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  • DTilstra

    Impressive idea!! I've always wondered why more people do not know their blood types. I love mine. I'm B Pos! I raise funds for a living. I put my blood type on the door of my SUV! There is no reason why more people cannot give blood and keep the supply healthy.

  • World Gratitude Map

    Thx for this insightful piece. A quick search of the World Gratitude Map generates two examples of the real toll and benefit:: "I am chronically anemic so every three months I must have a transfusion of packed red blood cells. I thank the people of Las Cruces for their donations so that I can feel better. "

    "Thanks to Morgan's anonymous blood donors Thanks to all the folk giving blood so Morgan can have her transfusions at Children's Hospital. "

  • Jeff Nelder

    What a terrific case study for social design. Love the way this article is structured. Great way to learn and spark the imagination of others. Thank you.

  • Hank WSr.

    Luschen, there are all sorts of reasons why certain folks are ineligible to give blood here in the U.S. You can read about all of them on the Red Cross website:

    In your case (and mine), it's because of Variant Creutzfeld-Jacob Disease, or "Mad Cow Disease". According to the Red Cross, "there is no test for vCJD in humans that could be used to screen blood donors and to protect the blood supply. This means that blood programs must take special precautions to keep vCJD out of the blood supply by avoiding collections from those who have been where this disease is found."

    What's the upshot? You can't donate if:

    "From January 1, 1980, through December 31, 1996, you spent (visited or lived) a cumulative time of 3 months or more, in the United Kingdom (UK), or
    From January 1, 1980, to present, you had a blood transfusion in any country(ies) in the (UK)."

    Though I've been a vegetarian for most of my life (and didn't eat meat in the UK), it doesn't matter. I can't give blood because I spent time in the UK during those years.
    Until there's some way to test for Mad Cow, you and I and everyone else in that situation is out of luck here in the US.

  • dcwarlick

    The blood is very valuable. Why not do as all markets do, and pay for the supply? The hospitals are not donating the blood to their patients, so why should the hospitals get the blood for free? Personally, I gave about a gallon, saw some of my friends get hepatitis, and quit giving. For a fee, I might resume. The fee would not have to be cash. It could be a FMV receipt that could be the basis for a tax donation. The Fair Market Value might be $150, $200, or more per pint, depending, as you say, on the scarcity of the type donated.

    • amadarkowilliams

      We also found that there was profit being made. On bags not being used for a transfusion, cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies are able to purchase plasma. Meaning, amongst other things, a direct study of the current health state of a population, more data storage.

    • SarahCaldwell

      When blood is paid for, the donations actually drop. (Research) When Mother Teresa was told "I wouldn't do what you do with sick people for a million dollars," she replied, "I wouldn't do it for a million, either. I don't do it for the money."

      • amadarkowilliams

        Yes, so true! We found that where there was a fee for donations, no matter how small, the experience was said to have been cheapened. And donors started to expect more in terms of service.

  • Luschen

    I don't understand how people in the UK are able to give blood at all. If I try to give blood in the US and say I have spent more than 5 years in the UK, I am ineligible - how does this work? Is only American blood good enough for Americans?

    • david toohey

      I think you will find this is a common problem. I lived in the UK, and donated blood frequently while there, in the eighties. However since living in Ireland for the last 25 yrs I have been unable to donate locally as I am excluded due to the CJD Prion risk. During this period I have, while visiting the UK, actually donated there. :-)

    • SarahCaldwell

      To answer the question of how people in the UK are able to give blood at all. They can give blood to people (other UK-ites) who have had the same chance at exposure to "mad cow." Given the length of time, the virus was in their meat supply, there would be no reason to suspect that anyone there, except for vegetarians (and who knows when they started or how strict they've been OR who might have lied to them), doesn't already have it and would get it from a particular donation.