Blood Donors: Where Are You?

After the 9/11 disaster, blood donors were lined up around the block.

Although it happened that there was not a huge need for their services - the injuries and loss of life were much less than expected, and those there were casualties were most likely beyond any help that blood could provide - the sentiment was fantastic and the blood banks were full.

So where are you all now? Don’t get me wrong - I think it was great that you came out in time of emergency moved to help people that needed it. But the need TODAY is arguably greater than the need on 9/12 or 9/13, it’s just far less dramatic.

This is, at best, a very gentle Pitting for you foul-weather blood donors: come out now when the weather is fairer, too, please. Blood supplies are low. Your blood is needed. Why the hell are you staying home now when you could be doing more good? Don’t be a sheep that just stood around with the herd three years ago and does nothing now.

Thanks. In advance.

  • Rick

The Bloodmobile comes to our work about once every three months. In fact, they’re coming again on Friday.

I am currently working on my second gallon.

I’m doing my part!!

I used to donate blood, but I don’t anymore.

The reason I won’t donate now? Telemarketing.

I have a calendar and am very capable of counting fifty six days on my calendar. I know that is the time limit between donations for the blood bank here, and I politely asked not to be included in their telemarketing. They assured me that I would not be on the list and that no one would be calling me. I typically donated blood at every blood drive at work, which are generally scheduled four times a year. Considering I was giving the stuff away, I considered this an adequate amount to donate.

Day 56 rolls around, and guess what? My phone is ringing and it’s the blood bank. They want to know when I will come in and donate. I tell them that I donate blood at every blood drive at work, and they insist that I come ‘very soon’ to donate. They start asking what day they can put me down for. I tell them I will be at the next blood drive at work, which is coming up in a couple of weeks, and they hang up. The next day, they call again.

Repeat daily for a week, and finally I tell them that I am rather tired of being harassed to give my blood, considering that it is up to me whether I wish to make a donation, and they attempt to give me the guilt trip that five people might die without my blood.

Well, y’know, blood bank, this is called donating for a reason. It means I do so voluntarily out of a desire to cause something good to happen. It doesn’t mean call and harass me ever 56 days so that you can have my blood.

They’ve stopped calling (that took about four months as the calls gradually tapered off) and now they send me post cards at least once a month. They had a donor, and they lost me because they made it out like my donation was an obligation.

If they change their ways, I’ll go back.

I would give, but I can’t.

My blood ain’t good enough for them people.

Naw, I just have anaemia and am not allowed to donate. My iron levels will never be up to what they want them to be (or is it my hemoglobin? I dunno… what I have has to do with my red blood cells breaking down faster than normal)

So why don’t you stick it to the company that annoys you by donating somewhere else rather than sticking it to the people who need your blood? If the Red Cross is annoying you, give at a local hospital. If it’s a private company (locally we have LifeSource), give at the Red Cross or a hospital.

I personally like the reminder call I get every eight weeks, that way I’m less prone to forget. But I only get two calls, one to remind me to make an appointment, and one to remind me of the appointment.

Last December, I was a week short of donating my fifteenth gallong (ie: my 120th pint), when I came down with a Deep Vein Thrombosis, blood clot in my leg (this was related to the pulmonary embolism that resulted in my walking out of the Return of the King )

As a result, I was put on blood thinners, and can’t donate. Urg.

Next month, I will be taken off of the meds for a couple of weeks whle they run some tests. I am told that a week off the specific medication I am on is sufficient to make me eligible to donate. After that, I go back on the meds and will once again be ineligable.

So, I am going to get that last damn pint in during those two weeks!

Despite monogamy, a clean bill of health for the past 3 years, and no drug habit, I am not allowed to donate blood.

Otherwise, I would.

I used to donate when I was in college, but now that I’m diabetic, my blood can’t even keep me alive without the benefit of recombinant DNA.

I can’t due to low blood iron but I would. I wonder too about all the foul-weather donators.

My favorite story (relevant) about what an *sshole my last boss was. Two weeks before 9/11, my office had a blood drive. My iron was too low as usual (I got tested). My boss said he never donated for whatever lame-o reason.

9/11 happens. Everyone wants to donate. My boss finds some ridiculous reason to email the entire office to let them know that he doesn’t normally donate but he’s making an exception in this case. Loser. That’s the freaking reason you donate regularly. So when an emergancy happens, you’ve already done your part. (not that I’m still bitter or anything :slight_smile: )

I love to donate blood.

But they’ve gotten too picky. I had a tooth abcess two years ago. They want me to go see an oral surgeon and get an xray to make sure the abcess is healed. Sorry, insurance isn’t paying for that, the oral surgeon assures me it isn’t necessary, I don’t need to be exposed to more radition than I need to, so I’m not doing it. I’m still willing to give blood…they just aren’t willing to take it.

Other than that, I’m a great candidate. A neg. No hepatitis. Monogomous. Never used drugs. Healthy. And I don’t mind getting stuck.

