Every kid grew up wanting to be a super hero, didn’t they? Whether it was the power to leap tall buildings in a single bound or shoot lasers from your eyes, the superhero goal is one that many of us dreamed, but didn’t believe would actually become a reality.
Did you know, though, one of the best ways to become a real life superhero is to donate blood? Each day, approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed each day. That number skyrockets when natural disasters and other devastating events occur. With each donation, you can save up to three lives. You can donate roughly every 56 days, which comes out to six times a year. Eighteen lives a year for the next several decades… talk about super hero status!
What happens, though, after you’ve completed the blood donation process? How does it get from your veins into the veins of those whose lives you save?
Well, with the help of a crew of professionals, of course, including medical specimen couriers. Here are the details:
Donation. When you donate blood, it is generally a pint of whole blood, as well as several small vials for testing. These are labeled with a bar code, unique to you and your healthcare history, but coded in order to protect your privacy. In the healthcare world, even with healthcare transportation, adhering to HIPAA laws is mandated. That’s why our couriers are expertly trained and certified in these regulations. Your donation is then chilled until ready for transport.
Transportation. Once the donation center is ready to close for the day, blood donations are shipped to two different places: the processing center and the lab. In order to move the samples, a medical courier is preferred. These individuals will have access to a refrigerated vehicle. Eagle Express offers both vans and straight trucks capable of regulating multiple temperatures, up to three, within just a few degrees of your desired temperature. Safe transportation from the donation center is the first step in ensuring blood samples stay viable.
The pint donation is sent to a processing center via a refrigerated medical delivery courier. Here, the blood is spun in a centrifuge, separating the components plasma, platelets, and red blood cells. Each of these is further reduced or compressed into different components, each packaged as a unit- which is a standardized measure that healthcare professionals will use when administering to patients in the future.
Meanwhile, medical specimen couriers will also transport the vials of blood to laboratories for testing. This is often part of a routine delivery schedule, moving blood at the same time, or multiple times during the day, on specific days of the week. Here, blood is tested for blood type and infectious diseases, ensuring it is safe for transfusion. Since this blood sample carries the same coded information as the blood being processed, the results are electronically passed to the processing center within 24 hours of receipt. Blood that is positive is discarded and the processing center and the donor are notified. Blood that is given the "all clear" is sent on to the next step.
As our Eagle Express team knows well, storage in an integral part of any logistics process. Medical samples often require strict temperature controlled storage. The blood units here are either stored at room temperature in constant movement (platelets), frozen (plasma), or refrigerated at 42 degrees Celsius (red cells).
Hospitals keep some blood units on hand, but often they will call for more at any time of day or night. That’s when a DFW healthcare courier is really vital. Healthcare is a 24/7 job that requires 24/7 deliveries. An on call courier is able to go to the storage facility and pick up whatever units of blood are necessary to complete the job. Don’t forget the temperature controlled part! Just as in the beginning, during transport, blood units must remain at a specific temperature to ensure they’re viable for transfusion to patients who need them.
There you are, superheroes! When you donate blood, you save lives, and thanks to the super hero medical specimen couriers in DFW, those donations are able to get to and from their processing and storage locations so they’re ready to go when recipients need them.