Ayesha Al Khoori | September 3, 2013
The next video I will be working on while training in the multimedia section will focus on the importance of donating blood. Yesterday, I went to the blood bank to speak to a few donors and doctors to see what we can do to raise awareness of blood donation. The bottom line: it saves lives.
Donating blood is an easy process. Once you register, your blood pressure and hemoglobin levels are tested by pricking a tiny sterilised needle into your finger and a small amount of blood is transferred into a mechanical machine that reads out the number.
Sadly mine were too low for donation and I was given a list of foods to eat to raise my iron levels. But, if your levels are normal you are escorted to another room where you are asked to lie on a bed. You will be given a sponge ball to squeeze in the palm of your hand, in order to ensure your blood flows to the vein that the blood will be taken from. A needle is then inserted in your vein and the blood flows through a tube into a bag. Now this process might sound scary, but I watched the medical staff working calmly to ensure the donor was relaxed and aware of all the steps. Once the bag of blood is full it is removed and you are provided with refreshments to gain back some energy. The process takes about 20 to 30 minutes in total. After the blood is collected, it is screened of several viruses and infectious diseases, to make sure the recipient is not harmed.
The doctors say the first few times might be difficult. Dizziness may occur, as the body is not used to the loss of blood, but the medical staff ensures you are comfortable, and donors cannot leave the facility until they are stable. A doctor I spoke to said the benefits of blood donations are countless. For one, you are helping someone who is suffering and possibly even saving someone’s life. Donating allows the blood in your body to circulate properly, preventing heart attacks and strokes. It produces more red blood cells to compensate for the lost blood, and that keeps the body healthy. The feeling ones gets after donating is indescribable. The physical body might be tired but the people I spoke to simply smiled and resorted to say “I feel happy” after they had given blood.
The blood donations go to those who need it. Whether they are battling cancer, suffering from hereditary diseases like Thalassemia and sickle cell anemia, or are having a surgery, they all need the blood that you can give. In return, you help curb their suffering by providing the blood needed for them to get well or even survive.
Hospitals are required to have a minimum stock of blood from all group types. The doctor at the blood bank explained that the stocks have been running low in recent weeks due to accidents as well as rise in surgeries, so now is the time to try to give back to those in need. Donating blood does not cost money, in fact if you become a regular donor you are given money by the centre as a way of showing gratitude. It takes a minimum of 20 minutes to complete the process, so even those of you who are busy can surely spare a few minutes to save a life.
My Instagram video of the initial testing that shows I’m not fit for donation: