Guam’s Biggest Donor
POLARIS POINT, Guam - You wake up in a jolt. Scrambling from your bed you rush to don your uniform. As you button-up your blouse, your mind is planning the most efficient way to get ready and minimize wasted time. “I cannot afford to be late again,” you think, considering worst-case scenario consequences; none of which you want the headache of dealing with. “Not going to happen.”
You’re a speed machine. You even look good. Feeling accomplished, you hustle to your car, slam the door and are backing out within a second of lighting off the ignition. You have 15 minutes.
Beep! It’s quiet for a second … beep! Blinking, a hospital room comes into focus. “Wait,” you think, “How did I get here?”
Disasters aren’t something we wake up and plan on having. We don’t even want to be late to work, let alone risk losing our blood or physical capabilities. In 15 minutes you could probably speed to work. It’s also the same amount of time it takes to donate a pint of blood.
Sailors aboard the submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40), the biggest suppliers of blood units to Guam’s Armed Services Blood Program, lined up in the ship’s Medical Department to donate blood May 1, 2018.
“We max out,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Dmetrey Kolesnikov, assigned to Frank Cable, who coordinated the blood drive. “The ASBP is limited on how much they can collect, by how many units they have available to bring. Frank Cable is a large command with a lot of people who want to give and not everybody gets to, every time.”
In 24 hours the average human can recreate enough plasma to make up for a unit of lost blood volume. Within four to eight weeks, natural cell division will replenish red blood cells to a normal count.
Each pint of blood donated is separated into four parts (red blood cells, platelets, plasma and cryoprecipitate), and can save up to four lives. Forty-two blood units were donated, filling the ASBP’s collection capability for the day.
“It’s a simple thing to do, but the result can be life-saving,” said Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class Jacob Shore, a donor from Stigler, Okla. and assigned to Frank Cable. “The more we donate, the more prepared we are for the worst. What if your own donated blood saved your own life? You never know.”
Frank Cable’s donors are supporting military members and their families, supplying blood for military treatment facilities, overseas units and contingency operations, Pacific Command area of responsibility missions, and general medical emergencies.
Personnel needing a transfusion will have no choice, but to wait, if enough blood is not available. If the ASBP is deficient in stores, blood units must be purchased from civilian agencies. In some cases, those agencies can’t afford to sell.
Ninety-five percent of individuals who live to the age of 72 need a blood transfusion at some time, according to the ASBP. Wounded service members, people with blood disorders or cancers can depend on them. Premature infants are common recipients.
“I’m a corpsman,” said Kolesnikov, “It makes sense for me to take responsibility to coordinate a blood drive. This is something meaningful I can do, and our command, to support our organization. Any person aboard who meets the criteria, civilian or military, is welcome to come and donate.”
The Navy, Army and Air Force operate approximately 81 blood bank and donor facilities through the ASBP, and supply blood products and services through peace and war.
Frank Cable, forward deployed to Guam, repairs, rearms and reprovisions deployed U.S. Naval Forces in the Indo-Pacific region.
For more information on Frank Cable, find us on Facebook at USS Frank Cable (AS 40), or http://www.csp.navy.mil/frankcable.