Local drive collects over 100 units of blood

This article submitted by Michael Jacobson on 12/15/99.

Blood drive A blood drive on Monday, Dec. 6, was deemed a success. With blood in higher demand over the holidays, especially Type O, the American Red cross held a drive at the Paynesville Lutheran Church that targeted Type O donors.

At right: Bobbie Diaz aids Wayne Alther in donating blood.

The goal for the drive was 100 usable units of blood. With 136 donors showing up and giving 121 units of blood, the drive surpassed its projections. Of those donors, 105 with Type O blood were scheduled. Only 14 donors were turned away.

"(The Red Cross) thinks it's an unusually high number of Os, and they're ecstatic about this," said Renae Wirkkula, who helped coordinate the local drive.

According to the Red Cross, from Paynesville the blood will be taken to the Twin Cities for dividing and testing. Each unit of blood is divided by centrifuge into three basic components: red blood cells, plasma, and platelets. Each blood donation can be used for up to three patients.

Meanwhile, the small test tubes of blood are used for testing for the AIDS virus; two types of hepatitis; syphilis; and several other diseases. Testing is done at a Red Cross laboratory in Eagan. Each unit of blood is also classified by blood group and Rh factor.

Blood carrying disease is unusual, but if found is destroyed and the donor notified. The Red Cross feels these tests, along with prescreening and a registry of donors, ensures the safest possible blood supply.

After the blood passes all the tests and is divided into parts, the blood is stored in coolers in St. Paul for distribution to hospitals. The Paynesville Area Health Care System receives its blood from the Red Cross.

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