I went to give blood last week. I knew that it had been quite some
time since my last visit, but I was really surprised that it was 1995 since the last 8th pint donation. Obviously, after leaving Dublin, updating
the Irish Blood Transfusion Service of my new address was not a priority, but this service now ensures that’s no longer an excuse.
I was impressed by the process of mobile donation unit at a local school here in Sligo. Registration was simple – on submission of name and dob – my old Dublin address was updated with the new address; I shared my mobile number so that I could be texted when the service is next in the area.
I was then handed a comprehensive form (with barcode attached) to tick off the yes/no responses, which were then verified by a Doctor reading through the questions again and verifying the answers; these were then signed off by me, and I was asked to wait while my name was called for the next step of the process – the blood iron check.
I was advised to have a large glass of water, which I did and then the blood iron check (it seems my level of 16, with a minium acceptable level of 13 was perfectly good). The nurse attending scanned the barcode on my form, and recorded this on my record.
Then finally to the donation process itself. The needle insertion was definitely more painful than I remember before – I was told afterward that a larger needle is used for those who have not donated in the last two years to recover platelets; This ensures that a full screening can take place.
Seemingly my blood group is in constant demand – I was told that that only up to 10 pints at one time of it are held in the blood bank – this seems awfully low – not sure how accurate this actually is. Nevertheless, definitely more of a reason to donate regularly.
A number of things impressed and reassured me.
- First, the use of technology – at a level appropriate to the environment of a mobile unit. Quite obvious that the laptops are working off (at least) a full, core demographic database and are networked.
- The thoroughness of the questionnaire; these are extremely detailed and uncomprising; the fact that they are again double-checked by staffm and signed by the donor, make it extremely thorough.
- The constant (but in a good way) requests by staff to verify identity, mitigating against donation mixup.
- On a lighter note – no, you no longer receive a glass of the black stuff – things have changed.
This is really interesting to read about a blood donation in Ireland. Here is the US its a little different, they ask TONS of questions in the typical politically correct way. Thx for helping out, if your in the US and looking for places to donate to, I found this site: http://bloodbanker.com has a really good directory.