Blood Donations: What happens after you leave? - Scottsbluff Area News, Sports, and Weather

Blood Donations: What happens after you leave?

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January is National Blood Donor Month, but do you know what happens to the blood once you have donated it?

KDUH News Director Ryan Murphy meets up with Western Nebraska Blood Center's Lead Phlebotomist to take you behind the scenes.

Countless people come into the blood donor center each year to donate.  But once you're done, what happens after you leave?

First, phlebotomists need to let your donation sit for up to 60 minutes.
"And then once the bag is done resting, we have a filter system in here, " explains Julie Dahlinger, "So we have it hang and it goes through this filter, which filters out all the white blood cells."
If the phlebotomist can remove all the while blood cells, there is less of a reaction for the recipient, which enables them to eliminate a lot of the transfusion reactions.
"So all the blood is now in the top bag... So we take it and with our other bags we put it in our nice centrifuge ... And we spin them."
Since red blood cells are heavier than plasma, they go to the bottom of the bag.
"And what it does like, there will be just red blood cells in here, and then the yellow plasma layer here. So we put that in here and with the pressure, when we break this, it causes the plasma to go into one of our other bags."

After that, the red blood cells are refrigerated until they are ready to be given to the patient.
The last product left is the platelets, which is mixed in with the plasma that was extracted.
"So a lot of those products are given to cancer patients to help with clotting or other patients that might be bleeding or having other problems."
All of this begins with you- the donor- and the West Nebraska Blood Center is always looking for people to come in to help save a life.

The West Nebraska Blood Center is open Monday through Friday, and is located on the second floor of Regional West Medical Center.

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