American Red Cross addressing challenges of plasma donations in W.Va.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Bruce Hamrick and his wife tested positive for COVID-19 in December.
“I was very surprised because we don’t go anywhere. We wear our masks and very protective,” Hamrick said.
After full recovery and armed with antibodies, he was eager to help others fighting the coronavirus by donating his convalescent plasma.
“It’s just a thing you should do. Anybody who has it should help,” Hamrick said.
Hamrick started searching for a plasma donation center, but he kept coming up short.
When Hamrick called the American Red Cross to donate, he was told he would have to travel to Blacksburg, Virginia.
The Red Cross confirmed West Virginia does not have an on-site facility to donate plasma, which is why they’re changing how they do things to make it easier on donors.
“We’re getting their request for convalescent plasma faster than we’re getting it in, but to combat that, we’re testing all blood donations or whole blood donations,” said Regina Booth Bratton, a spokesperson for the American Red Cross.
The Red Cross started to test anyone who donates a whole blood donation for COVID-19 antibodies. If they test positive, the Red Cross contacts them to ask them to donate their plasma.
“Just because we extract the convalescent plasmas from those donations doesn’t mean we don’t use the other components. Every drop is used. Because right now, it’s a critical time,” Bratton said.
Each blood donation is helping more than just one patient.
“We’re thinking about our cancer, trauma, sickle-cell patients. While there are not that many patients in West Virginia, there is a boatload of cancer patients and there is a growing number of coronavirus patients and they need our help.
To sign up to make a blood donation, click here.
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