01 May 2008

For my green-suited readers

Actually, dependents and civilian employees need to read this one too.

The United States Armed Services Blood Program needs you to get off your ass and donate blood. If you have an ID card, you can do this.

Presuming you are in generally good health, have not had a tattoo in the past 7 DAYS[1], have been back from CENTCOM AOR more than 12 months, have not spent more than five years total in Europe, and haven't had a smallpox shot in the past eight weeks, or other vaccinations in the past 4 weeks,


Seriously, folks. Blood donated anywhere you see the star-spangled blood drop goes into a different pool than blood donated at the American Red Cross or other civilian blood centers.

It goes into the pool that goes downrange to Iraq and Afghanistan. The record, as I understand it, for blood usage is 207 units used to save the life of a Military Policeman in Iraq.

That's 207 doners giving one bag each.

Your average trauma patient (ie combat casualty) uses between 4 and 8.

All the blood goes to a central shipment point, where it becomes "purple" blood and goes to theater to be centrally managed. It will go to a Serviceman of some kind. Blood in excess of in-theater requirements goes to stateside military hospitals where it goes to servicemen and dependents.


Blood has a shelf-life of 42 days. How long does it take to get to the aid stations and forward support hospitals?

If you are a leader, encourage your Soldiers (Marines, Airman, Sailors, Coasties) to donate some damn blood. By encourage, I mean "do everything but hold a gun to their heads, because that isn't technically legal." Support this shit, because some fucked up kid in a hospital in Iraq is depending on you.

You can donate one unit every 56 days.

Civilian blood must be PURCHASED in order to go into the military pool. It costs the taxpayers between $250 and $500 a unit. There is a limited supply. It cannot enter the blood supply as quickly as blood donated in a an ASBP donation center.

This is the website.

These are blood donation centers.

On Monday, I attempted to donate blood. The medic managed to fail to find a vein twice. Yesterday I went back, having hydrated a hell of a lot better, and the medic managed it on the first stick.

It blows my mind how many people who can lead men into combat will use as the excuse not to donate blood, "I'm afraid of needles."

Why haven't you given lately?

[1] 20 states are on a list where tattoos are only a 7 day waiting period, to include Texas and California. For the rest, it is a 12 month deferment.


Anonymous Noah D said...

Is there any way for civvies to donate directly into this, er, blood stream?

11:58 PM  
Blogger Army Sergeant said...

Thanks! Appreciate the post. It's definitely important.

I'd also add that military can also donate plasma..it takes two hours, but not a lot of folks seem to do it. To be honest, I'm not quite sure what it goes to as opposed to whole blood, but "military medical centers" is good enough for me.

12:29 PM  
Anonymous Laserlight said...

ditto Noah's request

8:56 PM  
Anonymous Rurik said...

I donated during Desert Storm. Since then, several attempts to donate have been refused on the excuse my blood pressure is too high. I can't persuade them that removing a pint of fluid should reduce pressure, so everyone wins. As soon as the Powers What Be get a little less choosy, my sleeve can be rolled up on a half hour's notice.

3:57 AM  

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