There are many deaths which occur as a result of a cascade of organ failures triggered by a single event, for example traumatic injuries, severe burns, infections and so on.
Since blood transfusion is a well-tested and established procedure which is safe and helps millions of people every year, would it be possible to treat people by "artificially conjoining" them by merging their circulatory systems with a small group of healthy volunteers? This would of course require them to have compatible blood groups and probably also immune systems to some degree, but it should be possible, at the very least for identical siblings.
Examples of use:
- A patient has severe burns on >95% of their body, with severe inhalation burns as well. Their lungs are barely working and doctors give them very low chances of survival. Luckily, there are ten volunteers who are wiling to participate in an effort to save this person. Their circulatory systems are merged, so the injured person does not have to rely on their lungs working properly. They do not have to eat, drink or breathe now. The blood from volunteers helps keep the blood of the patient oxygenated and in optimal composition, their immune systems help the patient's body deal with the possible infections and since they are eating well, the blood supplies the injured body with all the nutrients needed for recovery.
- A patient is senescent and suffers from all sorts of aging-associated diseases. They are a very important and rich person, so they pay some people to help them fight old age. This has already been tested to some extent.
- A patient is suffering from a nasty case of MRSA. The prognosis is bad, but luckily there are many people from the same group of infectees who have already recovered fully. Their immune systems are still on the lookout for any stray bacteria they could kill. So they are connected, the various blood cells and antibodies find the infection in the patient's body and quickly deal with it.
Could this work? Are there any recorded cases where this has been tried? I am looking for an answer which will address the potential biological challenges this could pose. Let's leave the potential ethical problems aside, they are off topic here.
P.S.: I know what you are thinking. Yes, I know about the movie. My question is serious though.
Edit: I talked to a doctor at the transfusion center and she told me that this approach is very similar to how transfusions were performed in the past. It was problematic because they had no way of knowing just how much blood was transferred between the patient and the donor. She thinks that what I suggest would probably not cause any immediate issues if done properly. However, I think there could be some immunological problems down the line if the people's circulatory systems were joined for a prolonged period of time. I would like to see some information about that.