Hospitals can't run out of blood, and there are worries that things may be getting to the point.  And, what happens to your blood after it's donated?

While your body is recovering with rest and a cookie after a blood donation, the blood itself is getting ready to set out on a pretty elaborate journey involving several steps before it fulfills its purpose and benefits someone who desperately needs it.  Although you'll probably never know exactly who ends up with your blood, it's fascinating to learn how many hoops it has to jump through before it gets to them.

What happens to blood after it's donated, according to the American Red Cross:

1.  The Donation -- After you donate about 1 pint of blood and several small test tubes, your blood is kept on ice while it waits for the next step.

2.  Processing --  The blood goes through a spinning process to separate it into three parts: red cells, platelets, and plasma.  Different patients need different treatments.

3.  Testing -- A lab performs more than a dozen tests to make sure the donation is free of infectious disease, and if anything pops up they'll discard the donation and notify you.

4.  Storage -- Red cells are stored for 5 to 6 weeks, platelets are stored for less than a week, and plasma is stored for up to one year.

5.  Distribution -- Hospitals have some in stock, but sometimes they put in urgent calls to blood banks for more, especially during emergencies.

6. Transfusion -- When a doctor decides a patient needs a blood transfusion, it has to be there, and that could happen after a car accident, during childbirth, as part of treatment for another disease, or a whole host of other things.

Upcoming East Texas Blood Drives with the American Red Cross:

Saturday, November 13th

St Louis Baptist Church - Tyler
4000 Frankston Hwy
9 AM to 3 PM

Saturday, December 4th

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints - Longview
1700 Blueridge Pkwy
10 AM to 3 PM

Upcoming East Texas Blood Drives with the Carter Bloodcare:

Sunday, November 7th

Community Christian Fellowship
15704 Hwy 110N in Lindale
Carter BloodCare Bus
9 AM to 1 PM

Tuesday, November 23rd

UT Tyler Campus
801 Clinic
Atrium @ Pavilion Bldg.
9 AM to 1 PM

There are also several opportunities to donate at Carter Bloodcare's Tyler Donor Center during the week, and they're located at 815 South Baxter Avenue.

The need for blood is big right now, and if you can donate your will be a hero, especially to the person who receives it.

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