Special blood donation method collects needed platelets
January 03, 2012
The “regional” in St. Mary’s Regional Blood Center means donors provide blood for cancer, surgery, and trauma patients at nearly every hospital in western Colorado. “Because we can’t predict when the need may arise for a specific blood type or product, our blood center must always be well stocked,” says Tony Colaizzi, business manager of the blood donor center. “That means we always need donors.”
An especially efficient method of collecting blood donations is through pheresis. A machine separates and removes the platelets, needed by many cancer and heart surgery patients, and returns the remainder of the blood to the donor. Because they get their red blood cells back, pheresis donors can donate again in four weeks instead of waiting eight weeks like whole blood donors, Colaizzi explains.
For the donor, the pheresis process is much like a regular donation except it takes a little longer. “Our staff is always on the lookout for donors with the right platelet count for pheresis,” Colaizzi says. “Next time you donate at St. Mary’s Regional Blood Center, ask if you would make a good pheresis donor.”
St. Mary’s Regional Blood Center
Advanced Medicine Pavilion, 750 Wellington Avenue, Entrance 22
Monday–Friday: 7:00 am-5:30 pm
Saturday: 7:00 am–Noon
No appointment necessary, but photo ID required.