Categories for About Blood Donation / FAQs

Donating Blood is Both High and Low Tech

August 10, 2011 at 10:05 am
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By John Williams, Marketing Manager, Stanford Blood Center


It's heartwarming when, in this time of technology-based connectivity, you see a family doing things together. In this case, Mary Sullivan and her sons Tom, Dan, Greg and Steve donated blood for the community as a family. Ironically, it was a technology-based promotion that drove this wonderful group into Stanford Blood Center that day.

Whole Blood & Platelets: What’s the Difference?

July 28, 2011 at 11:01 am
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By Julie Ruel, Social Media Manager, Stanford Blood Center

At Stanford Blood Center we collect several different types of blood products from our volunteer donors. All products have different functions pre- and post-donation. In other words, before and after they leave your body, they each serve different purposes. For the scope of this article, I'll focus on red blood cells (RBCs) collected during a whole blood donation and platelets collected during an ABC donation. These are the two most common products we draw, accounting for about 99% of our total donations in a year.

Congenital CMV: A Family’s Journey

July 6, 2011 at 2:26 pm
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By Julie Ruel, Social Media Manager, Stanford Blood Center


Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is not an unfamiliar term in the blood banking world. A member of the herpes family, it is one of the many tests we perform on each unit of donated blood. For healthy individuals, having the virus, or what we refer to as being CMV positive, isn't harmful. And if healthy, unless you've specifically been tested for CMV, you most likely don't know whether you have the antibody to it or not. However, for infants or those with impaired immune systems, it can be deadly. Because of this, Stanford Blood Center routinely tests for it and was in fact, the first blood center in the world to provide CMV negative blood to hospitals for immunocompromised transfusion recipients.

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The Buddy System

June 30, 2011 at 9:37 am
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On Dec. 29, 2010, Linda Johnson became the first woman to make 500 donations at Stanford Blood Center. It was more than 20 years ago when Linda's friend and Stanford Blood Center platelet donor, Stan Jensen, urged her to check if she would make a good platelet donor. Linda was a perfect candidate with good veins and a high platelet count.

AIDS Screening: Stanford Blood Center’s Pioneering Role

June 24, 2011 at 2:48 pm
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By Ed Engleman, MD, Founder and Medical Director, Stanford Blood Center


During the early 1980s we decided to apply new research technology to a clinical problem: the prevention of the transmission by transfusion of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The problem was highly charged with social, political, legal, ethical, and economic overtones complicating the technical and medical issues at hand. In a decision that engendered intense controversy, in 1983 Stanford Blood Center instituted the first blood testing program specifically intended to reduce the risk of transfusion transmission of the then uncharacterized, but presumed infectious cause of AIDS.

Why All the Same Questions?

June 7, 2011 at 1:30 pm
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By Julie Ruel, Social Media Manager, Stanford Blood Center

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One common question we hear from blood donors is, "Why do I need to answer the same questions each time I come in to give blood? Can't you keep my responses on file?" We cannot and here's why. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that all blood centers ask all blood donors all questions on the day of each blood donation as a safety measure. Honesty and consistency in answering these questions is critical. The safety of the blood supply and the patients receiving the blood depend on truthful answers.

Pulitzer Prize for Blood Donation Stories

June 1, 2011 at 11:05 am
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It was December 1944 and a young journalist for the Call-Bulletin in San Francisco had an idea; one that would earn him a Pulitzer Prize for reporting. Jack McDowell, like so many other young men living in a time of war, volunteered to go fight for his country. His poor eyesight kept him out but it was ultimately his vision for this series of articles that won him the prestigious prize.

Some Things are Universal

May 6, 2011 at 2:46 pm
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Tweet By John Williams, Marketing Manager, Stanford Blood Center Every day in the news we are bombarded with images of conflict, disaster, and crime. We are constantly reminded of the differences between people, especially race, ideology, or nation state. Pro...

Between a Rock and a Heart Place

April 22, 2011 at 11:38 am
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Tweet By John Williams, Marketing Manager, Stanford Blood Center Isn’t the earth an amazing place? We abuse it every day and it still forgives us. I think we often fail to see it as a living organism. Flora and fauna...

Sit. Stay. Donate.

April 7, 2011 at 8:00 am
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By Julie Ruel, Social Media Manager, Stanford Blood Center In speaking with Dr. Sean Owens about the transfusion department he heads at UC Davis, I found they have a similar blood donation operation to Stanford Blood Center. They go to...