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Jun 2, 2016

Healthy Living: Why You Should Become a Blood Donor

June fourteenth is World Blood Donor Day. Everywhere people are encouraged to give blood selflessly to improve health conditions or save lives. Additionally, the Day is used to build awareness about the need for availability and appropriate use of safe blood and blood products.   At the Blood Bank of the Central Health region, there is always a need for blood. While there are regular donors, the bank is appealing to volunteers to give blood. Healthy Living tonight, celebrates those volunteers to have committed to saving lives.

 

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

The entire process from start to finish took no more than twenty minutes of my time. From filling out the questionnaire, a quick follow up interview, hemoglobin test to the actual donation. As you would expect extracting the blood takes up the bulk of the time. The phlebotomist has to tap into a vein to start the blood extraction and few hand gripping exercises aid the blood being pumped out. A little bit of time is spent relaxing after the donation and a complementary cup of sweetened juice. This process is repeated anywhere from five to twenty times a day at the blood bank in Belize City. It’s simple, fairly fast, and not painful at all – well that depends on your tolerance level. Yet every year in June, we hear the same consistent message: More Voluntary Blood Donors needed.

 

Doreen Madrill

Doreen Madrill, Nurse Phlebotomist, Belize Blood Bank

“Whenever an accident, a big accident, a stab wound, several gun shot, and those people end up in the hospital which they always do. They use blood. In emergency, they will give them blood. Stabilize them then they will encourage the relative to come and replace the blood but most of the time they don’t so we end up in a loss all the time.”

 

Nurse Phlebotomist Doreen Madrill has been working with Central Health Region at the Blood Bank for fourteen years.

 

Doreen Madrill

“Replacement donors are donors who come in and donate blood for somebody. Some family member, some friend, some cousin for somebody but not to the blood bank. Voluntary come in and donate to the bank and the voluntary donor are the donors who keep us going.”

 

Currently only ten percent of the blood donated at the bank is voluntary. Now, a person can only donate blood every three months and the blood expires thirty-five days which means that there is always a need to replenish and build the blood stock.

 

Doreen Madrill

“In general I do blood drives and all the blood come in as voluntary donor. It’s just that they don’t come in house. I go out. I should never have this blood bank without a negative. I must find a negative to be in the blood bank. So I have to search for myself for a negative for the blood bank. Just in case anything happen; just in case of any emergency the stock lab will always have a negative. Even if it’s only one; one must be there.”

 

So what would she do? Get on the phone and call her regular voluntary donors to come in so that in the event of any emergency the blood from all groups would be available. Studies have shown that the blood from volunteer donors tends to be much safer. So what is their incentive?

 

Doreen Madrill

“They just feel good to help, that their blood will be used, for somebody who needs. It’s just a good feeling for them that they can offer their blood voluntarily, no charge no nothing and somebody can come and have access to it. Whenever a voluntary donor donate blood they can come back whenever the family member needs and transfer the unit of blood to the individual name and I just offer a receipt. No problem.”

 

Now that you understand why its important, what does it take to donate blood?

 

Doreen Madrill

“You must be fairly healthy because remember its sick people you’re giving the blood to and those are innocent people that’s why they use us as healthy individuals to get the blood from. When you come you need to be honest, no cough, no cold, no fever, no allergies, no nothing. You must be healthy. Take no medication. If you’re on antibiotics, must be one week after your last dose.”

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