This machine allows donors to make double red cell donations, which count as two donations and can be done once every three months. Photos by Katrina Margolis
By Katrina Margolis
Hometown Weekly Reporter
Experiences with giving blood range drastically. Some have never given at all, and don’t know their blood type. Some give consistently every two months, doing the absolute maximum they can. No matter what end of the spectrum Walpole residents might be on, the Blood Drive held roughly every four months at the Walpole Public Library welcomes them all with open arms. From first-timers to old pros, the staff is welcoming and eager to help donation be the easiest it can be.
The Red Cross hosts blood drives at this location roughly every four months. While the staff changes regularly, this time nurse Karen Johnson was the nurse-in-charge. “It’s been a very busy day. During the first hour, it was super crowded in here,” Johnson shared. While things had calmed down towards the end of the day, people still filtered in consistently. Regular blood donations can be made once every two months. Johnson says to expect a donation of that sort to last from beginning to end for around 45 minutes. However, this location offers the ability to make double red cell donations through the use of a special machine.
“To donate platelets, you have to go to a donor center because they’re really tiny,” Johnson exampled. “It takes more often two hours to donate. However, double red cells, you’re only donating red cells and they’re bigger, so that only takes on average 45 minutes. It’s easier to do on the road, and then the donors don’t get any phone calls for four months because it’s considered double donation.” A double red cell donation is similar to a whole blood donation, however a special machine is used to allow donors to safely donate two units of red blood cells during one donation while returning plasma and platelets to the donor. “The donors get to sit up and eat and drink and have their fluids replaced so they feel better,” Johnson elaborated.
Residents who missed this round of donations can catch the Red Cross in another four months. They even have an app that can be downloaded on both iPhones and Androids to make for the smoothest possible donation experience.