Health-Conscious Series #16 - The Benefits of Bloodletting

The Dilemma

The right and left sides of my brains were busy contesting the idea of donating blood to a needy neighbor who just delivered her baby boy in a public general hospital at the nearby city.

Our town is just a stone's throw away from the city and most patients are being treated in the said medical institutions.

One afternoon, our local leader requested us (we're two) to donate blood in exchange of the two 500 cc bags of human blood transfused to a woman, our neighbor, who just delivered her baby boy.

Her husband was also willing to donate but our barangay captain already pleaded the able-bodied young man and me to do the sharing.

In short, we were transported by our leader, through his personal vehicle (owner-type jeepney) to he public hospital, but to no avail. We were already late for the daily schedule of acquiring bloods from disease-free and healthy donors.

Although, we signed the blood receipt of the hospital, we were told that we should be back next day on the scheduled time.

Unfortunately, we weren't able to accomplish our pledges since we don't have an available vehicle to use that will ferry us to the city and I was busy with my clerical work at the barangay hall.

Mañana habit succumbed. And I forgot that important task momentarily, hoping that the couple will be relieved by the hospital management, even if we didn't accomplished our promise.

Our promise to donate BLOOD.

Nick-of-Time Decision

That 'thing' of blood donation was forgotten momentarily from my mind as I busied myself finishing my clerical work during the week.

Come lunch time last Thursday (January 15, 2015), the day when Pope Francis arrived at the Philippines soil, all people were busy watching for the developing event. And a call from our barangay captain prompted me to accompany him at the hospital.

The verdict:Our patient and her baby will never be relieved, unless, we really donate the required two 500-cc bags of human blood!

The husband of my neighbor donating blood at the hospital's Blood Bank

Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala (travel_man1971) Date: January 15, 2015
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala (travel_man1971) Date: January 15, 2015

Donating Blood: Health Benefits and More

The scene was at the hospital premise.

I was called by the assisting nurse. She took my blood pressure. It was normal (both the systolic and diastolic).

I filled-up a donation form with my personal data. She added series of questions regarding my health history, disease I encountered. She also got a blood sample from my left pinky (she pricked it with big needle, ouch!) and put it to the slide. With an aid of chemical solution, she told me that I am A+ (a blood type akin to my deceased biological father).

I was ushered to a recliner, then the friendly nurse, search for my special right artery (carry oxygenated blood away from the heart) and lo! pricked me again with a much larger needle (ouch again!). She told me to relax and let the blood flow inside that special bag.

I asked her about the benefits of donating one's blood.

She told me:

  1. The main reason is I can help the needy;
  2. Reproduction of new cells in my body (including blood,too); and
  3. 'Pogi' points or additional point of good deeds as appreciated by the Lord above.

Anyway, it took only about 15 to 20 minutes to take a 500-cc of oxygenated blood from my body.

She requested me to lie down for about 10 to 15 minutes if I feel drowsy or the white ceiling of the hospital began moving. It didn't.

I drank a bottle of water which I carried from my backpack and was relieved in order to give way to the next donor.

Important thing to know when donating your own blood:The lifespan of an oxygenated blood inside the so-called ambu-bag will only be a month. So, the Blood Bank of the said public hospital need a lot of health donors in order to help patients who are in dire needs.

Are you a Blood Donor, too?

Are you in favor to donate blood to help others who are in need?

  • Yes. Absolutely!
  • No. Never!
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The nurse taking the donor's blood pressure and blood sample for blood typing before the donation process.

Photo Source; Ireno A. Alcala (travel_man1971) Date: January 15, 2015
Photo Source; Ireno A. Alcala (travel_man1971) Date: January 15, 2015

How safe is Blood Donation?

There are clinical terms we need to know when donating blood. I was once a hospital beat reporter and I encountered patients who need immediate blood transfusion. Auto transfusion and whole blood transfusions will come to mind.

Our blood at the Blood Bank will undergo processing called fractionation or the separation of whole-blood components or made into bio-pharmaceutical medications.

