Sunday, January 19, 2014

Blood Donations

 Blog contributed by Dr. Joseph Cincotta, primary care physician

January is often a time when there is a greater need for blood donations.  So, once again this year we are coming to you to make a gift only YOU can provide – the gift of a blood donation.  You can be the one to save someone’s life.  You can be the one to make a critical contribution to the care of someone in need.  You can make a difference.

Donating blood does take some of your time, and it does require a needle stick.  I will not kid you on these facts. Yet, those who do this work are skilled professionals who work to make the experience efficient and friendly.  The discomfort is minimal and is short-lived.  The benefits are enormous and last a lifetime. 

PinnacleHealth's Blood Bank is located at: 
Alex Grass Medical Sciences Building
100 South Second Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101
Phone: (717) 231-8900

Here are some facts about blood donations from the American Red Cross:

Facts about blood needs

  • Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.
  • More than 41,000 blood donations are needed every day.
  • A total of 30 million blood components are transfused each year in the U.S.
  • The average red blood cell transfusion is approximately 3 pints.
  • The blood type most often requested by hospitals is Type O.
  • The blood used in an emergency is already on the shelves before the event occurs.
  • Sickle cell disease affects more than 70,000 people in the U.S. About 1,000 babies are born with the disease each year. Sickle cell patients can require frequent blood transfusions throughout their lives.
  • More than 1.6 million people were diagnosed with cancer last year. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.
  • A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood
Facts about the blood supply
  • The number of blood donations collected in the U.S. in a year: 15.7 million
  • The number of blood donors in the U.S. in a year: 9.2 million
  • Although an estimated 38% of the U.S. population is eligible to donate, less than 10% actually do each year.
  • Blood cannot be manufactured – it can only come from generous donors.
Facts about the blood donation process
  • Type O-negative blood (red cells) can be transfused to patients of all blood types. It is always in great demand and often in short supply.
  • Type AB-positive plasma can be transfused to patients of all other blood types. AB plasma is also usually in short supply.
  • Donating blood is a safe process. A sterile needle is used only once for each donor and then discarded.
  • Blood donation is a simple four-step process: registration, medical history and mini-physical, donation and refreshments.
  • Every blood donor is given a mini-physical, checking the donor's temperature, blood pressure, pulse and hemoglobin to ensure it is safe for the donor to give blood.
  • The actual blood donation typically takes less than 10-12 minutes. The entire process, from the time you arrive to the time you leave, takes about an hour and 15 min.
  • The average adult has about 10 pints of blood in his body. Roughly 1 pint is given during a donation.
  • A healthy donor may donate red blood cells every 56 days, or double red cells every 112 days.
  • A healthy donor may donate platelets as few as 7 days apart, but a maximum of 24 times a year.
  • All donated blood is tested for HIV, hepatitis B and C, syphilis and other infectious diseases before it can be released to hospitals.
  • Information you give to the American Red Cross during the donation process is confidential. It may not be released without your permission except as directed by law

Remember, this is a gift only you can give.  So, please consider donating blood this month - this year.  Your help is vital to save the lives of those in need.  Thanks.


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  19. However, some people may experience some side effects of blood donation, such as lightheadedness or minor bruising.

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