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Sunshinegirl11's avatar

Passed out while donating blood. Am I not a good donor?

Asked by Sunshinegirl11 (1110points) June 2nd, 2017 from iPhone

I donated blood for the first time today. I felt fine up until about half way when the phlebotomist started poking around in my vein. I started to get nauseated, I looked at my skin and I looked ghostly, then I started to see colors and BAM I was out. My BP dropped from 120/78 to 90/70. It took a while for it to get back up, and I’ve been in bed since because every time I get up I feel faint.

I was really excited to give blood and now I just feel kind of upset/down. I couldn’t finish it so my blood will go to research possibly. Still feel kind of bummed.

I should have known this would happen because I pass out almost every year in the summer because my body can’t tolerate the heat. In other words, I pass out easily.

The lady at the desk told me to eat a lot of protein next time. I ate pancakes and chugged a few gatorades before this time. Maybe that was stupid of me?

In a couple of months should I try to donate again? Or am I just not a good donor?

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24 Answers

MollyMcGuire's avatar

The same thing happened to me every time I tried. I stopped trying.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

My wife had the same thing happen to her when she gave blood the one and only time.

Patty_Melt's avatar

You must not be hungry. It is important to eat before donating, and drink water until you slosh. Have a snack right after, like, within five minutes.
If you are not hydrated, you will fold, it is a given.

Rarebear's avatar

Next time just drink a gatorade or something before hand. Tell them that you get “orthostatic” (use that word) when you give blood and that you need some extended time lying down afterward. You’re not a bad donor.

Strauss's avatar

Yes, let the person who preps you get orthostatic.

chyna's avatar

It used to happen to me all the time. I was borderline anemic. I gave up trying to donate.
Did they test your blood before they tried to draw it?

Rarebear's avatar

Getting orthostatic actually has nothing to do with being anemic (unless you’re severely anemic). It has to do with an autonomic reflex after giving blood, often related to fluid status.

It also has nothing to do with whether you’re used to it or not. I’m a physician, I’m extremely used to being on both ends of needles. I get orthostatic when I give blood and have fainted. As I said before, now I just drink a fluid bolus before and tell them that I need extended time after to recover (usually 10 or 15 minutes). Then I get my donut and leave.

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Dutchess_III's avatar

Some people just get sick when they watch people stick needles into them! It doesn’t particularly bother me. One time it did though, when the lady kept digging around with the needle looking for a vein. Made me nauseated to see the needle working under the skin for so long.

But @Rarebear is a doctor so don’t listen to me.

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tinyfaery's avatar

Hell, I need to lay down when I am getting blood taken for medical purpose. I haven’t even tried to donate blood.

Wait, I have tried but there is/was a law about not giving blood if you’ve had a tattoo done in the last five years. That means I’m never eligible.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

I sometimes pass out when giving blood. I have a long history of fainting in medical settings. Or from bloody movies. Or simply reading about injuries or medical procedures.

My theory is it stems from standing on a chair as a 1-year old, tipping over, and pinching off the tip of my finger. It’s still gone, I have a stumpy fingertip.

Whatever the cause, sometimes when I give blood it invokes vasovagal syncope – my blood pressure drops and I pass out.

It happens less and less as I get older. I donated a kidney a couple of years ago and made it through all the testing and the procedure without falling over.

As for donating blood – keep trying if you like! I was black-listed at one office, but before a friend was having surgery I sneaked in at another location and they let me through to donate for her.

JLeslie's avatar

If you often have very low blood pressure in daily life I think I wouldn’t try again. If that’s not the case then if I were you I would tell them you have fainted before, drink plenty of fluids beforehand, and give it one more try if it’s important to you.

Don’t feel bummed.

I never give blood. I need every drop of iron I can keep in my body. You know, there are men out there who need to donate (blood let) for medical reasons, I figure that’s the universe’s way of getting blood into the supply. I’m sure some women too, but I assume many more men. Still, there are shortages at times. Giving blood is so important, you get credit for trying.

Also, @Rarebear is a doctor and I would trust his advice on this. Read his answer if you read just one.

Sunshinegirl11's avatar

Thanks everyone! It’s funny because I’m a nursing student and have done multiple IVs, shots, etc. on patients and I have never passed out. I got the option to shadow in the OR for a week and never once felt faint! I don’t know if it was the pain I felt today (and I have a really high pain tolerance…) or just the autonomic response like you all were talking about.

And now that I’m rereading my question maybe I worded it wrong. I know I’m not a “bad” donor, but would it be wise to donate again in a couple of months?

I still have months to think about it, but I might give it at least one more try. Thanks everyone for the answers!

josie's avatar

I got shot and almost bled out. I passed out too.
It’s only a problem if you don’t wake up.

Rarebear's avatar

^^word. And thank you—you know what I mean.

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ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Not much to add, I almost passed out once and now I make sure I’m well fed beforehand. No problems since.

syz's avatar

I got sick my first time, too -nauseated ad had to lay down on the floor afterward. I learned to make sure and eat a good meal beforehand and drink plenty of fluids, and I’ve been fine ever since.

tedibear's avatar

The first two times I gave blood, I passed out when I was almost done. Once I was lying down, everything was fine. The third time I donated, I warned them before they put in the needle. They had me lie flat the whole time and I was fine.

Unfortunately, the last time I went, I couldn’t give because my iron was too low. :(

Dutchess_III's avatar

I only gave blood once. I don’t remember feeling much of anything. Maybe a bit light headed. But that quickly passed.

seawulf575's avatar

Many people pass out after giving blood. That’s why they don’t let you stand up immediately, and then make you eat a cookie and drink some juice afterward. If you are physically nauseated while giving, I would suggest checking with your doctor just to see if there might be a medical reason for it.

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