Theprocess of blood donation is the most fundamental process of ensuringpeople live on with their lives even after losing huge amounts ofblood at the hospitals. Hence, the process of blood donation becomesfundamental in the medical care institution. Despite the usefulnessof the blood to the recipients in the hospitals, there are alsoadvantages and benefits of blood donation to the givers of the blood.The process of blood donation becomes imperative also from the factthat the various blood components from the donated blood havenumerous advantages in the medical institutions. The following writeup on the challenges of the blood donation process to both partiesinvolved in the blood donation and transfusion cycle. Additionally,the process has various solutions that make the blood donationprocess manageable.
Problemswith Blood Donation
Themost devastating problem of the blood donation process is the case ofusing equipment that is not properly sterilized or even sterilized atall. It is a standard expectation that during the engagement ofdonating blood, the equipment should be discarded after using on asingle individual. In recent times and the developed countries, theprocess of sterilization tops among the priorities of the blood banksand to the teams collecting blood. Failure to sterilize the equipmentin the blood donation process introduces a huge risk on both thedonor and the recipient of the blood. In the 1990s, China reused theequipment used in the blood donation centers, and consequently, anestimated number of 250000 donors had exposure to the HIV (Williams254).The populace acquired the deadly virus from the contaminatedequipment in the blood donating centers. Apart from deadly viruses,the usage of unsterilized equipment in the developing nationscompromises the safety of the donated blood and adds addition healthrisks to the people in the dire need of the blood in the hospitalcenters (Williams276).
Afterthe donation processes, very few people complain of conditions causedby the blood donation. The fact the numbers exist, the problems areworth a discussion. Mild reactions lead the category for thefirst-timers in donating blood. Agitation, nausea, sense of weakness,cold feeling, pallor, and sweating are among the complications thatthe first-timers in blood donation encounter (Hillyer68).The mild reactions do not last for long after the blood donation.However, the frequent occurrence of the mild reactions to a donor maycause the donor to shy off from another voluntary engagement ofoffering blood.Hillyer states that severedisorders from blood donation are loss of consciousness, vomiting,and convulsive syncope (74). The number of people having the severereactions is very small nonetheless, it is still imperative toreduce the associated risks to the lowest possible mark. The mild andthe severe reactions are vasovagal reactions triggered by the painfrom the venipuncture. Sometimes the reactions are from a donorseeing the flow of their blood, or that of another donor, by theanxiety of donating blood for the first-timers.
Thereare predominant occurrences to problems associated with the venousaccess when the individual offers blood. The extravasations of theveins cause hematomas that result from the incorrect placement of theneedle during venipuncture (Ignatavicius184).The site of the extravasations may have pain, swelling, andhyperemia. Local happenings may stimulate pain caused by the slighttrauma inflicted to the subcutaneous nerve endings. In most of theoccurrence of such cases, the complications do not require anyserious treatment. They are banal cases that disappear on their own(Ignatavicius150).However, there are serious complications with a very rare occurrencerate that may need treatment after they occur. Such cases asthrombophlebitis and local phlebitis are serious and need medicalattention immediately the donors acquire them. Another problem forthe donor is the adverse reaction of the donor to the sodium nitratein the aphaeresis in the collection process that prevents the bloodfrom clotting. The return of the anticoagulant and the non-collectedblood components to the donor binds the calcium in the donor’sblood to cause hypocalcaemia. The hypocalcaemia causes the donor tohave tingly lips, seizures, hypertension among other seriouscomplications.
Theoccurrence of such complications, however, minor or rare pushes thedonors to the extent of not donating any blood since they fear fortheir medical condition. First-time donors, pregnant women, andteenagers are at the greatest risk of developing a complication afterthey give out blood (Harmening47).It is only two percent of donors that develops complications.Long-term complications may be rare, but the occurrence of thelong-term effects pushes blood banks to offer provisional questionsto the donors in order to find out of any existing medical conditionthat may trigger the complications. Rapid change in the bloodpressure of the donor may cause hypovolemic results, but once thedonor adjusts their blood pressure, the condition vanishes. The hugeemphasis on even the minor problems of the blood donation engagementis pivotal to help manufacture and invent processes to extract bloodfrom the bodies of the donors without any negative consequence.
