What happens to your blood after you donate it? - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

What happens to your blood after you donate it?

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It's a priceless gift thousands of people are in desperate need of, but only a select few can give.

"It's amazing how many people need blood," said Sheila Tinsley, Manager of Transfusion Services, Georgia Regents Medical Center.

The Georgia Regents Medical Center Blood Bank is where a lot of donated blood ends up. But let's back up to the time you come to a blood drive like this.

Many people we spoke to say they donate because they know someone who's benefited from a donation.

"Our daughter is now 18 and a freshman at Georgia Tech. When she was born, she immediately contracted strep B and was immediately put into the NIC Unit at University Hospital. And she had to have two blood transfusions while she was there both from Sheperds," said Alicia Padgett, who has been a loyal blood donor for the past 20 years. "I've been donating blood since I was old enough and it's just a miracle that she was saved by blood from Sheperds."

America's Blood Centers says only 37 percent of the US population is eligible to give blood, that's because of a list of deferrals, like recently visiting another country, can exempt a donor. But of that 37 percent, a mere 10 percent gives blood annually. And now, I'm hoping to up the ante.

After filling out a questionnaire and going through a brief screening, it takes at least 15 minutes for a donor to give blood. A few samples are taken for testing, and my pint of blood is stored in the back until it can be taken to the lab downtown.

The lab is where they determine my blood type, and check to make sure it's usable. After this stop, it goes to one of the regional hospitals; stacked, stored and waiting to be given to a patient in need.

"We transfuse over 20,000 units of blood a year," Padgett said. "These people are getting chemo, they're getting different kinds of radiation treatment. We have people come in with car wrecks and other things that will happen. You know we support them with blood transfusions and also, red cells, platelets, and fresh frozen depending on what kind of injuries they have."

Because of HIPAA laws, a donor will never know the patient whose life is saved, but it will help someone right here in the CSRA; like Peyton, who was diagnosed with liver cancer months after she was born, but is now a completely healthy baby girl, or the hundreds of other patients who received one of the most precious gifts someone can give: a life.

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