Have you ever donated blood? Donating blood is a simple thing to do and it makes a significant impact in the lives of others. If you have ever needed surgery, there is a large chance that you have answered the question, “If required, would you be willing to accept a blood transfusion?” Donated blood and blood products processed from donated blood saves lives every day. Donated blood is used for many purposes; including patients who require a blood transfusion during or after surgery, chemotherapy patients during treatment, and for patients living with various medical conditions such as sickle cell disease. Every 2 seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood, and 41,000 pints of donated blood are used on a daily basis.
Recently, both of our Arizona College campuses partnered with the American Red Cross, and held successful blood drives at each campus location. The Mesa Campus drive was held on June 24th, and the Glendale campus drive was held on July 1st, 2014. Students, staff, and faculty came together and donated blood to help make a difference in the lives of others. The blood drives were held in actual medical mobile units supplied by the American Red Cross which resembled medical clinics assembled on a modern, clinical bus.
The goals for both campuses were met, with the Glendale campus exceeding their goal by 3% and collecting enough blood to save 99 lives! Our students, staff and faculty truly changed the lives of others who will receive this blood; thank you for your participation!
The journey from “arm to arm” is quite rigorous and involves many steps to ensure the blood is safe for use. Do you know what the process entails from when the blood is donated to when it can actually be used? Here are the interesting steps in the process:
- Donation-Each donor is screened for medical purposes. A health questionnaire and mini physical is performed. 1 pint of blood and several small test tubes are collected from each donor. Each collection is labeled with an identification tag to track to the donor and is stored in a cooled refrigerator.
- Processing-The donated blood is scanned into the database. It is spun in a centrifuge to separate the blood components such as platelets, red blood cells and plasma. The components are leuko-reduced (white blood cells are removed) and bacterially tested. Test tubes are sent to the lab for testing.
- Testing-The test tubes are received at one of five Red Cross National Testing Laboratories. A dozen tests are performed on each unit of blood to test for blood type and infectious disease. Test results are generated within 24 hours; if infectious disease is present, the collection is discarded and the donor is notified.
- Storage-When test results are received; all appropriate units are labeled and stored. Red blood cells are maintained at a temperature of 6 degrees C for up to 42 days. Platelets are stored at room temperature in agitators for up to 5 days. Plasma is frozen and stored in a freezer for up to 1 year.
- Distribution-Blood is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to be shipped to hospitals for patients in need.
If you participated in our recent blood drive, or have ever donated blood in the past, thank you for your efforts to help others in need of this precious resource. Keep an eye out on our Arizona College Facebook page regarding future blood drives that Arizona College will be hosting in collaboration with the American Red Cross.
Are you interested in a career in the medical field? Have you thought of the possibilities of becoming a Medical Assistant or a Registered Nurse? Make a change in your future, and Contact Arizona College today to learn more about our allied health degree and diploma programs offered at our Glendale and Mesa campuses.