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The down-low on blood donations

donorYou may not run into a burning building or save someone from drowning, but you could save a life. In fact, every time you donate blood, you can save up to three people’s lives.

This may sound dramatic, but it’s true. There is a strong demand for blood, and each time you donate you are helping those in need.

Next time you drive by a car accident, consider that an accident victim can require up to 50 pints of blood. Compare that to your can of soda, which is not even one pint. For those strong people battling cancer, they use eight pints every week, and an organ transplant can use more than 100 pints of blood. A single blood donation gives only one pint of blood.

Your blood is special, and it can’t be made synthetically. The only source for blood is through donations from healthy people. Scott & White Donor Services Recruiter Gina Sawyer explains just how important blood donations are to this community.

“Nearly 400 units of blood are needed each week to meet Scott & White’s needs,” says Sawyer. “At the Scott & White Blood Donor Center, the blood you donate stays in Central Texas, so blood will be available in the community when you, your family, or your friends need it most.”

Keeping it Local

This means that every time you donate blood, you are giving the needed blood to your friends and neighbors in your community and surrounding areas.

“Any time you give blood you save lives, but where you donate is as important as the donation itself,” says Sawyer.

“Explore."

Scott & White is classified as a Level 1 Trauma Center as well as a major surgical and cancer treatment center, so with tragic events or intense treatments, people are transported here for help. Having immediate access to blood allows Scott & White to care for all types of patients in their time of need.

Why it Matters

“Sadly, there are more people who need blood in our nation than there are those who are willing to give it,” says Sawyer. “There has been a national shortage of blood since the 1990s and here at Scott & White, we have been in a long-term shortage for the past few years.”

There are hundreds of stories of how families have been impacted by the life-saving gift of blood, and without donors, that gift wouldn’t be possible.

“We have several faithful donors in the community who donate blood because they want to make a difference in the lives of others,” says Sawyer. “They may never meet the people they save, but they know their blood is saving lives.”

Misconceptions about Blood Donating

The average adult body has between 10-12 pints of blood. After one pint is donated, the body replaces the lost fluid within 24 hours, and regenerates platelets within two days and red blood cells within 56 days. This means your body can build back the lost blood and restores itself.

Here are a few things you may have heard about donating blood and some clarification:

  •  Donating blood is unsafe.
    • A person cannot contract HIV/AIDS or other diseases from donating blood. Sterile, disposable needles and supplies are used only once and are safely discarded after each donation. To ensure the safety of the blood supply, Scott & White Blood Center does not offer money for donations. All donors are volunteer donors.
  • Donating blood takes too long.
    • The entire blood donation process takes approximately 35 minutes with the actual donation only lasting no longer than 10 minutes.
  • Donating blood hurts.
    • Blood donation should not hurt any more than drawing blood at the doctor’s office. Highly trained staff and standards ensure a safe, efficient and pain-free experience.
  • Donations go to patients immediately.
    • Collected blood cannot be transfused to patients immediately because it must first undergo testing and processing to ensure quality for the patients. This process typically takes 48 hours. Donors can donate blood in honor of a loved one, and we have processes set up to be able to donate blood for a patient.
  • My donation doesn’t matter, they don’t need my blood.
    • Every two seconds, someone in the US needs a blood transfusion, but fewer than 5% of healthy Americans eligible to donate blood actually donate each year.

Donor Profile

If you see the need for donations and are considering donating blood, check out this blood type chart.

If you are the following blood type… You can receive the following blood types…
O+ (37% of people) O+, O-
O- (7% of people) O-
A+ (36% of people) A+, A-, O+, O-
A- (6% of people) A-, O-
B+ (9% of people) B+, B-, O+, O-
B- (1% of people) B-, O-
AB+ (3% of people) All blood types
AB- (1% of people) AB-, O-, A-, B-

 

Blood typing can help with transfusions and raise awareness of disease processes in specific blood types. If you have O- blood, for example, you are a unique donor because all blood types can benefit from your blood.

“Not only does donating blood save up to two people’s lives, it is healthy for you,” says Sawyer. “It decreases the risk of a heart attack; it helps you stay on top of your health with a mini-physical each time you donate; it’s the fastest way to lose a pound and you typically get free t-shirts, snacks or prizes.”

Donor Checklist

  • You must be 17 years or older.
  • The minimum weight is 110 pounds.
  • As long as you are healthy, you can donate blood your whole life. See our Donor Eligibility Requirements.
  • If you can’t donate blood, consider recruiting others or hosting blood drives.
  • It’s important to have a good meal and drink plenty of water before donating blood.
  • A picture ID is needed for identification purposes, so a driver’s license or employee badge works fine.
  • Most medications are fine, including blood pressure and cholesterol, but more details will be discussed in the mini-physical portion of the donation process.
  • Visit The Blood Donor Center, located in the main Temple hospital on 31st Street on the 1st floor across from McLane Dining Room.
  • Donation hours are Monday to Thursday, 8am to 7pm and Friday, 8am to 4pm.
  • View upcoming Blood Drives in your community.
  • For more information about donating blood or to request that your blood go to a specific donor contact 254-724-HERO.

Find a location near you to donate blood today.

About the author

Jill Taylor
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I contribute content and skills as a freelance writer for Baylor Scott & White Health. I enjoy improving our connection with our readers, patients and communities by assisting with a wide range of writing projects.

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The down-low on blood donations