Donating blood vitally important, saves lives

  • Published
  • By Lisa Lynn
  • Armed Services Blood Program blood recruiter
Blood donors are everyday heroes whose donations save and enhance the lives of patients in need.

Donating blood is a simple process that saves about 4.5 million American lives each year.

Blood donations are needed every three seconds. One out of 10 hospital patients need a transfusion. Blood is always needed for treatment of accident victims, cancer patients, hemophiliacs and surgery patients. There is no substitute for blood.

Every pint of whole blood donated is separated into three components --plasma, red cells and platelets. Fresh plasma is used to treat accident victims, patients with bleeding disorders and burn victims. Platelets are used to treat cancer patients and patients who have had bone marrow transplants. Red cells are used to treat patients who have lost blood because of trauma or surgery. It also is used to treat patients with anemia.

Blood transfusions are a critical part of everyday medicine. Patients receiving organ transplants, cancer therapies and support for sickle cell anemia depend on lifesaving transfusions. Blood is also critical to the survival of some premature babies and some patients undergoing heart or joint replacement surgery.

To make sure blood is available for patients who need it, please donate regularly. You can donate blood once every eight weeks.

This precious fluid has a short shelf life. Platelets last only five days. Red cells last for 42 days. Someone you know and love could be next in line for a life-saving transfusion. It's up to all of us to ensure that this treatment is available when needed.

To learn more about the Armed Services Blood Program or to schedule an appointment, visit us online: To interact directly with some of our staff, see more photos or to get the latest news, visit us here: and