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Platelets - Ingredients for Healing: August 14, 2011

Andrea Bamberger is a certified nurse assistant, and a blood donor.

“Its not more uncomfortable than just getting a poke in the arm to, when you have to get a blood test.”

But fewer than 5% of potential donors are rolling up their sleeves to give and even fewer are offering their platelets.

“I am in need of platelet donors, I’m in need of platelet donors to come out and help,” says Nancy Hendrick with Lee Memorial Blood Center.

Platelets are one of the four components of blood, the others being red cells, white cells and plasma. Of the four, it’s the one which controls bleeding and helps the body create clots which allow the wound to heal.

“The platelets come up out and stop the bleeding they’re the healing part of your blood is the sticky part it sticks together,” says Hendrick.

By using automated blood collection systems, donors are able to single out and give specific blood components.

“They use the machine here, there’s a sensor fuse inside this machine that spins at a rapid speed that comes that the red blood cells go back into the donor and bag of platelets hangs on the side here,” says Hendrick.

Platelets are used in various life-saving treatments, including cancer, traumas, organ donation and major surgeries. The need for platelets is always high because they can only be stored for five days.

“Platelet donors are like gold for us because they’re in great demand,” says Hendrick.