U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific

 

U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific

In Any Clime and Place

Donating blood saves lives

By Cpl. Juan D. Alfonso | | March 16, 2011

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Cpl. Deandre A. Simms-Aguilar, an administration clerk with Headquarters and Service Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, donates blood during a blood drive March 16 here. Donations to Armed Services Blood Program ensure service members and their families have the blood needed to treat numerous blood disorders, conduct surgical procedures and save lives.

Cpl. Deandre A. Simms-Aguilar, an administration clerk with Headquarters and Service Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, donates blood during a blood drive March 16 here. Donations to Armed Services Blood Program ensure service members and their families have the blood needed to treat numerous blood disorders, conduct surgical procedures and save lives. (Photo by Cpl. Juan D. Alfonso)


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When drawing blood, medical personnel stick the needle in the antecubital space of the arm, where the skin is thinnest and feels the least sensation, making the procedure relatively painless. All it takes is a momentary pinch of a needle to save the life of a service member or their loved ones.

When drawing blood, medical personnel stick the needle in the antecubital space of the arm, where the skin is thinnest and feels the least sensation, making the procedure relatively painless. All it takes is a momentary pinch of a needle to save the life of a service member or their loved ones. (Photo by Cpl. Juan D. Alfonso)


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During the blood collection process, medical personnel gather additional blood samples to test for an array of blood disorders and communicable diseases. Every unit of blood is rigorously tested before approved for transfusion into a patient.

During the blood collection process, medical personnel gather additional blood samples to test for an array of blood disorders and communicable diseases. Every unit of blood is rigorously tested before approved for transfusion into a patient. (Photo by Cpl. Juan D. Alfonso)


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A single unit of blood can be separated into red blood cells, platelets and plasma. The situation dictates which is transfused into a patient.  The average person has eight pints of blood. It takes 24 hours for the human body to replenish the volume of blood donated and eight weeks to restore your red blood cell count.

A single unit of blood can be separated into red blood cells, platelets and plasma. The situation dictates which is transfused into a patient. The average person has eight pints of blood. It takes 24 hours for the human body to replenish the volume of blood donated and eight weeks to restore your red blood cell count. (Photo by Cpl. Juan D. Alfonso)


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The Tripler Donor Center collected more than 7,300 units of blood last year. According to Army 1st Lt. Mark W. Preston, the center’s officer-in-charge, the majority of blood donated to the Armed Services Blood Program in Hawaii remains on island. Per month, 160 units of blood are sent to Iraq and Afghanistan to treat injured U.S. personnel and another 20 units are sent of support security and humanitarian operations in the Pacific. ::r::::n::There is no way of knowing how much blood will be needed on an annual basis but Preston says a drop is never wasted and there is always a need for blood.

The Tripler Donor Center collected more than 7,300 units of blood last year. According to Army 1st Lt. Mark W. Preston, the center’s officer-in-charge, the majority of blood donated to the Armed Services Blood Program in Hawaii remains on island. Per month, 160 units of blood are sent to Iraq and Afghanistan to treat injured U.S. personnel and another 20 units are sent of support security and humanitarian operations in the Pacific. ::r::::n::There is no way of knowing how much blood will be needed on an annual basis but Preston says a drop is never wasted and there is always a need for blood. (Photo by Cpl. Juan D. Alfonso)


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CAMP H. M. SMITH, Hawaii -- When you donate blood you save and improve the lives of service members and their families.
The U.S. has been at war for more than nine years. According to the 2011 Defense Casualty Report more than 5,500 service members have died in combat operations and more than 42,000 have been injured. Without donations to the Armed Services Blood Program, it wouldn’t take a stretch of the imagination to see the number of deaths doubled or tripled.


That’s why ASBP personnel conduct blood drives around Oahu on a regular basis, such as the March 16 blood drive here.


But just as important is the impact ASBP blood donations have on military families and service members at home. The blood you donate to the program stays in the military community and is used in emergency procedures, operations, and in many cases, to treat disorders over a long period of time.


“They need my blood,” said Cpl. Matthew Sweet, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific’s aviation safety noncommissioned officer-in-charge who donates blood on a regular basis. “I’m a universal donor and I get free doughnuts and a T-shirt out of the deal,” he said jokingly.


A unit of blood can be separated into red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the tissues throughout the human body, platelets and plasma, which contribute to blood clotting and prevents the patient from bleeding out.


“No matter what your blood type is, you should donate,” said Navy Seaman Michaela Armstrong, a hospital corpsman with the Camp H. M. Smith Medical Annex. “If you were in a situation where you needed blood and they only had four units of O negative blood [the universal donor blood type], they would only give you one unit.  That’s because O negative is always in demand, but if they have your blood type on hand, it could save a life.”


Blood donations do more than save lives; for some it improves the quality of their lives. Patients with anemia, a condition where the patient has a low red blood cell count, require red blood cell transfusions to prevent multiple debilitating symptoms, such as fatigue, heart murmurs and heart attacks. Transfusions are also used to treat cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and the list of conditions it can treat goes on.


According to Army 1st Lt. Mark W. Preston, officer-in-charge of Tripler Medical Center’s Blood Donor Center, there is always a need for blood and every drop counts.


Even the excess blood in the tube is tested to ensure patients receive the right blood type and that it’s safe for use.
If you’re on the fence as to whether you want to donate, remember that the choice to donate doesn’t just affect the troops, it affects their families as well.


It only takes a slight pinch of a needle and a pint of blood to save someone’s husband, wife, sister, brother or child.


“If you’re worried about the needle sting, imagine what someone in an intensive care unit or on deployment might be going through,” Armstrong said. “The more relaxed you are the easier it is and it’s relatively painless to begin with.”

For more information, visit the ASBP’s official website at https://www.militaryblood.dod.mil. If in Hawaii, you can contact the Tripler Blood Donor Center at (808) 433-6148.

The next ASPB blood drive is scheduled for March 29 at the Schofield Barracks Exchange.

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