Hospitals, Red Cross units, and nonprofit agencies relying on voluntary donations reject the plasma center model because cash incentives for whole blood may give donors an incentive to lie, heightening risks of a tainted supply. Such risks are higher overall for whole blood, too.
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However, there are some additional tests that may need to be done on some donations as necessary.
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Hepatitis B virus (HBV)is one of several viruses that can cause inflammation of the liver (hepatitis), and sometimes liver damage.
Normally the virus infection will clear by itself. However, it is known that patients whose immune system is suppressed (eg chemotherapy or transplant patients) cannot clear the virus themselves and most will develop a persistent infection which may lead to chronic inflammation of the liver.
As well as checking your blood group, we test for the following infections:
Some gleaned some sustenance through private charities, as the couple in Johnson City do now. In addition, at any given time, almost half of single mothers on welfare were secretly working. Some used a false identity to avoid detection, or hopped from job to job, since short stints wouldn’t typically get reported to the welfare office. Those without a formal job did hair, babysat, sold meals, cleaned homes, or, occasionally, resorted to fencing stolen goods or selling drugs or sex. Back before welfare reform, the strategies poor single mothers employed were hardly get-rich-quick schemes; they provided a few dollars here and there, often garnered with considerable effort. When combined with welfare, plus a lot of old-fashioned frugality, these strategies usually allowed for a bare-bones survival.
We perform two tests for the virus, one that looks for antibody to the virus, and a second that looks for the virus itself, targeting the virus nucleic acid. If either or both of the tests are reactive, further tests are done to confirm the result.
Plasma is “pooled” or collected in containers to prepare it for a process called “fractionation,” which will render it usable. The bigger the plasma pools, the cheaper they will be to process—which Dr. Lucy Reynolds, a research fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, cites as an example of the industry cutting corners.
To make matters worse, when a mother secured a job, she would lose about a dollar in welfare benefits for every dollar she earned. Often, she couldn’t afford to rely only on earnings from work in the formal economy. Work paid only a little more than welfare but cost a lot more in terms of added expenses for transportation, child care, health care, and the like. It was more expensive to go to work than stay on the welfare rolls.
We'll guide you through the safe and simple donation process and answer any questions you have.
This makes the ethics of plasma donations tricky. While it’s disturbing that cash-strapped Americans feel forced to monetize their bodily fluids, donations represent an income source that many couldn’t stand to lose. Selling plasma is probably preferable to other survival strategies that may be riskier (or less legal), though it’s worth noting how little long-term evidence there is about the health risks of frequent donation. At the very least, considering the strength and prospects of the industry, donors could stand to receive a bigger share of the revenue generated by plasma sales—few, if any, donors could ever dream of affording the treatment that they make possible for others. (No major plasma-collecting company mentioned in this article would discuss this moral dimension of plasma donations.)
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Although people with multiple sclerosis can't give blood or donate bone marrow, the donation of organs is allowed. Find out more about organ donations in this A-Z entry.
This piece was supported by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, a journalism non-profit dedicated to stories about inequality.
Crosby has had several blackouts, including one that hit when he was driving.
“I call it a grubby business because they knowingly endanger the health of donors in the U.S. by harvesting them twice a week, while in every other place in the world you’re only allowed to donate fortnightly, ” Reynolds says.
Because plasma can be a medical necessity, companies that collect it tend to wield significant pricing power. These days, a liter of plasma that costs a company about $150 to collect and process could sell for in the neighborhood of $500—a substantial markup in any industry.
I left the conversation wondering whether Bubba was an example of why other nations don’t want to expose their citizens to the commercial plasma trade, and many make (increasingly unsuccessful) efforts to limit imports of commercial plasma from the United States. Should a homeless alcoholic be banned from plassing for his safety and ours?
In the 1990s, China attempted to develop a plasma market to compete with Western companies by touting money for plasmapheresis in China’s most impoverished province, Henan. Villagers that were too poor to afford condoms soon realized they could earn more money by selling plasma than by farming the land, but the facilities offered substandard sterilization techniques, needles, and blood bags. By 1995, Henan Province had become a blood farm built on a criminalized plasma economy. Thousands of Chinese donors became infected with AIDS and Hepatitis C.
The authors recommend alternative pooling strategies because the “risk of contamination of these pools increases rapidly with the pool size.” Zealous precaution today could spare us untold misery tomorrow.
Poverty And Giving Blood
Oxfam saves lives in disasters. We get clean water running, help people earn a living, grow food and send children to school. We stand up for the rights of women everywhere. And we speak out against injustices that keep people poor. With your help we fight poverty now – and beat it for good.
Back then, neither welfare nor work could singlehandedly bring a poor family’s budget into balance, yet the ability to combine them legally was limited at best. How did these single mothers survive?
"I had to pull over," he says. "I had to sit there several minutes in a daze. It really freaked me."
Donating blood can be a time-consuming process: It can take about an hour and 15 minutes, from the time you arrive to the time you leave. That includes the testing and paperwork process beforehand, where you’ll receive a physical exam and initial finger prick blood test and will need to fill out some documents. Afterward, you’ll need to sit for a 15-minute rest period. However, the blood-drawing process itself only takes about 10 minutes. Many donation centers also offer a RapidPass that you can do beforehand that will help save time.
It happened at about five o’clock the next day. Unexpectedly, with no apparent cause or logical relationship to physical exertion, I felt my legs go rubbery. I was Silly Putty. This was something more than “mild faintness” and particularly disturbing because of the aspect of a random attack. I suddenly felt so weirdly fatigued that I couldn’t stand on my feet. I barely reached the couch before I passed out for five hours straight. Luckily, I was safely ensconced at home. But since I substitute teach as well as freelance write I woke up wondering: What would I do if that happened at my day job?
Later, she says the procedure makes her squeamish. “I can’t ever look at it. I never look at it when they do it. They do it right here,” she says, pointing to the obvious indentation at the crease in her arm, which looks somewhat like a drug track line. Many among the extreme poor bear these small scars from repeated plasma donations.
There are eight common blood types, which are determined by the presence of certain antigens.
The most sought-after donors are those with type O blood, because they’re considered “universal donors” whose blood can be matched with those belonging to any of the four blood types: A, B, AB, and O.
The tests play a very important role in ensuring that we provide a safe blood supply to patients. We test for your blood group, so that we can select the correct group for the patient.
A technician feels around for her vein with a plastic-gloved finger, rubs on some iodine with a Q-tip, positions an IV, and inserts a needle. For the usual donor, the procedure takes about 45 minutes, but for her it takes well over an hour, as she is just over the minimum weight of 110 pounds. “I get tired. Especially if my iron’s down, I get, like, really tired,” she says. The ritual takes roughly three hours, door to door. Even so, the payoff is relatively good: $10 an hour. As long as her iron, blood pressure, and temperature are okay, she’ll donate as often as she is legally allowed.