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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen, We Need Your Blood!

There are many organizations around Lebanon who have taken specific interest in blood drives. For a reason. Despite this, there has always been a shortage of blood for patients in need. It's simple numbers, there are so many patients in need of blood transfusions that the number of donors is just not enough. It's the same with organ donation.

What if you could help? What's in it to you? I mean It's a hassle, a traffic nightmare, it's a bit of wooziness after a few hundred milliliters of blood have been drawn from your circulation, why do it?
Well what about the idea that your blood could be coarsing through someone else's veins and help keep them alive? From the 22 year-old man I saw in the ER a few days ago who was run-over and pinned down for 45 minutes under an SUV, requiring no less than 11 blood units overnight, to the 80-some year old lady with hemolysis, a bit of YOUR blood can make the difference between life and death. Have you ever stopped to think about that? I believe that donating blood is like donating any other organ. A kidney, part of your liver, all the same, and even better, with blood you get to do it all over again in a few weeks!

To donate, please visit Donner Sang Compter, and register.

Hey F. ;)

A few facts about Blood donation, what you need to know

- Donating blood is neither painful nor dangerous. If you are a healthy individual and have no prohibitive problems, you will be cleared for donation and experience no sequelae beyond a few minutes of wooziness and perhaps some mild nausea.
- You will not become weak or ill after donating blood.
- You will NOT get an HIV infection. Needles are sterile, prepacked, and used only once.
- Your blood will be screened for common blood-borne diseases before it is used. (HIV, Hepatitis etc...) and you will be notified if any of those screens are positive.

What about blood type and compatibility?

- Blood = Plasma (Fluid) + Formed elements (Red cells, white cells, platelets...)
- You can be one of four blood groups: A, B, AB, and O, depending on which antigens are present on the surface of your red blood cells: A antigens for group A, B antigens for group B, Both A and B antigens for group AB, or No antigens for group O.
- Similarly, you can be Rhesus positive, or negative, depending on the presence or absence of the Rhesus antigen.
- So which blood types are compatible? To answer this question, there is a third important component in your blood that needs to be understood, your plasma. Plasma is the base fluid that constitutes your blood and in which your blood cells and platelets are carried around your body. It contains all kinds of molecules (proteins, clotting factors, antibodies, sugar, electrolytes etc...). Of interest for blood  transfusion are the anti-ABO antibodies. These are part of your immune system and are the basis of the danger of ABO incompatibility:
- A person of the A group has anti-B antibodies in her/his plasma. So if she/he receives red blood cells from a person of type B or AB, the antibodies will bind these cells and destroy them, creating clots and a systemic immune hemolytic reaction that can be fatal.
- A person of the B group has anti-A antibodies, so they cannot receive blood from group A or AB.
- A person of the AB group has no anti-A or anti-B antibodies. They are universal recipients because they can receive blood of type A, B, AB, or O.
- A person of the O group has no antigens, they are therefore universal donors and can donate to all blood types. But they do have both anti-A and anti-B antibodies, and therefore can only receive type O blood.
- Similarly (remember antigen, antibody) a rhesus positive person can donate only to a rhesus positive person.
- A rhesus negative person can donate to both.

- Group A can receive type A or O, and can donate only to groups A and AB.
- Group B can receive type B or O, and can donate only to group B and AB.
- Group AB can receive ANY of A, B, AB, or O, and can donate only to group AB.
- Group O can receive only group O, and can donate to ANY blood group.
- Rh positive to Rh positive,  and Rh negative to both positive and negative for rhesus matching of any of the above combinations.

We need your blood. It's very simple.