Thursday, February 23, 2006

My First Time Will Not Be My Last

Tuesday was my first time donating blood. I have thought about it several times and went in expecting to donate a few times (taking antibiotics and cold medicine got me turned down.) I did it right before going into work and I was iffy about the whole thing not knowing how long it would take. I guess, I have pretty good sized veins because they were able to get in there in one shot. Took only about 12 minutes to drain me.

I actually feel good about doing this because I do know that it will be useful for someone who needs it as currently the blood banks are low. I'm not too sure how long a donation can last but it'd be interesting to hear a news report saying that the blood bank is in a surplus. 93% of the 14 million units transfused to 4.9 million patients were collected via donation. Heck, there are even some believed benefits for men donating (reduce the risk of heart disease, controls blood iron levels and monitor your cholesterol level.) They liken it to bleeding off some oil from your car and putting fresh stuff in except your body is making the new stuff. I was pretty impressed with how easy this experience was and plan to do this again in the future. Later, I talked to a friend of mine about my donation and he said something to me that made me wonder: "I'm not donating. They charge so much money for the blood when it's used at the hospital that I'm not giving it for free."

My question for you is: How much of a difference between what it costs them to receive blood (provide extraction machines, provide clean needles, provide clean bags, provide clean surgical tubes, stock the donation center with food and drink, staff the center with medical professionals, store blood in a clean facility, promote donations, etc.) and what they charge the hospital, insurance and the patient? Would this keep you from donating?


LoraLoo said...

No, it wouldn't keep me from donating. Someone out there needs it, how else are they supposed to get it if my family isn't readily available and/or a blood type match?

Bar L. said...

I agree with Lora. I did get the nerve up to donate once and got turned down because I'd had a tattoo within a year. I will do it again someday - thanks for reminding me.

P.S. My brother has that rare type of blood and they practically beg him to give so he usually does.

Matt said...

Before my sugar problems I donated on a fairly regular basis. It doesn't bother me because I know if I need it there will probably be some there. Here is an interesting note. You know those plasma centers? I did a report once, and I found out that they pay people $15-$20 for a unit of plasma. They get paid about $2500 for it. I don't know how I feel about that one, but I guess they are trying to make money.

Ken said...

My family was just talking about this the other day. The way I look at it is, United Blood Services needs to cover their costs. This includes the kit to retrieve the blood, the salary of the folks that work the booths and the rest of the salaries at UBS. So I don't really have an issue with what they charge.

Teri said...

No that wouldn't stop me. What does stop me is the fact that I pass out when I get my blood taken. Yes, I know I am a wimp.

Nik said...

I donate every other month and nothing would make me not donate(of course, contamination issues and such would be a different story). Regardless of cost, people need this stuff and if I can help someone live longer, I'm all for it.

I've even donated plasma a few times, to thank whoever donated their's to keep my grandmother alive. I wasn't too fond of that procedure, but someone somewhere may need it.

Mr. Fabulous said...

Sweet! A subject I actually know something about!

I am a blood banker. I work as the Corporate Manager for LifeSouth Community Blood Center. We supply over 120 hospitals and medical facilites in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama.

There is no charge for the blood itself. What we charge the hospitals is the processing fee. That is what we figure we need to make in order to cover the cost of collecting that unit of blood. That includes everything from the purchase, maintenance, and fuel for the blood mobiles, to the training and compensation for all the employees, to cost of our fixed site donor centers.

LifeSouth's mission statement is simply "To provide the highest quality blood components at the lowest optimum cost." All blood centers are 501 c(3) non profit organizations.

You can donate apheresis and plasma at a blood center too, but if you donate at a "plasma center", that product is NOT going to be transfused to a patient, FYI.

I could write forever about blood donation, but I'll stop now LOL.

If you ever have any questions, drop me a line or visit me.

Great blog! I'm glad I stumbled across it.

Fred said...

I'd still donate. If I needed the blood, I could care less what they charge. I give blood whenever they're at school, probably every other month or so.

Beth said...

If I could, I'd donate every time it was possible. My thought is if it saves a life, I don't really give a shit what the cost is. What if it was my son in need?

BUT, I can't give blood anymore, so voila! No worries!