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Saving Lives. The American Red Cross Story

1596 words - 7 pages


Did you know that every 2 seconds someone in the United States needs blood? Where does that blood come from? The American Red Cross, is a nonprofit humanitarian organization. It assists with disaster relief and provides emergency services to those in need. The American Red Cross has been around for aver 100 years and has come a long way in the process.
The American Red Cross was founded on May 21, 1881 by Clara Barton. In the late 1850’s she moved to Washington, D.C. to work in the United States Patent office. Clara Barton was one of the women to ever gain employment from the federal government. Clara wanted to help the soldiers of the Civil War so she gathered supplies for the Union ...view middle of the document...

The American Red Cross added a new branch to their organization during World War 2, collecting blood. Over 13.3 million units of blood were collected for American soldiers.
Why is it good to donate blood? When you give blood you’re ensuring somebody else a chance at continuing life. Although giving blood is a generous thing to do, not everyone is eligible. In order to be allowed to give blood, you must be at least sixteen years old, you must be healthy and you must weigh at least 110 lbs. Eligibility requirements for men and women differ. Men who wish to give blood must weigh at least 130 lbs. and must have a height of 5’1”. Women who wish to give blood must weigh at least 150 lbs. and must have a height of 5’5”. These requirements are set in place to ensure the health safety of donors. If too much blood is taken from a donor who does not meet the requirements, they could suffer from brain damage, they could lose consciousness, and death is even a possibility.
There are many factors that could prevent one from donating blood. If a donor has or has had an infection 2 weeks prior to donating they are not eligible. A donors’ hemoglobin level must be at or above 12.5 g/dl. In order to insure a good hemoglobin level, it is suggested that a donor eat a diet rich in iron the day before donation. A donor is turned down for donation if they have or have had tested positive for HIV/AIDS. A donor must not have had sex with someone who has come into sexual contact with someone who has or have tested positive for HIV/AIDS. A male donor will be turned down for donation if they have ever has sexual intercourse with another male. However, that is not a personal reflection of the American Red Cross. The Food and Drug Administration has complete control over donor eligibility and the American Red Cross is required by law to abide by the FDAs standards.
There are a lot of questions that arise before donating blood. After donating blood, it is suggested that a donor drink four (eight ounce) glasses of water. This allows blood cells to replenish themselves and helps to prevent losing consciousness. After giving blood a Red Cross nurse will put a red bandage over donation site. This bandage needs to be left on for at least five hours after donation. The only needles that are used in donation are clean, sterile, brand new needles and are disposed immediately after donation. The number one concern of the American Red Cross is ensuring the health safety of their donors.
There is always a constant demand for blood. On average 40,000 pints of blood are needed everyday. Every 2 seconds someone in the United States needs blood. It is a common thought that the only people who receive donated blood are accident victims and other emergency operations. However, the majority of people who receive blood transfusions are cancer victims, patients undergoing orthopedic surgeries, patients having cardiovascular surgeries and patients also being treated for blood disorders....

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