TRALI(Transfusion-related Acute Lung Injury) is among the serious problemsat transfusion of the apparently donated blood. The diseaseoriginates from the white blood cell antibodies that are in theplasma of the donated blood components. When transfusion occurs, theantibodies get a high possibility to activate a white blood celltermed as a granulocyte. The cell causes the plasma to leak into thelungs of the recipient of the blood causing a fluid accumulation tocreate a condition termed as acute pulmonary edema (Sibinga47).The antibodies are most likely in previously pregnant women, or menand women with a recent history of blood transfusion and transplants.The problem is looming since the current medical developments inblood donation do not have methods of screening for TRALI. Inaddition, there are no procedures to eliminate the risk of a donorcarrying antibodies causing TRALI (Sibinga64).However, the condition has a low occurrence frequency but it is agreat problem to the blood banks since the apparent lack of anyscreening technology for the antibodies is by itself a downfall forthe blood collection process. Blood donation continues to a processof screening the blood of any undesired characteristics, mostly thosebringing harm to the recipients. The process of screening revealsvarious conditions, or infecting microorganisms present in thereceived blood. In such scenarios, the whole blood is discarded, andthe collection team may get to the ground and collect the samemicroorganisms from the unsuspecting donors. The wastage of theinfected and contaminated blood adds to the cost of collecting blooddue to the repetitive activity that may end up with few pints ofhealthy blood. More so, the screening process tests for the bloodgroup of the blood and the Rh type of the blood donated. The processensures that the blood recipients get blood that matches with theirblood type.
Theshelf life of the donated blood is a constant debate that cannot gowithout discussion. In most cases, the campaigns for blood donationhappen in cases of medical emergencies since donated blood has a veryshort shelf life. Food and Drug Administration limits the storage ofdonated red blood cells to up to forty-two days (Murty46).However, other blood components degrade within a shorter period thanthe six weeks period. Offering old blood to recipients places them inhuge health risks as the old blood contains harmful components (Murty63).
Solutionsto the Problems
Amongthe leading solutions to lower the challenges in blood donationinclude developing medication and vaccines that reduce the overallneed for blood in hospitals and related medical centers (Acton 67).There are main reasons as to why hospitals need blood in urgency.Severe anemia from malaria infections, surgery, and traumas, and thesickle cell disease lead among the ailments that require the bloodtransfusion to heal. Obstetric hemorrhage and postpartum hemorrhageaccount for huge blood losses when pregnant mothers deliver theirbabies. Such medical situations make it impossible for blood banks tostay without a call to donate blood since the situations happen at ahigh rate. Acton suggests that to reduce the problem of calling formasses to donate blood on every occasion, there should bedevelopments by the medical researchers to come up with alternativecures that do not need a blood transfusion (80). Developingmedication to control the effects if sickle cell anemia, tocolytics,and postpartum hemorrhages will reduce the levels of blood needed bythe medical centers. Reducing the level of blood needed in themedical centers lowers the campaigns to collect as much blood aspossible by the blood banks. The reduction of the campaigns will inturn, mean that the numerous challenges in the blood donation centerswill decline, and the frequency of the occurrence of the challengeswill be close to minimal.
Itwould help a lot in the journey of reducing the blood donationrelated problems if the blood bank and the community as a wholeestablished cultures to improve on the blood donation processes. Therigorous culture will help people overcome their fears during theprocess of donating blood (Greer 125). Raising mass awareness of theimmense help that the donors give when they donate blood will easilyhelp more people to offer blood voluntarily and on many occasions.The culture, in turn, works to communicate to the masses of theprecise caution that the people extracting blood from the donorsapply in their work. A huge populace clings to the fears that theblood banks operators have little experience in their work. Hence,the masses fear the operators may insert the needle to their veins inthe wrong way, or that the operators may introduce infections to themasses as they extract blood in cases where the blood extractingequipment is unsterilized. Raising the mass awareness of theeffectiveness and efficiency of the operation of the blood collectorswill raise the confidence levels among the populations. Raising theconfidence of the donors will help fight off some of the recurrentfears in blood donation across numerous regions (Greer 115). Theculture on educating about the quality of the donation processes willcurb the spread of the myths surrounding the blood donation, more soamong the first-time blood donors. Besides, the populace will come toterms with the caution of the blood collectors, and the anxietylevels that cause people to panic and faint at the donation processwill reduce allowing more time to collect more blood.
Theblood collectors should come up with cost effective and more accurateblood testing processes (Lund419).The testing and screening process offer a chance to the blood banksto learn of any infections within the blood of the donor. Whenever aperson offers blood, the blood banks carry out a series of tests andconvey an appropriate feedback to the donors. In cases where theblood banks improve on their technologies on screening and testingthe blood, the diseases arising after transfusion of blood wouldreduce. The current processes of screening cannot detect the presenceof the dangerous TRALI infection hence the blood ends up infectingthe recipient of the blood (Murphy 98). TRALI being a fatal infectioncould have a possible prevention from infecting the recipients if thecurrent technologies would detect the infection in the blood of thedonor. Additionally, if the testing centers offered extensiveconclusions on the status of the blood of the donors, more peoplewould show up at the blood donation centers ready to receive a freecheck-up and donate blood. The process eliminates the problem ofcarrying forward infected blood to the blood banks for storage. Thecurrent technologies also fail to separate the individual donor bloodpossessing risk factors to the patients who have multiple bloodtransfusions. The patients having multiple transfusions get exposureto blood with risk factors but the current technological advancementsfail to rule out the individual donor’s blood having risks such asthe causative agents for TRALI. To curb such errors and possibleprolonged infections from the blood donation and transfusion process,the blood banks and medical centers should improve on the currenttechnologies they use to screen and test the blood.
