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- A patient needs blood after a major accident in which there is loss of blood.
- All major surgeries are performed with sufficient blood of the same group as of the patient, as there is bound to be blood loss.
- For Open Heart surgery and other major surgeries, about 6 units of blood is required.
Where from will we get blood in the above cases? A normal healthy man or woman can donate blood. That means blood can be taken out of any person for transfusing to the patients or to the persons who require blood. This is called Blood Donation and the person from whom blood is taken is called a Donor and the person to whom blood is to be transfused is called a Recipient.
In the early days blood transfusions were done by directly taking out blood from the Donor and simultaneously transfusing to the Recipient. Nowadays it is not possible, as blood must be scanned for various diseases such as VDRL, Jaundice, Malaria and HIV/AIDS, before transfusing to the recipient. As scanning will take some hours, nowadays, blood donated by the donors are scanned and stored for future use and blood of the same group already scanned and stored is given for transfusing to the recipient.
Nowadays, Blood is collected in polythene bags specially made for collecting and storing blood, containing a fluid for preventing blood from getting coagulated. About 450 ml of blood can be taken from a Donor. This blood, along with the anti coagulant fluid in the bag, is known as one unit of blood. The scanned blood can be stored up to 35 days, when kept in CPDA anti coagulant solution and refrigerated at 2 – 4 deg C. But the demand is so great that blood hardly ever remains in storage for so long and is used much before expiry. The places where blood is stored are called Blood Banks.
Know your Blood Group. We must know what is our own Blood Group and also blood groups of the members of our family and of our close relatives, and if possible about our close friends. Because if Blood has to be transfused for some purpose or other, such as in Surgeries, we must know that, the patient must be transfused with the same group of blood only. Only in emergent circumstances we can apply the rule of O Negative Group as Universal Donor and AB Group as Universal Recipient.
If the blood transfused to a patient is incompatible/mismatched, the patients will have the following symptoms:-
- Increase in Pulse rate
- Increase in Respiratory rate
- Increase in Body Temperature(101F to 105 F)
- Fall in Blood pressure
- Reduced Urinery Output
There are three different types of Blood Donors:-
- Professional/Commerical Donors:- who actually sell their blood, which may be of poor quality which can transmit very dangerous diseases to the recipient. It is illegal to take blood from any professional donor.
- Replacement Donors:- Healthy relatives and friends of the patient can give their blood, of any group, to the blood bank. In exchange, the required number of units in the required blood group will be supplied by the Blood Bank, after scanning the donated blood at the cost of the donor/recipient. Mostly only the recipient/or the relative of the recipient will bear the cost of scanning.
- Voluntary Donors:-When a donor of blood of any group donates blood voluntarily and free of cost, the blood can be used for any patient even without divulging the identity of the donor. The cost of scanning the blood will be collected from the recipient/or the relative of the recipient. This is the best type of blood donation where motivated human beings donate blood in an act of selfless service.
Who can donate Blood? Any person within the age group of 18 – 60 years with a body weight as minimum 45 kgs, and having hemoglobin content as minimum 12.5 gm% is considered as healthy blood donor. The blood donor must eat at regular mealtimes and drink plenty of fluids before donating blood. The procedure of taking out blood is done by skilled, specially trained technicians at Blood Banks and it will take three to eight minutes, and the entire process will not take more than 35 minutes. There will be a little sting when the needle is inserted, but there will not be any pain during the donation. There will not be any adverse effects after blood donation. However,the donor needs rest, preferably lying down, so that the amount of blood that has been donated soon gets poured into the circulation from the body pools in a natural way. The donor should take rest for about 15 – 20 minutes. Routine work can be done by the donor after the initial rest. Only rigorous physical work should be avoided for a few hours.
Within a period of 24 – 48 hours, the same amount of new blood will be formed in the body, which will be helpful to the donor’s health. The body will replace blood volume or plasma within 24 hours. Red cells will require about four to eight weeks for complete replacement. After this the donor may offer another blood donation.But normally, Blood Banks will not take blood from a donor who has donated blood in the past three to six months, depending on the stamina and health of the donor.
If the person willing to donate blood is having the following diseases or conditions, blood should not be taken from such persons:-
- Fever: The person should not have suffered from fever in the past 15 days.
- Jaundice: A donor should not have had Jaundice, in the recent past.
- Blood transmitted Diseases: Like Syphilis, Malaria, Filaria etc. will disable the person from donating blood till he/she is treated and is free from the diseases.
- Taking Drugs: If a person is taking drugs like Aspirin, anti-hypertensive, anti-diabetics, hormones, corticosteroids etc., he is unfit to donate blood.
- HIV/AIDS. No person having HIV positive will be allowed to donate blood.
Blood Donation is a noble, selfless service, which gives the donor a feeling of joy and contentment. Blood Donation is an expression of love for Mankind, as blood knows no caste, colour, creed, religion. race, country, continent or sex.