What is Blood Donation?

I’ve been going on about blood donation for a while now.

I promise I’m not doing it to intentionally bore you. And despite my job as a doctor, I don’t have some morbid vampire like fascination with blood.

Blood and organ donation are massively life changingly important and you literally NEED to know about it as one day it may save the life of you or a loved one. I don’t really know how else to explain it to be honest.

Education and knowledge are powerful.

Let’s get educated and powerful in this series. Ready?

Blood donation is when you give blood.

Your blood can then be given to another person.

Blood is the red stuff stuff that runs through our bodies. It carries oxygen to tissues,  essential nutrients to cells, removes waste materials and fights infection like some badass super fuel.

Blood is made up of several bits all mixed together.

  • Plasma – Plasma is the fluid in the blood that carries around all the other stuff in the blood and contains things we need like clotting factors, immunoglobulins, albumin and a load of other stuff essential for life that we can discuss another day
  • Red blood cells –  contain haemoglobin which carry oxygen to cells and take carbon dioxide waste back to the lungs
  • Platelets – these are crucial in help blood to clot when needed
  • White cells – white cells fight infections

Our physical bodies can’t survive without it.

Sometimes people aren’t well and need blood to survive.

Thanks to modern medicine, a healthy person can donate blood. The blood is collected screened, separated into it’s parts and stored before it is given to people who need it.

Some common examples of this include but certainly aren’t limited to:

  • Severe bleeding –  this can happen in child birth, during surgery, after extreme trauma, or due to internal bleeds
  • Sickle Cell Disease – a group of inherited disorders that affect the red blood cells. These unusually shaped red blood cells don’t live as long or carry oxygen as well as normal shaped ones
  • Thalassaemia – a group of inherited blood disorders that cause anaemia (low blood count)
  • Blood Cancers – people with certain cancers of the blood may need transfusions to survive

This is how blood was used in 2014 hospital usage:

  • 67% was used to treat medical conditions
  • 27% was used in surgery
  • 6% was used to replace blood loss after childbirth

So long story short – your blood – the stuff running through your veins right now, can save someones life. Someone else choosing to donate blood could some day save your life.

Can I be honest with you? Sometimes I find that hard to grasp.
I guess because when you are fit and well, the imaginary possibility of one day maybe being sick just doesn’t always seem relevant, you know?

Until it does.

The thing with hindsight is that it is inherently too late.
If we want to keep the life saving process of blood donation – we need foresight. We need to for-see that if those of us who are able to give blood don’t passionately and regularly donate and encourage others to do so, one day there may not be enough blood for you or your future children.

If no one gave blood – there would be no blood to save you. It really is that real.

Giving blood saves lives.

Giving blood is needed.

Giving blood is my responsibility.

Giving blood is our responsibility.

 

 

Doctor Sara

 

 

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