SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) - It's called the gift of life. A donation at the blood bank. And believe it or not, the blood banks says just a one pint donation can save three lives.
There are many ways to donate blood. A whole blood donation, double red cells, just plasma... but when you donate a whole blood donation, you can help three people. How? That pint goes into a centrifuge and is divided into three useful blood products... red blood cells, plasma and platelets. Red blood cells are what you get during a blood transfusion. "Long ago they did give whole blood, which was the plasma and the platelets and all the products. But they have determined that the plasma lasts better and is a better product if it's removed from the red cells," said Nancy Hittle. And your body can make up for the missing plasma and platelets when you receive the donation.
With the additive, red blood cells last 42 days out of the body. Plasma is frozen and can last up to a year. It's most commonly needed for burn victims. Platelets, used to stop bleeding, are the most fragile. They have to be kept at 72 degrees and only survive at that temperature for 5 days. "None of the products are released until all the testing is complete and acceptable," said Hittle. The testing is for dozens of different disease, maybe the most recognizable.. HIV, Hepatitis, and West Nile Virus. The Siouxland Community Blood Bank does all the testing overnight, helping ensure the blood, plasma and platelets can be ready for patients within 24 to 48 hours. The testing is done on all blood types, and every donor, every time they roll up their sleeve and give. "And we do appreciate the donors coming in and helping us out," said Hittle. If a donation tests positive for one of the many diseases, the donor is notified.
The Siouxland Blood Bank serves 37 hospitals in the area, so they are constantly helping replenish the blood supply at hospitals. If you'd like to give the gift of life, just call the Siouxland Community Blood Bank at 252-4208.
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