Perhaps you’ve just participated in Foothill Technology High School’s recent blood drive. After signing some paperwork and enduring a few needles, you’ve walked out of the United Blood Service’s truck as an official blood donor.
But who will receive it? How great of an impact did your 30-minute donation create?
In fact, one donation can save up to three lives!
Recipients of blood transfusions vary from patients fighting leukemia and bloodborne diseases to victims of traumatic accidents and to mothers and newborn infants who had complications during childbirth.
A mother once needed 140 pints of blood– luckily she received it and miraculously recovered. Most blood donations are transported to local centers and hospitals, but recently, the United Blood Service has extended beyond the local scope and provided blood to victims of both the Las Vegas shooting and hurricane in Puerto Rico.
What exactly happens to your blood afterwards?
Your blood is primarily composed of several different units: red blood cells, platelets, white blood cells and plasma. Components of blood can be collected in several different types of donations:
- The most common donation is a whole blood donation, where you can donate all components of your blood.
- The next type is a double red blood cell donation. This is for you folks who don’t have enough time– in just one visit, you can donate twice the amount of red blood cells. Two units of RBC’s are extracted through an apheresis machine, and then the other platelets, plasma, and WBC’s are returned to your body, along with a saline solution to rehydrate.
- Then for plasma donations, the plasma is similarly collected in an apheresis machine and the rest of your blood is returned back to you.
- Platelets are collected in the same method as plasma, with an apheresis machine.
See the photo gallery below for a glimpse of how the blood is processed.
No matter the circumstances, blood donations are always needed. In as little as 30 minutes, your simple donation can enter the process to save lives in Ventura or even nationally.
Simply sign up here!
–Rachel Chang and Anna Lapteva
Featured Image Credit: Rachel Chang