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Guam needs blood platelet donors

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 by Jolene Toves

Guam - January is National Blood Donor Month and you can give the gift of life by becoming a platelet donor with the Guam Memorial Hospital.  "The first step in becoming a blood donor is undergoing screening and also providing samples of your blood this ensures that there are no diseases or contaminants in your blood," explained blood bank supervisor Almia Fernandez.

This is done by answering a series of questions about your health, travel and medication. Fernandez says it takes five days to clear your blood once that is done the donor will then be able to donate platelets through a device known as a blood cell separator or apheresis machine. It is designed to collect only platelets, as she said, "It collects first the whole blood it goes into this centerfields it's a built in centerfields and its drawing and it is spinning at the same time once its collected the whole blood it will pump the plasma into this bag. So it extracts first the plasma collects the platelets and then red cells and the plasma together will return back to the donor."

And with just a five-day storage life platelet donations are delivered quickly to the patients who need them. Platelet donors have the satisfaction of knowing that their donation will be savings a life within just a few days, with Fernandez saying, "For platelets we use this for patients undergoing chemotherapy, for those that have bone marrow deficiencies and those that bleeders that come in with low platelet count so those are the patients that most need platelets," she said. "Right now we only have 20 active donors that is supplying the island of Guam so those are the ones that we call in for 2014 we do have our statistics we collected 132 and within that 132 platelet collections there is only like 20 donors so we need more."

The process is safe and simple and because platelets are quickly replenished by your body you can donate platelets as frequently as every 48 hours but no more than 24 times in a year. If you would like to donate platelets simply call 647-2376 to schedule a platelet apheresis donation. Remember you donation can save a life.
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