General Question

ESV's avatar

Does Red Cross really save lives?

Asked by ESV (468 points ) July 25th, 2009 from iPhone

I am originally from Europe, been going through US education school systems from 5th grade onwards. Usually, when the RC came to draw blood to our schools I was more than willing to be a donor and there was no problem what so ever with my “European” blood than. Now 10+ yrs fast forward , RC made some dumb policy that rejects my blood donation because I lived/was born in Europe which they say I could have gotten infected by mad cow disease. Ok fine I could have and could have not, why was my blood all good during my childhood but now, not even going back to EU i’m a reject? why cant they test my blood and if its good its good and if not than reject me? I think Red Cross new policy is rediculas and they loose a load of donors that way that could help save much more lives.

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9 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

I’m from the the United States and they won’t take my blood since I was in the UK and Europe for a month in 1999.

Fyrius's avatar

How does your blood donorship rejection anecdote bear on the question whether Red Cross saves lives or not?

Sarcasm's avatar

It’s all about how badly they need the blood.
Why waste money/time testing every blood sample from Europeans, when plenty of non-Europeans are donating?

You weren’t denied as a kid because either blood was very needed, or they just didn’t realize what risks the mad cow disease could’ve had.

Also, what Fyrius said.

marinelife's avatar

It’s not personal and not because you are of European extraction. It’s because you traveled to Europe during the mad cow infection period.

Don’t take it personally. The incubation period for the disease is as much as 40 years. It’s a horrible disease and horrible way to die. There is no test for it yet.

Zendo's avatar

I hope i don’t catch it from reading your question…

ru2bz46's avatar

The blood donors become more limited as research increases. When I started giving a couple years ago, there were often women donating plasma right next to me. A short time later, women were not acceptable as plasma donors due to certain antibodies that may form in their blood when pregnant. The chance of the antibodies increases with each pregnancy. Because women may become pregnant and miscarry without ever knowing they were pregnant, the plasma must be tested for the antibodies. Currently, it is too expensive to test, so they use only male plasma donors.

As an example of the expenses in collecting blood, I am a “frequent plasma donor”, which lets me donate plasma twice each week. To be in this program, I get an annual physical from their doctors. Every four months, I get an SPE protein analysis. Each time I donate, the plasma is tested for (I believe) 14 infectious diseases. The “donation kits”, which include all the needles, tubing, and containers for collecting and filtering my blood are costly as well. The platelet kits cost $250, but the plasma kits are a bit less.

Each additional test that must be performed on the blood is an added cost. The blood collectors must weigh the available donor pool versus the cost of additional tests. As @Sarcasm noted, it is a supply/demand situation. If the supply drops, the cost per unit of blood increases, and it becomes cost effective to add more tests.

Would you rather watch from the sidelines and have the safest blood supply possible, or have the honor of giving life (and enjoying free cheese, juice, and cookies!), only to find out that someone received your blood and ended up with some horrific disease of which you were unaware when you donated? Unfortunately, they simply cannot test for everything.

YARNLADY's avatar

Every hospital that performs surgery can tell you that blood saves thousands of lives a year. Without it, very few surgeries would be successful.

Because of the dangers that lurk in peoples blood, the Red Cross has to be very selective. They won’t take my blood, but I still do volunteer work during blood drives, helping people fill out the donor cards and doing other administrative work.

jrpowell's avatar

@YARNLADY :: Thank you for volunteering.

filmfann's avatar

Responding to your question, rather than your details, which don’t seem related:
The Red Cross saves lives. I have successfully given CPR twice, which was training I received from the RC.
When I worked at the Cypress Structure collapse the night of the Loma Prieta earthquake, they were already there, with coffee, donuts, and theapists for the rescuers who were having problems facing what they were seeing.
They do good work.

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