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Donating blood is a lifesaving act

June 19, 2022

If you’re comfortable attending in-person events again, one kind of event that you might want to consider is a blood drive! This can be a great way for you to do your part to save lives—up to three lives, as a matter of fact, with every donation.   

To become a blood donor, you must be at least age 16, weigh at least 110 pounds, be in general good health and be feeling well on the day you donate, according to the American Red Cross. You can donate whole blood once every 56 days. 

UHS encourages those who can donate to do so. Blood donations are needed by a wide variety of patients in healthcare settings: individuals with cancer, sickle cell disease and chronic diseases, such as anemia or hemophilia. Burn victims and other trauma patients may also require blood products during treatment. 

In addition to whole blood, some people can give specialized blood-product donations. A “power red” donation is a concentration of red cells, required for patients who need transfusions. Power red donors give a standard whole blood donation, then the red cells are separated, and the additional blood components of plasma and platelets are re-infused into the donor at the same session. The ideal blood types for a power red donation are O (positive and negative), A negative, and B negative. 

A platelet donation collects only the tiny cells in your blood that form clots and stop blood loss. During these donation sessions, an apheresis machine collects platelets and a small amount of plasma and returns your red cells and most of the plasma back to you. According to the Red Cross, a single donation of platelets can yield several transfusable units, whereas it takes about five whole-blood donations to make up a single transfusable unit of platelets. Ideal blood types for a platelet donation are A (positive and negative), B positive, O positive, and AB (positive and negative). 

An AB elite donation collects plasma, the blood component used to treat patients in emergency situations, and AB plasma can be given to anyone regardless of blood type. Blood is collected, the plasma is separated from other blood components, and blood cells and platelets are returned  to you. AB elite maximizes a donation and takes just a few minutes longer than a standard blood donation. 

Blood drives are scheduled at UHS Binghamton General Hospital. All will take place in the Russell Community Room. 

The upcoming dates are: 

  • Tuesday, July 5, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. 
  • Wednesday, Sept. 14, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. 
  • Wednesday, Nov. 23, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. 
  • Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. 

To find more upcoming blood drives that may be convenient for you, visit www.redcross.org/give-blood.html. Plug in your zip code for a list of drives by date or by distance, and the results will also show the number of remaining appointments for each event.