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Sunday, March 1, 2015

How to donate blood in Trinidad and Tobago

I donated blood today at the San Fernando General hospital. It was the first time I did it. The following describes my experience.

I arrived at the blood bank at 7.15am. There were a few people sitting inside when I arrived. The receptionist took my name and gave me a number. A few minutes later I was weighed and a drop of blood tested. My readings were within range so I was asked to hear my name to go in to another room. A few minutes later, during an interview I was asked questions to ensure I met the requirements to be able to donate. I was told to go out and have more food for breakfast because what I had was insufficient. The nurse insisted I had to eat more than the normal amount for breakfast, for my own good.

I walked to Subway at the bottom on High Street for breakfast. When I returned I had to wait a while before I was called back in. I was called back in a few minutes after 9.00am. The donation room had four reclining chairs for donors to sit in. There was one man in a chair next to me who was being prepped before I was attended to. When it was my turn, a pressure cuff was put on my right hand, at bicep level and over my t-shirt.I got a ball to hold up and roll with my fingers. The nurse found the vein she wanted and put in the needle. The bag was put on a scale to see when the required amount of blood was reached.

I had a choice of an orchard juice or an eggnog and a wheat biscuit to have during the process. By this time the first man had reached the required amount of blood in about 5 minutes. My bag was filling up slowly and after 5 minutes I too was done. I was given a card to read with advice on what to and not to drink and what activities to avoid for two days. This would help my recovery. The needle was removed and a plaster and piece of cotton was put in the spot and I had to hold my elbow closed for a minute. I was given a temporary card and told to come back in one week for my real blood bank card, or I can collect when next I came in. I could also have someone collect the card for me. I also found out that for every five units of blood that I donate and do not take any out, I get a bonus one. I was allowed to given a few minutes to rest in the chair and then told that I was done.

The process was easy and if I had went in initially having eaten enough food for breakfast I think I could have been done in under one hour. If I am a regular donor I would get a higher priority the next time I went in and not have to wait for everyone who reached before me.

As always, call before going in to ensure you know the right operating hours.

Government links and contact info for banks are here:
http://www.ttconnect.gov.tt/gortt/portal/ttconnect/Cit_parentDetail/?WCM_GLOBAL_CONTEXT=/gortt/wcm/connect/gortt+web+content/TTConnect/Citizen/Role/AParent/EmergencyServices/Donating+Blood

http://www.health.gov.tt/sitepages/default.aspx?id=170

Sunday, February 15, 2015