Double red cell donation comes to Black Hawk College East Campus

Emalee Brink

Emalee Brink of Cambridge donates double.

Black Hawk College East Campus students, employees and public volunteers rolled up their sleeves for a good cause Oct. 22, donating 25 units of blood during the Student Life-sponsored blood drive. There were 12 first-time donors.

Whole blood donations contain red blood cells, platelets, plasma and white blood cells. Red blood cells are the most frequently used blood component and are needed by almost every type of patient requiring transfusion. Nineteen pints of whole blood were collected during the day.

The Peoria Chapter of the American Red Cross team brought a special machine that allows the donor to safely donate two units of red blood cells during one donation while returning plasma and platelets back to the donor.

During double red cell donation, blood is drawn from one arm through a sterile, single-use needle set to a machine. The machine separates and collects two units of red cells and then safely returns the remaining blood components, along with some saline, back to the donor through the same arm. Three double pints were collected using this procedure.

Benefits to this type of donation include:

  • Saves time and makes donations go further – For donors who are extremely busy, committed to donating blood and an eligible type O, A negative or B negative donor, double red cell donation may be ideal. Each procedure lets the donor give more of the product that is needed most by patients. Double red cell donation takes approximately 30 minutes longer than a whole blood donation and can be done approximately every four months.
  • Feel better – With all of the platelets and plasma returned along with some saline, the donor doesn’t lose the liquid portion of their blood and may feel more hydrated after their donation.

Seventy-five people will benefit from their donations.