Every year, more than four million Americans receive blood transfusions. These life-saving gifts of blood-donated by approximately eight million blood donors - go to surgery patients, accident victims and patients with serious illnesses like cancer and hemophilia.
To ensure local supply of healthy blood, Mercy Medical Center operates its own Blood Donor Center, which is a partner of LifeShare, a non-profit, FDA-licensed, independent blood services organization.
Locally, about 700-735 volunteers generously donate blood each month at the LifeShare Donor Room at Mercy Medical Center or at a LifeShare mobile blood drive, creating a local blood supply that stays in the community, meeting patients' blood needs.
Who Can Donate?
Blood donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health. National studies indicate that fewer than five percent of those eligible to give blood choose to become donors.
APHERESIS- A Special Kind of Donation
LifeShare also operates an apheresis program at Mercy. From the Greek word meaning "to separate," apheresis is a special kind of blood donation that collects only certain parts of the donor's blood and returns remaining components to the donor. The most often needed component is platelets, irregularly-shaped, colorless cells that help form clots to stop bleeding. Plasma, the fluid portion of blood, is also in high demand.
People who need platelets are often critically ill from leukemia and other types of cancer, or certain blood disorders that interfere with the body's ability to produce platelets. Infants, burn victims, trauma patients, hemophiliacs and transplant or cardiovascular surgery patients use plasma to help recovery from illness or injury.
The most fragile blood product, platelets have a five-day shelf life (compared to whole blood's 42 days).
Facts About Blood and Blood Banking
How much blood is donated and transfused each year? About 14 million units of blood are donated each year by approximately eight million volunteer blood donors. These units are transfused to as many as four million patients per year.
Who needs the blood?
On any given day, approximately 40,000 units of red blood cells are needed. Accident victims, people undergoing surgery and patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or other disease, such as sickle cell and thalassemia, all utilize blood.
Who donates blood?
Less than five percent of healthy Americans eligible to donate blood actually donate each year; however, statistics indicate 97 percent of the population will need a blood transfusion at some point in life.
What is Apheresis?
An increasingly common procedure is apheresis, or the process of removing a specific component of the blood, such as platelets, and returning the remaining components, such as red blood cells and plasma, to the donor. This process allows more of one particular part of the blood to be collected than could be separated from a unit of whole blood. Apheresis is also performed to collect plasma (liquid part of the blood) and granulocytes (white blood cells).
How long does it take to make a donation?
The apheresis donation takes longer than whole blood donation. A whole blood donation takes about 10 minutes to collect the blood, while an apheresis donation may take about an hour. Apheresis donors may donate every 2 weeks.
Is donated blood safe?
Blood is safer today than it has ever been before. LifeShare has five layers of safety procedures: blood donor eligibility standards, individual screening, laboratory testing, confidential exclusion of donations, and donor record checks. LifeShare also works closely with government agencies and other entities to enhance blood donor screening practices, increase disease testing, improve computer tracking systems, and ensure good manufacturing practices.
What tests are performed on donated blood?
After blood is drawn, it is tested for ABO group and Rh type, as well as for any unexpected antibodies that may cause problems in the recipient. Screening tests are also performed for hepatitis B surface antigen (HbsAg), the hepatitis B core antibody (anti-HBc), antibody to hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV), and for antibodies to the human immunodeficiency virus (anti-HIV-1 and HIV-2), the human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV) p24 antigen, the human T lymphotropic virus type I & II (HTLV I & II), and syphilis.
How is blood stored and used?
Each unit of blood is normally separated into several components. Red blood cells may be stored under refrigeration for a maximum of 42 days, or they may be frozen for up to 10 years. Red cells carry oxygen and are commonly used to treat anemia. Platelets are important in the control of bleeding and are used in patients with leukemia and other forms of cancer. Platelets are important in the control of bleeding and are used in patients with leukemia and other forms of cancer. Platelets may be kept for a maximum of five days. Granulocytes (white cells) are sometimes used to fight infections, in persons that are immunocompromised. They must be transfused within 24 hours of donation. Plasma, used to control bleeding, is usually kept in the frozen state for up to one year. Cryoprecipitated AHF, which contains clotting factors, is made from fresh-frozen plasma and may be stored frozen for one year.
Where can blood be donated?
There are many places where blood donations can be made. LifeShare bloodmobiles travel to high schools, colleges, churches and community organizations. Many people donate at blood drives at their place of work. People can also donate at Mercy Medical Center's donor center. If you'd like to have a blood drive at your church, civic organization or social club, call 330-489-1076.
What are the criteria for blood donation?
To be eligible to donate blood, a person must be at least 17 years of age, be in good health and weigh at least 110 pounds. All donors must pass the physical and health history examinations given prior to donation. Nearly all blood used for transfusion in the United States is drawn from volunteer donors. The donor's body replenishes the fluid lost from donation in 24 hours.
To learn more about the LifeShare program, or to become a donor,
please call 330-489-1076. Your donation will offer the gift of life to someone in this community.
Blood Types Occur in the United States as Follows:
Giving And Receiving
What Blood Types Are Compatible?