Blood banks will collect those safe bloods from tested healthy donors and extraction of blood platelets or platelet pheresis can occur.

A healthy and medically-tested donor who's willing to donate again will rest for three to four months before he undergo the same process or as the need arises.

Other procedure includes: apheresis, where the blood is passed through a special apparatus where only part of the blood is extracted and the rest is returned to the donor.

It can be plasma (pale-yellow liquid of the blood holding body cells) or the platelets (watery part of the blood which prevent clotting).

(Source: Wikipedia)


Worst Effects of Blood Donation

Before we undergo the bloodletting procedure, I've seen the worst effects of the teacher who again donated his blood for the second time.

He felt drowsy and in the verge of fainting. The assisting nurse warned him of rising up or moving. He just lied down for a couple of minutes or so, before he was cleared of the aftereffects of this 'important' blood loss-with-purpose.

Personally, I felt weak when I went home.( Even, when I was writing this hub, a day after.)

And the bruising of the deeply pierced skin began.

I've never seen a person who fainted after donating blood. But the nurse replied that she'd seen the worst of this procedure.

The demand is increasing but donors are getting scarce.

Most of their misconceptions are that they will be 'drained' (just like what happened when a movie-icon Dracula and his allies will suck the bloods of their preys or human victims).

Top 5 Benefits Of Blood Donation | Best Health and Beauty Tips c/o freez frame films

Therefore: Blood Donation...

  • saves human lives;
  • reduces risk of cancer;
  • helps keep the level of iron in the body;
  • helps prevent heart diseases;
  • burns calories;
  • and a lot of health benefits in our body.

My oxygenated blood (500 cc) in the ambu-bag

Photo Source: Ireno A.Alcala (travel_man1971) Date: January 15, 2015
Photo Source: Ireno A.Alcala (travel_man1971) Date: January 15, 2015

Blood Bank at Bicol Medical Center, Philippines

Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala (travel_man1971) Date: January 15, 2016
Photo Source: Ireno A. Alcala (travel_man1971) Date: January 15, 2016

A Book on Bloodletting by William D. Prystauk

More by this Author


10 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

I love the title...got my attention very quickly.

Oddly, I have never donated blood. I don't have a reason for that, but I really should since I'm so healthy. Thanks for the gentle reminder.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 22 months ago from The Beautiful South

We really should donate blood as often as we can; well, within reason. I knew it was good for us in that it builds new blood but you cover that well. Thanks for sharing!


Kiss andTales profile image

Kiss andTales 22 months ago

Is HIV-Screened Blood Safe?

BY AWAKE! WRITER IN NIGERIA

▪ THIS question came to the fore in Nigeria when it was found that a baby girl was infected with HIV through a blood transfusion she received at one of Nigeria’s leading hospitals.

According to the hospital’s medical director, soon after Eniola’s birth, she was found to be jaundiced. An exchange blood transfusion was prescribed, and the father donated some units of blood. But the father’s blood was found to be incompatible, so blood from the hospital’s blood bank was administered. Before long, the baby tested positive for HIV, though both parents tested negative. According to the hospital, “the blood transfused into the baby was screened and found to be HIV-negative at the time it was transfused into the baby.”

How, then, did the baby get infected? The Nigerian government investigated the controversy and concluded that the likely source of the infection was the transfused blood. The Nigerian Tribune newspaper quoted a virologist as saying: “At the time of donating the blood, the donor was at the window period of HIV infection.”

This is but a single case, yet it highlights the fact that blood transfusions are not risk free. Describing the HIV window period, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says: “It can take some time for the immune system to produce enough antibodies for the antibody test to detect and this time period can vary from person to person. This time period is commonly referred to as the ‘window period’. Most people will develop detectable antibodies within 2 to 8 weeks (the average is 25 days). Even so, there is a chance that some individuals will take longer to develop detectable antibodies. . . . In very rare cases, it can take up to 6 months.”

