Science & Tech, World

The Bloody Truth: Are Blood Donations a Business?

They say that you should donate blood so that you could save lives. You do it voluntarily and without pay, however, the people who need it do not get it for free. Blood donations are a lucrative business model, or is it?

The Blood We Need

Over 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed in the US every day, with blood type O being the most requested type by hospitals. We have to note that there are different types of donations. There are the whole blood donations and blood plasma donations. However, we do understand that we have not enough supply of blood in the banks. Thus, the call for blood donors is rampant. Nonetheless, the requirements to be met by donors are high.

The reality is this, the freely donated blood is either paid for by people who need it or must be replaced by at least another bag. How much does a bag cost? In some countries, it costs as much as $30 USD.

Most people think that blood is only needed for surgical procedures, but there are medical conditions that require frequent blood transfusions. We can only imagine the burden the scarcity of blood gives them.

If we look at this issue superficially, we may come to the conclusion that highly demanded medical assistance is transformed into cash cows by opportunistic capitalists. Nonetheless, if that is our perspective, we are looking at this wrong. Looking into it deeply, we can see that we are baffled by issues we barely notice in terms of the alleged national progressive development.

Are Blood Donations Really About Money?

Critics would say that donating blood has become a business. The more bags you need, the higher costs you pay. The more you need it, the harder it is to find them. It can be true, but why is it like this? If these bags of blood are from volunteers, why do patients need to buy them?

First off, we need to look at the issue broadly. Extracting and storing blood requires high medical attention. Tests need to be performed on donated blood in order to determine if they are “healthy” enough to be transfused. These tests add costs to the professional fee of the people who perform them.

Secondly, medical facilities are required to be able to keep the serum intact. These pieces of medical equipment are dependent on several factors: electricity and maintenance. Of course, that would also entail fees as well.

Thirdly, we do not have enough supply of blood. Especially since not all blood types are available in blood banks. Hence, hospitals would need to request replacements should there be an increased need for it. In fact, there are times when replacements are preferred over payments to acquire blood.

A business? Could be part of it. A money-making scheme? Not really. Bags of blood are not manufactured and not even maintained by private commercial companies. This means that we should not be quick to judge. Today, we need money for the overall sustenance of whatever it is we can think of, including blood donations.

Progress and Fake Consumption

Now, looking at another societal factor that could have indirectly contributed to this insufficient blood supply, is the progress our nations are making.

We have developed different aspects of our societies so far that we would need to rely on almost artificially produced food and other supplies to maintain ourselves.

Our population bloomed, our supplies decreased. Furthermore, our natural environment keeps reacting negatively to our technology that, in return, we needed to produce chemicals to protect ourselves. Moreover, we even created aesthetics that have altered our biological functions and “designs.” To cut it short, we somehow created our illnesses and we keep on getting ourselves undernourished with what we feed our bodies so that we, eventually, no longer qualify to donate clean blood.

All this came with the progress each country aims to maintain. What we fail to notice is that as we grow technologically, our lifespan also decreases. And unlike any other medication that can be manufactured and developed in laboratories, blood cannot.

How Can We Help?

We cannot reverse technology as it has become part of our lives. Nevertheless, if we would want to keep our people functional, we would need not to cure diseases but to prevent them. We need to stop the consumption of food-like products and vitamin alternatives.

Aside from keeping us healthy, what we need to do is to answer the call for more blood donations. Besides contributing to the added blood supply, we are also doing ourselves a favor by allowing a revamp of our circulatory system everytime we donate. Though this may seem such a long shot, who knows, maybe if we choose natural and healthy, we would no longer need to ask for blood donations in the future as much.

About Patricia Abrihan

Patricia has always been inspired by the witty yet innocent voice of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird that she believes that writing is able to revolutionize ideas of society. She is a former college instructor from the Philippines and is currently a freelance writer and blogger managing her portfolio. She is open to collaboration and also loves reading and watching movies.

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