Thechallenges in the blood donation processes reduce further by removalof restrictions to safe donation. Currently, there are a huge numberof healthy donors of blood restricted from donating their blood byvarious blood center structures and the existence of certaingovernments. There should, however, be a current times investigationto find out if the current deferrals help protect the public health(Pemberton 46). The current revelations will reveal a new era ofinfectious diseases from the testing done to strip the restrictionsfor the safe donations. With the new testing procedures, there willbe a review of deferrals that cease to be threats to blood donation.Hence, more people to turn up for blood donations. Among thedeferrals in question, include the donor re-entry concerning the pastrecords of the positive viral markers. The sole purpose of creatingthe donor deferral policies was to prevent the unsafe blood giversfrom donating their blood in more than one occasion. There are thedonors deferred over a decade ago and still have no chance in thepresent world to donate blood given they are now healthy. Such donorscould have a reinstatement in the donor’s pool after a series oftesting controls within an interpretive procedure to find out theirstatus (Pemberton 53). In the current structure of blood donation,the interpretive algorithms do not allow a re-entry of past donorswho are now healthy. The fact is demeaning given that the oncedeferred donors because of the viral marker testing results cannotdonate blood even after they get healthy. It is, therefore,imperative to allow the re-installation of the past donors sincetheir active participation in blood donation increases the awarenesslevels of the blood donation campaigns.
Theblood centers should develop comprehensive education to teach thepeople collecting the blood in the field from the various donorsabout the various operational skills. The educational progress offersmaximum knowledge to the blood collectors, and the collective inputof information will help them detect various infections at the pointof blood collection. More importantly, the education should befrequent to inform of any new deferred cases of blood donors andlearn from new practices in blood donation. The blood collectorslearn of the safest methods to insert the needle to the donors toprevent any venipuncture to the donors (Aghababian74).The blood collectors also learn the best practices to handle thedonor after collecting the blood. Handling the donor in aprofessional way will determine if they will volunteer again todonate blood hence, a great task lies upon the blood collectors forthe various blood centers.
Inconclusion, the existing solutions to counter the challenges faced inthe blood donation process extend to cover the participation of thecommunity in their attitude towards blood donation. To overcome theexisting challenges, a sensible approach has to come intoconsideration of the various fears and conditions of the blooddonors. Furthermore, the clinical needs of the donated blood and theavailability of resources to collect the blood should have aconsideration for the solutions for the challenges of blooddonations. Having to deal with the donors as the huge challenge, asystemic collection of evidence of the benefits of their input comesin handy to eliminate their worries or uncharacteristic mythsconcerning blood donation. A common view by most people to offerincentives to the blood donors has been specially excluded in thediscussion for the solutions since the concept of offering incentivesto the blood donors ends up accumulating more challenges to the bloodcollection teams than anticipated. The existing solutions counter thedaily challenges in the donation process and act as a guard againstcollecting infected blood. They also play a role to raise moreawareness to the masses on the safe practice of collecting blood andeliminating the problems of fear.
Theproblems facing the blood donation are rare in occurrence and may nothappen at all for the regular blood donors. The first-timers,pregnant women, and teenagers have varied levels of high risks tocontracting the complications from blood donation. The mild or severeinfections place the blood donation out of consideration for variouspeople as they fear to have the infections out of their voluntaryaction. However, as the study shows, most of the infections heal ontheir own and need no medical intervention especially for thefirst-time blood donors. It is hence an encouragement for all peopleto place blood donations on their bucket lists. Despite saving livesand the various benefits that a donor gets from offering blood, therisk and frequency of acquiring a complication remains relativelylow. The clinical needs of the donated blood and the availability ofresources to collect the blood should have a consideration for thesolutions for the challenges of blood donations. Having to deal withthe donors as the huge challenge, a systemic collection of evidenceof the benefits of their input comes in handy to eliminate theirworries or uncharacteristic myths concerning blood donation. A commonview by most people to offer incentives to the blood donors has beenspecially excluded in the discussion for the solutions since theconcept of offering incentives to the blood donors ends upaccumulating more challenges to the blood collection teams thananticipated. The existing solutions counter the daily challenges inthe donation process and act as a guard against collecting infectedblood. They also play a role to raise more awareness to the masses onthe safe practice of collecting blood and eliminating the problems offear.
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