So, the fact that blood has been screened for HIV is no guarantee that it is safe. The San Francisco AIDS Foundation warns: “Although HIV may not be detected by a test during the window period, HIV can be transmitted during that time. In fact, individuals are often most infectious during this time (shortly after they have been exposed to HIV).”

As written for our health and safety clearly says in

Acts 15:29

to keep abstaining from things sacrificed to idols,from blood,from what is strangled,and from sexual immorality.If you carefully keep yourselves from these things, you will prosper. Good health to you!”

It is better to be safe then be the percent reported infected !

There is still no cure!


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 22 months ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@billybuc: Yes, Sir. You really should donate. I know you have a very healthy lifestyle as it also reflects with your hubs and the way you motivate the HP community.

Thank you for always making the initial remark on my hub.


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 22 months ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@Jackie Lynnley: I so much agree. Right now, we're busy preparing for our February 14th Bloodletting Day this year. We still owe our medical center with 9 bag of 500 cc whole bloods. I hope many will participate in the said event.


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 22 months ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@Kiss and Tales: Thanks for reminding us.But medical concerns for immediate care of patients require an ample aid, like blood transfusion, especially to those who really need to stabilize the functions of their bodily systems, as needed for whole bloods, plasma or platelets in order to save lives.


Kiss andTales profile image

Kiss andTales 22 months ago

Saving a life is very important, I truly agree ,but I have to disagree that this is safe since there is a window that is not detected as being HIV positive, that is like telling some one to drink this glass of water it is safe ,when you know that it is not 100% that is has a life threatening problem. There are other ways to save people lives, very highly skilled doctors know other choices , just like a dietician would know their job of how to prepare a food that would be nutritious and and safe for their patient, there are very even skilled Doctors that perform surgeries without blood and have turned out better and recovered much faster.

The scripture given was from our Heavenly Father who created the body and blood. He would know better then us why it would be disguarged a certain way.

Another thing my Daughter is in the medical field, they all have certain protective gloves and mask when dealing with patients, if there is no hazard then why the disposable bio containers, and gloves ? Let's not treat this lightly but with caution.


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 22 months ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@Kiss and Tales: Thank you again for your concern. The nurse who administered our blood donations used gloves. But when she wrote our personal data, she removed it. She used alcohol as antiseptic when she inserted the needle in my artery for the oxygenated blood.

As for me, I'm a certified first aider trained by Philippine Red Cross. Prior to my goal to donate, I am always active in volunteering in medical mission since college days.

The other one who donated is the husband of the recipient.

The nurse also asked about our sex lives, whether we practice safe sex or not, if that's what you mean.

The questionnaire is always at hand in the Blood Bank. They will still test our bloods during the duration of its month-long effectiveness.

The only setback was she never offered us medical gowns or maybe they're out of supply or even mask.

But I'm sure the germs inside the room are controlled or maybe they sprayed Lysol (a commercial brand) to kill the harmful ones.

I will show this article to them and will take heed of your positive advise and concerns.

Thank you very much again.


Kiss andTales profile image

Kiss andTales 22 months ago

Thank you and I appreciate your feed back, and it is a wonderful career in what you do in saving lives! I give tribute to you ! And I also appreciate that you will further look into this subject that is a concern of the sacredness of blood, also how God feels about the way we should handle blood.

Reference Bible Ge 9:4 Only flesh with its soul—its blood—YOUmust not eat. ( you can eat through tubes in your veins like in IV connection)

Le 17:14 For the life of every sort of flesh is its blood, because the life is in it. Consequently, I said to the Israelites: “You must not eat the blood of any sort of flesh because the life of every sort of flesh is its blood. Anyone eating it will be cut off.”

Consider how the Heavenly Father feels about what we do with blood.

Thank you again travel man1971 !


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 22 months ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@Kiss and Tales: I've learned a lot from you. I'll update this hub if our Bloodletting Drive will push through on February 14, 2015. God bless you and thank you very much!

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