Thursday, March 10, 2011

"Donating Blood One Time Can Potentially Save the Lives of Three People" By Rochel Shapiro, RN, BSN

Fun Facts about Blood Donation

  • How can one person potentially save the lives of three people, in under an hour? When a person donates blood, the person who needs the transfusion might receive either whole blood, or blood products. Whole blood can be processed to create four separate life-saving products: red blood cells, platelets, plasma, and cryoprecipitate (American Red Cross, n.d.).
  • Donated blood is needed every two seconds in the United States
  • Out of every ten people admitted to the hospital, one person will need a blood transfusion. Blood donation is needed by people with Sickle Cell Anemia, cancer patients, accident victims (American Red Cross, n.d.), patients who have lost blood during surgery, and other people who are critically ill.
  • A healthy person who has donated blood can produce a continuous supply of red blood cells, plasma, and platelets in a few hours, to a few weeks (American Red Cross, n.d.).
  • Researchers are investigating ways to create artificial blood, but have not yet discovered alternatives. Patients are donating their own blood before procedures for reuse, and new surgical procedures are available to reduce the amount of blood lost during surgery (National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, 2009). Blood donation is still urgently needed.
  • The Function of Blood: Blood contains cells, and liquids, and each component of blood is necessary to sustain life. Red blood cells carry oxygen and other essential nutrients to the body’s tissues, and removes waste products, such as carbon dioxide. White blood cells protect against infection, platelets help control bleeding by forming clots, and blood plasma contains water, protein, electrolytes, carbohydrates, cholesterol, hormones, and vitamins (Nemours Foundation, 2009).


References
American Red Cross. (n.d.). 50 quick facts. Retrieved from http://www.givelife2.org/sponsor/quickfacts.asp

National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. (2009). What is a blood transfusion? Retrieved from http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/bt/bt_whatis.html

Nemours Foundation. (2009). Blood transfusions. Retrieved from http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_body/medical_care/transfusions.html

Rochel Shapiro is a NJ Registered Nurse and Freelance Medical and Legal Writer. She is the former President of the SUNY,RN to BSN Student Board, and is a member of Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society and the Delhi Nursing Honor Society. Ms. Shapiro is a student in the MSN program and can be contacted via e-mail: rochel.shapiro@duke.edu.