Pumping Blood: Blood Donation Day 2016

Right now there is approximately five litres of blood pumping through your veins, with a blood cell making a round trip every minute. This water composite is vital to bodily functions; providing valuable oxygen to all living cells; it is donated blood that often is what save lives in medical emergencies. Today is World Blood Donor Day, designed to remind people how “blood connects us all” a sentiment should be listened to by people globally as a reminder to the importance of life.

Today 8,000 blood transfusions take place in UK hospitals; 5360 will be used to treat medical conditions, 2160 transfusions used in surgery and 480 transfusions will treat after childbirth blood loss. That is an enormous quantity of blood, and with only four percent of the populous donating, the UK especially, require more donations to compete with demand.

Not many people know how donated blood is used; that it is quite often split into component parts for use. The process is simple, starting with the removal from the volunteer. 470ml of blood is removed less than a pint in a intravenous process that takes less than half an hour, and often accompanied by a few biscuits. Blood is then scanned and placed as a record in a database; it is now tested for disease and contamination. If clean for use the blood is then centrifuged to split it into platelets, blood cells and plasma. These can then be given individually or as an unspun sample.

So today is a day to say thank you to the people who donate blood voluntarily and encourage more people to sign up to do so. In the UK 200,000 new donors are needed every year and as most donors are over 45 an appeal to get young people to donate a drop or two is regularly broadcast. Find out if you are eligible to donate blood here.


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