What happens to my blood after I donate to MEDIC?

What happens to my blood after I donate to MEDIC?

Posted:
"I literally felt nothing," said Matt Calfee. "I literally felt nothing," said Matt Calfee.
Stephen Smith, director of technical services at MEDIC, oversees all the steps the blood goes through after donations are taken. Stephen Smith, director of technical services at MEDIC, oversees all the steps the blood goes through after donations are taken.
The blood goes through several machines where it is tested for diseases and type. The blood goes through several machines where it is tested for diseases and type.
Orders are taken from the 28 area hospitals MEDIC serves in another part of the facility. This department is staffed 24/7. Orders are taken from the 28 area hospitals MEDIC serves in another part of the facility. This department is staffed 24/7.

By DREW GARDNER
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - WATE, Star 102.1 and MEDIC's Roll Up Your Sleeve week continues all week long.

If you've never donated before, you might be wondering what that process is like. And if you have donated, you may wonder what happens after you give blood.


Click here to find out more about Roll Up Your Sleeve week including donation locations


Like many visitors to MEDIC, Matt Calfee is a first time donor. The first step in the process is checking in.

Then its time to head back for what MEDIC calls its first line of defense for a healthy blood supply: the screening.

"What we do in our screening process is ask you a series of questions. We will ask you a little about travel history. We will ask you to review a list of medications to see if you're on any of those, and then from there we do kind of a mini physical," said MEDIC spokesperson Christi Fightmaster.

Everything checked out, so now it's time to go to the donor room where the blood is drawn.

A needle is inserted in your arm and you spend about seven to 10 minutes while the donation is taken.

"I literally felt nothing," said Calfee.

After the donation is complete, the blood goes to the laboratory where it will go through a battery of tests before being sent off to area hospitals.

Stephen Smith, director of technical services at MEDIC, oversees all the steps the blood goes through after donations are taken.

"The second line of defense when it comes to blood safety is the testing that we do, and this is one of the primary pieces of equipment that we would use to test for things like hepatitis and HIV," explained Smith.

Each sample is labeled with a bar code to prevent any type of mix up as it goes from machine to machine.

The next machine will test for blood type and diseases like syphilis.

"Once the testing is finished, our medical technologists and lab technicians will take those results, review them, make sure everything is accurate and complete and then we're ready for posting," said Smith.

Now its time to sort the donations themselves.

Whether they were taken at the downtown location or a mobile unit they all come to the same location for sorting.

You may have heard how one donation can save up to three lives. That is made possible through this next process called centrification.

"When the blood is separated, it is spun down. The red blood cells are pushed to the bottom and the plasma comes to the top, and we can force the plasma over into another bag," said Smith.

The plasma and red cells are then moved to two separate storage areas. 

"Plasma is stored in a freezer. It is about minus 30 degrees," Smith said.

The red cells will be refrigerated at a much warmer temperature.

Then once all tests come back, they are labeled.

Orders are taken from the 28 area hospitals MEDIC serves in another part of the facility. This department is staffed 24/7.

Once an order is taken, the blood is pulled and packed in a cooler, and then on it's way to help save the life of someone in need.

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