Blood Donation

June 8, 2021
David C. Durbin, MD
Latest posts by David C. Durbin, MD (see all)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated Monday June 14, 2021, as world blood donor day.  In the East Tennessee Region our regional blood supplier is MEDIC. Medic services 22 counties in East Tennessee and almost 1.5 million people. Blood donation is a selfless act that truly can save someone’s life.

At MEDIC there are four primary types of donations:

1.) Whole blood donation. This is the most common type of donation. The process takes under an hour from arrival to leaving the building. MEDIC does a wonderful job and is very respectful of donor’s time. A donor can donate every 56 days (about 2 months).

2.) Double Red. The double red donation is a little different. The blood is drawn from the patient and the red blood cell are separated and kept while the plasma and other components are returned to the donor. Because of the larger number of red cells removed this donation can only be done once every 112 days (about 3 and a half months). Trauma patients and surgery patients are the most common patients who would need this kind of donation.

3.) Platelets. Platelets live only 5 days and MEDIC is in continuous need of platelet donors. Platelets help with blood clotting and are frequently needed by patients receiving chemotherapy or transplant recipients. Platelets can be donated 24 times a year.

4.) Plasma. With a plasma donation the red blood cells are separated and given back to the donor and the plasma is kept for donation. Plasma is used by trauma patients, burn victims, cancer patients and others. Plasma can be donated every 30 days.

Not everyone is eligible to be a blood donor, but the criteria have been updated and more people are eligible. Patients on most medications are eligible to donate blood but there are a few exceptions. There is a deferral period after certain cancers, travel to some parts of the world etc. You can donate immediately after a COVID vaccine but with some vaccinations there is a waiting period.

More information can be found at: MEDIC Regional Blood Center – MEDIC Regional Blood Center ( or you can call MEDIC at 865-524-3074.