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Red Gold - the epic story of blood Blood Journey: Phase 3: Donation
Blood Journey Blood History Blood Basics Innovators and Pioneers Education Ask the Experts
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Nurse and patient

Now, it's time to leave the body through a volunteer donation.

Not only does blood sustain life within individual bodies, it can do the same in other bodies. Each and every human being is a potential transfusion recipient, and most of us are eligible donors as well. Restrictions exist, of course, and blood centers have mechanisms in place to screen potential donors and test their blood.

Paul Brown

Paul Brown discusses some of his reasons for being a consistent blood donor.
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Drawing of Red Cross nurse

Then:Eighty years ago, blood donors had to be on call 24/7, since they gave blood directly to those in need as emergencies arose.

Now:Donors can give blood at their convenience. Some blood centers are even open 24 hours a day.

Blood is unique in that it can be donated and transfused so easily. The donor faces no danger, and the recipient does not need to search for or await a specific donor; simple tests confirm compatibility. One can only wish that organs could be transplanted as easily as blood transfusion.

Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.
In this section, we follow blood as it leaves the body of a willing donor. We take a look at what the donation process, and then what happens to the blood to insure its safety. Though temporarily outside of the body, the blood we are following is as vital as ever.

Red Cross poster Article: Blood bags Article:
What to Expect
An look inside the blood donation experience.

Testing Donated Blood
Find out about the rigorous testing procedures.

Continue to Phase 4: Blood Banks

Photos: Man giving blood at Red Cross donation center (1943), courtesy of the Library of Congress; drawing of Red Cross nurse from World War I, courtesy of the U.S. National Archives; and "Red Blood Needed for Red Blooded Americans" poster (detail), courtesy of the U.S. National Archives.

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