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Banking blood safe, easy

by Berna Bass, staff writer

 

More than 200 blood donors are needed in Hawai‘i everyday. Blood is always needed, and the need is increasing and not just because there are more accidents, but also due to advancing technology and improving life-saving medical procedures.

 

 

According to the Blood Bank of Hawai‘i, a nonprofit organization that collects, processes, and stores blood, almost 90 percent of U.S. citizens will need blood transfusions sometime in their lives.

A pint of blood can save up to three lives. Different parts of blood can be used for different medical purposes: whole blood transfusions and component therapy; transfusions that require a specific blood element or to treat a specific medical need and used for patients in surgery to replace lost blood, or to treat anemia and kidney disease.

HPU communication major, Shelly Awaya, is a regular blood donor. “When my mom was sick and died, the amount of blood used (for her) amazed me because so many people helped (by donating blood),” she said. She said it’s an amazing feeling, “taking an hour to save three lives.”

The Blood Bank holds a blood drive at HPU every semester, with the last one held on Oct. 15. Students and faculty who missed it or would like to donate again, may do so by appointment at any of the nearby Blood Bank offices. The nearest one is located right down Fort Street Mall at 126 Queen St. Call 848-4726 to schedule an appointment .

The only requirements for donating blood are age and weight. Donors must be at least 17 and weigh at least 110 pounds. Donors who have a tattoo, must wait a year before donating blood to ensure they don‘t have AIDS or any other restriction for donating. According to the Puget Sound Blood Center, AIDS can be transmitted at the early stage of infection, when the test results can be negative. Donors must wait several weeks before donating again.

For regular blood donors, the process is fast and easy. First-time donors should be prepared to spend a little more time to register, they need to present valid identification to verify birthdate and social security number.

A nurse then interviews them about health and social history, then proceeds to check pulse, blood pressure, temperature, and hemoglobin. After this point, donors may be deferred for a number of reasons, which the nurse will explain.

Donors who are accepted have to sit or lay on a bed, and a nurse will give them a stress ball to pump the blood, and then actually draw blood into a designated bag.

Once the donation is complete, food and refreshments are provided. For more information see BBH’s Web site

 

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