I try to donate at least every couple of months, schedule permitting. Right now I can’t, because it’s apparently hasn’t been 56 days yet since the last one(I don’t know why it has to be 56 but until then).

Granted, it also seems to me that they are a little TOO picky about their blood. From that list I’ve been given, it seems like pretty much anyone who’s been out of the country for any length of time cannot donate. Last time I almost couldn’t donate because my blood pressure was too low. I had to go run around the block in order to satisfy them on the magic blood pressure number.

I don’t weigh enough, so they don’t let me donate. Otherwise I would. I see no reason why people can’t at least occasionally do it – it’s not that bad, I did donate for myself for surgery once. (They insisted I had to do it a half at a time, and I had to go in twice. Then the surgery got rescheduled and the blood was tossed but I was billed with storage fees…but that’s a separate rant.)

The FDA believes I might have Mad Cow Disease, from my 6 years in the UK. Moo.

Never mind that it is becoming increasingly clear that cases of “nvCJD” have declined almost to nil, and that I have long passed any potential incubation period for the disease. Moo.

Or that it is becoming increasingly clear that nvCJD is not transferred from cows to humans after all. Moo.

So, along with all other people who have lived in the UK for six months or more between 1980 and 1996, I will not be allowed to give blood in the US for the foreseeable future–quite possibly for the rest of my life. Moo.

For those who have said that the blood folks are too picky – I wish I had enough medical knowledge to accurately judge this issue. My gut feel is that excluding a man who had sex with another man once in 1977 and has since lived a celibate life, while permitting a man who’s picked up a bar skank once per week since 1977 (but never exchanged money or drugs for sex!) may not be wise.

On the other hand, a line of some kind is probably wise. I just don’t have the education or background to judge where the line should be.

But all that doesn’t obviate the need for blood, and if some folks are improvidently excluded, it just means those that aren’t are even more needed.

  • Rick

There are 2 places that accept blood donations in my area. The first one did the call and harass while I was in college. The other has started it now.

Those who make any donation I choose to make seem like it is my obligation do not get the donation anymore.

Couple of points (one directly related to the OP, and one tangential):

I used to work for the Red Cross, setting up blood drives. I’m quite familiar with the “foul-weather donors.” These are the people who won’t do squat until a crisis occurs, and then want to rush in to give blood to help all the injured.

I used to explain to them that due to the length of time it took to test a pint of blood, their donation wouldn’t hit the blood supply for a couple of weeks. That caused more problems than it solved, particularly for those who wanted to donate for a friend or relative.

Once a crisis occurs, and blood is needed, it’s too late to donate. The blood has to be on hand before the crisis, which is why it’s important to donate regularly.

Now the tangential point: I was a semi-regular blood donor after leaving the Red Corss, usually giving four times a year. Then I got a false positive result on a Hepatitis-C test from a donation. The Red Cross immediately blackballed me, and said they would no longer use my blood. I got multiple independent tests verifying that I did NOT, in fact, have Hep-C, but that didn’t matter. Worse, the Red Cross shared the Hep-C info with the other major blood-donation group in our area (Civitans), and they, too, said they couldn’t use my blood. I was free to DONATE the blood, but they’d just destroy it when I did.

So I don’t donate any more. When the Red Cross changes their testing procedures, and uses a Hep-C test that will verify my lack of infection, I will donate again.

Just hold your horses, Bricker. I just gave June 1-- 56 days is tomorrow-- July 27. :wink: Although I will probably wait until next week, when a local radio station has their annual drive.

I was a regular, every-eight-weeks blood donor, along with my husband, until just recently, when I started being tested and treated for medical issues. They have been taking a lot of blood for tests and have been messing with my meds, so I have been advised not to donate for a little while. But as soon as I can, I will - and I stay on hubby’s case so that he donates as often as possible.

I deliberately did NOT donate after 9/11, figuring that they’d need donors a few months after. I was right. My father has a rare type, and he donated a lot when he was young enough. I don’t know how many gallons I’ve donated in 34 years, but I’m sure it is over 10. I’m over two in my current location. Both my kids donate also, and I’m proud of them.

I’ve only been rejected once, which was helpful, since my doctor recommended a multivitamin, and I’ve been okay since. Each time I get the test results, I get to see how low my chlorestrol is :).

It’s a shame that people get rejected, and that various problems might make them over cautious, but where are the rest of you? I like the phone calls - I can’t schedule effectively 56 days in advance (especially away from my calendar) so I expect the calls. I don’t probably every 60 - 70 days, far more often than the bloodmobile shows up.

So, who is going to donate for the first time, or start donating again? There must be some dopers out there who can donate but haven’t.

I guess I’m in the same boat as Sauron. I was up to 3 gallons when some chemical that was possibly indicative of Hepatitis C (but much more likely indicative that I was taking a boatload of Advil for sciatica) exceeded their tolerance level. So they sent me a polite letter telling me that they were desperate for blood, but not * that * desperate.

So yeah, guys. Call me back when you develop better tests.