Diana McGregor is the coordinator of the Blood Bank at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center.
Question: In Arizona, how often is donated blood needed?
Answer: Every two seconds, someone is in need of blood. On average, Arizona hospital patients require 700 donors from United Blood Services each day. This equates to approximately one out of every seven hospital patients. Unfortunately, the number is increasing because of the needs of premature babies, cancer patients and our own longevity. Due to advances in science, blood has become a part of the continuum of care for many patients.
Question: What percentage of the population is eligible to give blood?
Answer: Thirty-seven percent of the population is eligible to give blood, but only 5 percent actually donates.
Question: What are some reasons why only 37 percent of the population is eligible?
Answer: There are many eligibility issues due to those that travel overseas and those serving in our military abroad.
Question: How do I know if I’m eligible?
Answer: Almost anyone who is healthy, 17 years of age or older and weighs at least 110 pounds can give. There are many “donation folklores”. Diabetics can donate blood, most persons who have had cancer in the past can donate, and most medications are acceptable. However, other restrictions/criteria exist. Potential donors may also log-on to www.bloodhero.com to review blood donor eligibility or can call 480-675-5497.
Question: Once I donate, who will get my blood?
Answer: One pint of blood (approximately two cups) may be separated into different components, so one blood donation has the potential of saving several lives.
Question: What are the blood components and their uses?
Answer: Red blood cells are most often used for surgery patients, premature babies and accident victims. Platelets benefit cancer and leukemia patients, while plasma is used for burn and shock victims. Cryoprecipitate benefits hemophiliacs.
Question: How often can I donate blood?
Answer: You can safely donate blood every eight weeks.