If I were to drive to Las Vegas to donate blood, would that be more helpful than to donate locally?

In GQ in hopes that people who know the logistics can give an informed response.

If I were to drive to Las Vegas to donate blood, would that be measurably more helpful than if I were to donate locally in Southern California?

Probably not. The need for blood after an emergency is mainly to replenish supplies used in the immediate aftermath. The testing process normally takes several days to complete so your blood, wherever donated, would probably be used for that purpose.

I donate a double red cell unit several times a year. The last time was on August 25th. I received a message from the American Red Cross on September 19th stating:

That three week period between donation and use is pretty typical in normal circumstances. The previous one was on 6/30/2017 and it was used on 7/25/2017. That was a single unit. You can give a double unit every 112 days but only three times a calendar year, so once in a while I do a single.

Thanks, Bill.

I am glad to know that. My cousin donates platelets. Do you know what that means? I have always wanted to know. I would ask my cousin , but we ain’t talking.

Platelets are a type of cell in the blood that assist in clotting. To donate platlets the donation center extracts whole blood and separates the platelets from the red blood cells. They then return the red blood cells to the donor.

There are commercial companies that pay people to donate platelets. You can donate platelets far more frequently than you can donate whole blood.

That is interesting Bill. I donate blood to the San Diego blood bank and I have not received any emails about how my blood was used. But their literature stresses the local uses of the blood.


Platelet donation is an apheresis donation. Whole blood is removed from the donor, a device is used to separate the platelets from the red blood cells and plasma, and the red cells and most of the plasma are returned back to the donor. Because platelets regenerate very quickly you can donate platelets every seven days up to 24 times a year.

The double red is also an apheresis donation, except in that case the red blood cells and platelets are kept and only the plasma is returned. They keep the red blood cells from two pints of blood. Because red blood cell regeneration is slower than platelets regeneration they only allow double red donation every 112 days.

Another point in favor of donating where you are is that there are 8 hour lines reported to donate in Las Vegas right now. If you are moved to donate blood, best to donate where you are. It will be put to good use.

They started sending emails about the destination of the blood almost four years ago. The first one I have was in January of 2014.

That may coincide with my starting to use the Red Cross Blood app on my phone to set up appointments.

I think the donation that was used the furthest distance from the donation site went to Birmingham, AL. That was close to 600 miles from here.

All of them stress that all local needs are met before the blood is shipped to sites that are further away. Most of the time they’re used within 100 miles or so.

Just donate locally. It can probably be used where you are, and if it can’t, they’ll ship it to wherever it needs to go.

I was told not to donate after I blacked out on the table, so I don’t. :frowning:

The latest news conference (7pm PT) by the local authorities said they have all the blood they need for right now. They suggested anyone in the Las Vegas area wait until tomorrow to donate; whether that’s for further use by the victims or for general community needs, they didn’t say.

A much more helpful strategy is to set yourself a reminder to donate blood six months from now. During a crisis, so many people step up to donate blood that some of it ends up being thrown away because they have more than they need. But then everything quiets down and six months later there’s a shortage, especially of certain blood types.

I would donate as often as I could but they won’t let me. Because of the Mad Cow.

Don’t have a link, but I heard that they simply ran out of equipment. :eek:

There are some situations where whole blood cannot be used by the deadline, but certain blood products can.

In six months you could have donated twice. Go in two weeks to a month when the surge is over and those that gave early would normally have given. That is when another shortage develops. Also, many shortages during the upcoming holiday season starting in 10 weeks.