Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Donating Blood Paying Proposition

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Donating Blood Paying Proposition

Article excerpt

Donating blood to the Sylvan N. Goldman Center, Oklahoma Blood Institute, from a strictly business standpoint is a paying proposition.

Each time a donor invests 30 minutes of time in giving a pint of blood, he receives a partial physical examination worth $250 if sought through other medical sources. That would be the cost of the 12, soon to be 13, tests to which each donor's blood is subjected before it is transfused to another person, said Dr. Ronald O. Gilcher, director of the blood institute.

Those tests have served as warnings to donors of impending health problems they never suspected, he said.

Then, there's also that good feeling of helping another person sustain life or improve his health, which cannot be evaluated in dollars.

Those 12 tests benefit both the prospective recipient of blood and blood products, and the donor. They are part of the Oklahoma Blood Institute's safety program to assure that communicable diseases and viruses are not transfused from donor to recipient.

When all is well and their blood is healthy, donors now receive only a notification of their cholesterol level and blood type from the blood institute.

Donors in the past have had no reason to know about 10 of the other 11 tests unless there was a positive result, indicating the presence of a disease or virus. They are notified of the problem in those cases where an abnormality is detected and advised to consult their doctor, Gilcher said.

That will change in the near future, because the institute is planning to place the results of all tests on that letter which now only gives cholesterol results and blood type, he said.

Oklahoma Blood Institute pioneered providing the free cholesterol test as a service to donors, and it has been so valuable that the institute "could not afford not to provide it," Gilcher said. That cholesterol test, which costs the center $2, serves to entice donors to return for repeat donations of blood.

It is a significant factor in helping the blood institute collect 126,000 units of blood annually, he said.

One donor, who had no other warning, was alerted by that test that he had a dangerously high cholesterol level and possibly was saved from an early death, Gilcher said.

The tests, many of which are seldom heard about by healthy blood donors, are: Blood typing; antibody screen to see if it reacts against another person's blood _ only 1 to 2 percent have the antibody to the Duffey A antigen; hepatitis B surface antigen test; Anti-HBc, antibody to the hepatitis B corps antigen _ that tells whether the donor ever has had Hepatitis B _ if positive another test is done called Anti-HBs.

The sixth test is the alanine amino transferase liver enzyme test.

"Anything the body is exposed to causes the liver to produce this enzyme, making it a very sensitive marker to the initial exposure to hepatitis virus. …

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