When I joined pathology as a junior resident in 2005, Blood Bank was my 1st posting. The very 1st thing which we learnt was how to recognise a genuine blood donor from a paid donor, so that the donated blood is safe for the recipient and the act of donation is safe for the donor. Of course, the donated blood is further tested and only if it is free of all the potential pathogens ( bacteria / viruses etc) it is marked as safe.
I was never able to donate blood during my residency. My hemoglobin would never cross 11.5 g/dl and I would be rejected. That’s how stringent the donor criteria are. No amount of coaxing would help as it is not safe to donate when your hemoglobin is borderline. I donated for the first time in 2015. After that I have donated three times till the last one recently.
Anyone between the age of 18 and 65 in a good health can donate. The hemoglobin is checked on site, whether it is India, UK or Dubai. Your medication history will be checked by the staff. Even if you are on chronic medication but the disease is controlled, it is worthwhile to check if you can donate because in some cases you might. Pregnant and nursing females should not donate.
Next comes the question why should one donate? This is because blood cannot be synthetically produced. In situations with excessive blood loss, for example during prolonged surgeries, accident cases etc Blood is the only replacement that can save life.
As a Blood Bank Incharge, at times we have faced situations where we need a constant supply. At those times, we are faced with dilemma of asking the patients near and dear ones for replacement. Imagine your own loved one, and how this sounds. You are already stressed with the sickness and the ruthless doctors are asking for blood? Truth is they are helpless, because the only source of blood is human body. These are situations when we send out alerts via social media. Hence, the need for voluntary blood donation.
What are the benefits to the donor? Blood cells in a body are always in a continuous circulation. The new blood cells are being produced continuously and old cells destroyed. When we donate blood, our body will replace the loss within no time. People who donate regularly are less likely to suffer from anemias and cardiac events. A healthy male donor can donate again after 12 weeks and a healthy female donor can do so within 16 weeks.
One blood donation can save upto 3 lives, as these days blood is processed into different components which can then be used. Blood donation is easy and actual procedure just takes 8 to 10 minutes.
Blood donation is gratifying. I felt so happy when I got a message today that the blood I had donated was issued to one of the hospitals where it would be used. Each donation counts. Find out more about blood donation from the Who website.
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