Giving Blood: From Donation To Distribution

Have you ever wondered where your blood donation goes after the blood drive? Many of us know that it goes to hospitals, but how does it get to an accident victim? There are five steps that take place from donation and distribution when donating blood with The American Red Cross. These include:

  • Step One: Donating Blood - First the donor registers and answers a health questionnaire and a small physical is completed. About one pint of blood and several small tubes are taken from each donor. Everything that is donated is marked and labeled so they are kept up with and not lost. All of the donations are stored in ice cooling units and are transported to a Red Cross Center.
  • Step Two: Processing - All of the donated blood is put through a computer database and are spun in centrifuges to separate the different components (red cells, platelets and plasma). Primary components like plasma can be manufactured into components such as cryptonite. Single donor platelets are leukoreduced and bacterially tested, the test tubes are then sent for testing.
  • Step Three: Testing - Both steps two and three take place in parallel. The test tubes are received at one of the five Red Cross National Testing Laboratories where dozens of tests are performed on each unit of donated blood to establish the blood type and tested for infectious diseases. The test results are then transferred electronically to the manufacturing facility within 24 hours. If a test comes back positive, it is then discarded and the donor is notified. The test is confidential and are only shared with the donor unless it is required by law to make it public.
  • Step Four: Storage - When the test results are received, the units suitable for transfusion are labeled and stored. Red cells are stored in 6 degrees Celsius for up to 42 days. Platelets are stored at room temp in agitators for up to five days. Plasma and cryo are frozen and stored in freezers for up to one year.
  • Step Five: Distribution - Blood is available to be shipped 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Related: The Schafer Law Office - Red Friday Louisville Blood Drive

With this information, I hope you consider donating on November 29, 2013 for The Schafer Law Office's Red Friday blood drive. Remember every five seconds someone needs blood, and you could be that person one day. It is because of blood drives and the donors that attend. Save a life and consider donating blood today!

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