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Who Uses Blood and Why? by Philip Seaman

One out of every seven people who enter the hospital will need blood, but who gets that blood? Blood and its components are used for a number of different medical purposes.

Up to thirty percent of donated blood goes to cancer patients. When a cancer patient goes through chemotherapy their bodies may lose the capability to create certain components of their blood, other times the cancer itself inhibits the production of blood components. These patients rely on volunteer blood donors to continue to try to overcome their condition.

Accidents and burn victims use about twenty five percent of donated blood. Burn victims often receive plasma, the liquid part of the blood, to increase their fluids, and help relieve and heal the burn. Accident patients often receive blood that comes from a universal donor, O- blood type, because there may not be time to determine their blood type.

Fifteen percent of the blood collected goes to heart patients. About one third of every heart surgery will require a blood transfusion. Another fifteen percent of the healthy blood donated will go to stomach or bowel patients. One of the functions of your liver is to regulate the production of platelets. Sometimes a liver does not function correctly and the patient will need transfusions of platelets which is a blood product.

Another reason someone would need blood is if they have a medical condition that causes bleeding, such as hemophilia. Hemophilia is a condition that inhibits the body from clotting blood. Hemophiliacs require regular transfusions of plasma that contain clotting factors missing in the patient's blood.

There are continuous lifesaving uses for your blood donations and just a small portion of them have been covered here. Every two seconds, someone somewhere needs blood, and now you know some of the reasons why.

Resources:

Emmanuel, J. C., McClelland, B., Page, R., Chisakuta, A., Lackritz, E., & Zetterstrom, H. (n.d.). The Clinical Use of Blood. Retrieved September 20, 2013, from The Clinical Use of Blood: http://www.who.int/bloodsafety/clinical_use/en/

Staff, T. M. (n.d.). Blood Transfusion. Retrieved September 20, 2013, from The Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/blood-transfusion

Who Needs a Blood Transfusion. (n.d.). Retrieved September 20, 2013, from www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health//dci/diseases/bt/bt_whoneeds.html