It wasn’t but a few months ago that a call for help went out.Tornadoes had decimated portions of North Texas and a fertilizer explosion left the small town of West in shambles. The call for blood rang out and the folks in Parker County stepped up as they usually do and donated. With the summer months in full swing, the call for help is ringing out again as local blood banks are running dangerously low. Weatherford Regional Medical Center, in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Weatherford, will again be hosting a Blood Drive from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Friday in the parking lot near the Heart and Vascular Center and Weatherford Regional. “This is your opportunity to give back to the community,” said Emily Lewis, Marketing Director for WRMC.Tina Barns, Director of Laboratory Services at Weatherford Regional, said all types of blood are needed at the moment “Donors go through stringent tests including HIV, hepatitis and liver enzymes, so it is great to know your results and it is great to know you are helping people,” Barns said. “Typically multiple blood components are processed on each unit collected such as packed cells, platelets, plasma and such.”Another benefit about any blood donation done at the drive is that it is not only an irreplaceable gift but, after processing, it stays in Parker County.Carter is proud to say that every donation of blood can help save more than one life because it can be processed into its components: red cells, plasma, platelets and cryoprecipitate. Through one donation, as many as three lives can be saved.When the phlebotomist collects a unit of blood, samples are also collected in test tubes. The blood is sent to the lab for processing while the test tubes are sent to the testing facility. All donated blood will undergo this testing, regardless of how many times the donor has given blood.While testing is being completed, the donated blood unit is separated into components using a method called centrifugation (spinning). Because the red cells are the densest, they settle at the bottom of the bag. Then the less-dense cells (platelets) and plasma (being the lightest component) remain at the top of the bag.The platelets and plasma components are then placed into separate bags, with the red cells remaining in the original bag. The leukocytes (white blood cells) are separated from the red blood cells by filtering, a procedure called leukoreduction. This process reduces the risk of post-transfusion infection for the patient receiving the red cell transfusion.After the blood is tested, typed and processed, it is labeled by blood group and the day of donation. It is then stored for distribution to hospitals. Whole blood can be transfused for 21 days after the donation. Red cells can remain refrigerated for 42 days. Platelets are stored separately and must be used within five days of the donation. Plasma is often frozen for later use.Other blood facts:The average adult has 10-12 pints of blood traveling all over his or her body through the heart, lungs, arteries, veins and capillaries. Blood is an essential part of our bodies that performs these functions:• Replenishes oxygen and removes carbon dioxide• Distributes essential nutrients to cells• Carries away metabolic waste materials for disposal• Recognizes antigens (foreign substances) and produces antibodies (immune defense mechanisms)• Clots cuts, wounds and scratches to prevent bleeding.Call 817-599-1672 to set up your appointment.
Lance Winter, 817-594-9902, Ext. 102 Twitter: @Lancewinter