

"In case my old lady gets out of control.... I snap 'em on 'er and hook 'er to a tree." The tattooed one with the heavy leather vest