11/22/02 - Blood 101

Those of you who donate bloodare familiar with the process. But what happens to the blood you donated after you get up from your chair, and walk out the door? The 30 minutes or so it takes you to donate blood is the easy part (although painful personally). We found out Friday, donating is just the beginning.
Getting the blood from donor to patient may pretty quick, but there's a lot to be done in that 24 hours. As a group of Red Cross volunteers found out, it takes a lot of hands to get that done.
Just ask Anthony Barnes, he works at the national testing lab in St. Louis, there are only eight other labs like it in the country. He and the others who work there see a lot of blood on a daily basis.
"Once it comes from your arm it's ready for patients in 24 hours," he says. "In a regular testing lab, we see between four to five thousand units a day." The tubes, that are filled up along with a unit every time you give blood, go through a series of 12 tests. "It goes through antibody screening, nucleic acid testing, testing for hepatitis C,B, HTLV, different tests for HIV, two NAT tests," Barnes says.
Red Cross workers say those tests assure blood is safe when it's given to hospitals. Dorothy Dees has been a blood drive volunteer for 20 years, this was her first time in getting a lesson on blood works. "I was surprised at the number of donations collected everyday and the number of those uses," Dees says. It's new information she can pass on the next time she volunteers at a blood drive, to let everyone know donations can save lives. "I think now I can probably answer some questions for the people who come to our blood drive I wouldn't have known before," she says.
We're already gearing up for the ninth annual KFVS 12 blood drive. January 16th through the 18th we'll be set up at six locations throughout the Heartland. Keep watching Heartland news for more information.