A pint can save a life

U.S. Army Spc. Benjamin Wright, Tripler Army Medical Center phlebotomist, draws blood from U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Noelle Hong, 324th Intelligence Squadron intelligence analyst, during a blood drive at the Hickam Main Exchange, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Feb. 6.

Story and photo by Tech. Sgt. Heather Redman

15th Wing Public Affairs

Every month, units from around the 15th Wing come together to save lives by supporting the Tripler Army Medical Center (TAMC) Armed Services Blood Program (ASBP).

The TAMC Blood Donor Center holds multiple donation events a week, along with their clinic hours, and collects several hundred units of blood a month.

“Most of the units collected through Tripler go directly to service members here on the island,” said Michelle Lele-Himalaya, ASBP blood donor recruiter. “Some units are sent to contingency areas for those wounded overseas, but most of it is used for medical procedures at Tripler.”

The ASBP encourages people to donate locally due to the wait times for shipping blood from the continental U.S.

“It takes about three to four days for a unit of blood to be collected and tested before it can be used,” Lele-Himalaya said. “If we run low and have to purchase units of blood from the mainland, we would need to add on an additional three days for shipping which is a long time to wait if you need a transfusion.”

According to the ASBP, a single trauma victim can use 40 or more units of blood. Leukemia patients undergoing treatment can use up to eight units of platelets, and one pint can sustain a premature infant’s life for up to two weeks.

“Blood is a limited resource that you don’t realize how important it is until you need it,” Lele-Himalaya said. “So we encourage people to donate whenever they can.”

The blood donation process takes about 30 minutes from screening to collection, and an individual can donate every 57 days.

ASBP is the official blood collection, manufacturing, transport and transfusion program for the U.S. military. They are responsible for providing blood and blood products to deployed service members on the battlefield, on board Navy casualty receiving treatment ships, hospital ships and aircraft carriers.

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Category: News