I’m a little woozy! I just got done giving a double platelet donation – which is awesome in that I got to stay on the clock and go watch a movie for a couple of hours (they have TVs at every donation station), but less awesome in that it always makes me pretty queasy and lightheaded. I don’t want discourage you from giving platelets by saying that though! The majority of people have no real reaction at all. I’ve just got what the nurse called “delicate veins” – meaning they are tiny, and bleed very slowly (it takes me twice the time it does most people), and very sensitive to the processing agents used when they “rinse” your blood and re-circulate it into your body. (These agents trick your body into thinking it is low on calcium.) I also have fairly low blood pressure and blood sugar – both of which drop during the blood draw process making me feel even more woozy.

So why do I do it? I was thinking about this while I was dizzily chewing on a calcium supplement trying not to think about the needle in my arm.

Well…there’s the obvious reason: people need platelets!!! Cancer patients, people who’ve been injured whose blood won’t clot, etc. etc. They’re suffering a lot more than a queasy tummy. And my happy, healthy little platelets (I picture them swimming around in plasma, smiling, and wearing little nose plugs and swimming caps. “Canonball! Woohoo! Where’s the next vein we can slide through?”) can literally save their life.

But there’s always a selfish reason for everything, right? I suppose mine is that despite the occasional queasiness, it’s actually a very comfortable experience. I mean “cuddled up in a warm bed with good movie” kind of comfy. I don’t want to sound weird by saying this, but it’s all the best parts about coming down with a cold, minus the cold!

Seriously. You get to:

  • Pick out your favorite movies. (They’ve got a pretty huge selection, but I usually pick one I’ve already seen just in case my blood draw ends before it’s over. Today I watched “Mystery Science Theater 3000, The Movie.”)
  • Lay down on a cushy recliner and get tucked in with layers of soft blankets and heat pads.
  • Have a very caring nurse checking on you frequently just to see if you need anything and to make sure you’re feeling well.
  • Eat sweets with no regrets. (I brought my own chocolate calcium chews to eat when I got tingly instead of the Tums the nurses have, and of course there are free cookies and fruit snacks after you’re done!)
  • And generally be pampered. (My nurse joked that it was just like the spa except for the needle part.)

Oh…and by the way, in the time it took me to write this post, my little bit of wooziness has already disappeared.

See? It’s not so bad! In fact, I’ll be going back 🙂

If you want to join me, here are some links for you to check out:



  • I was once a dedicated donor until I became a liablity to the ARC. Please read my Blog. Very few donors will ever see their dark side of the bussiness like I did.
    Please post this on your web page. Donors should find this very informative reading.

    Warning to all Apheresis Donors

    In signing the American Red Cross donor consent form. You except total responsibly for all out of pocket cost such as

    : medical expenses *excluding RX & Doctor Visits co-pays
    : Lost work wages
    : Lost wages for long term donor related injury
    : Lost wages for long term medical care related to donor injury

    One Apheresis Donation @ the American Red Cross North Central
    Blood Region. St. Paul. Minnesota Blood Center

    Out of pocket cost to donate…………………………….…………………….. $244
    Out of pocket cost to date for lost wages………….…………………….. .. $6000
    Out of pocket cost to date for medical cost…………………………………$1200
    Out of pocket Cost for long term lost wages and medical care……….. *$20000
    Total out of pocket cost of an apheresis donation to a donor…..……….$27.444

    Cost to the American Red Cross…..………………………………………….$00,000

    Price for The American Red Cross Donor Consent Form…………….PRICLESS

    * Good Faith Estimate

    I’ve created this blog as a result of my dealings with the American Red Cross and their risk management company. For many generations the American Red Cross stood as a symbol of compassion and diversity in the mist of pain and disaster. Always there to catch people overcome by despair and tragedy. It was this feeling of compassion and empathy that first drew me toward the idea of becoming a Red Cross blood donor and later in life becoming a apheresis donor. This all changed when the American Red Cross labeled me a liability risk.

    I developed problems with both my arms shortly after an apheresis donation. It would be confirmed as a very rare and serious case of bilateral superficial phlebitis. Before my doctor’s diagnosis I started asking the Red Cross some questions. My first and foremost thoughts were. Could the donation of caused this pain & swelling in my arms. The Red Cross really didn’t think it had any connections but did suggest I seek medical help. Almost immediately after the Red Cross heard my Doctor confirmed bilateral superficial phlebitis, I immediately became a risk to the American Red Cross. I wasn’t going to just fade away like they apparently thought or hoped I would. I realized the American Red Cross had a dark side that most donors never knew existed.

    Shortly after the apheresis donation both my arms became very sore and painful. The veins in both inner forearms where the needles here inserted begin to swell and became discolored. I developed a temperature and felt out of sorts. My first thought was tendonitis but I had done no physical activities to warrant this. Second thought was the donation, I had called the Red Cross several times after developing this problem. I asked many times if the donation could be causing my pain and swelling. I never got a straight answer. All they suggested was I should seek medical attention which I did.

    My doctor took one look at both arms and immediately diagnosed bilateral superficial phlebitis . Due to the severe pain & severe swelling of the arms, he removed me from work status. As a result I lost just about four weeks of work wages because of the pain & swelling. Eight months later I still have constant pain, slight loss of strength and occasional swelling in my right arm. I will continue to experience the effects of this postphlebitic syndrome the rest of my life.

    How did the Red Cross react to all of this. Well up to then I thought they were very concerned. But once my Doctor’s diagnoses was made, they immediately went defensive and denied their procedure caused my donor complication once their risk management company got involved. They tried their best to discredit me and my doctor’s diagnoses. They constantly used misinformation and withheld relevant documents from me. Their senior claims officer had the audacity to tell me I wasn’t a doctor and didn’t know what I was talking about. That’s was even after she was told of my doctor’s diagnoses. Their claims manager had also suggested I may never of had bilateral superficial phlebitis at all. Both these people from the risk management company must be extremely intelligent. One day their claims officers, another day doctors, then on to being lawyers and finally the judge and jury. Many hats of knowledge were worn by some few people at the risk management company.

    From the start they’re contempt and acts of intimations were very clear indications . Their job was to eliminate the risk I presented to the American Red Cross. The American Red Cross was now showing my the dark side few have ever heard or seen. So please take your time and read my story. If any of you have ever had problems or know of someone that has developed post donor complications from the Red Cross. Please let me know and I’ll post them on my blog site.

    You wonder what happens when you come down with a serious apheresis post donor complication? You come down with what ?…a rare or severe donor complication. Never you say, I been doing aphesis donating for years without a hitch. Never heard about apheresis donor complications anyway . You naively ask “if there were a chance of getting an apheresis donor complication. Surely the American Red Cross would discuss such matters of risks with their apheresis donors.“

    At least that’s what I and just about every other apheresis donors I’ve talked would also think. You would be very surprised that very few apheresis donor actually know they could be putting their health in grave danger during donations.

    I developed Bilateral Superficial Phlebitis a very serious post apheresis donor complication. Bilateral meaning In Both Arms. This is a condition that results in blood clots developing in the a vein that has been injured. It took eight months of trips to different Specialists and my personal Doctor to gain control of the swelling and terrible pain associated with blood clots that developed in both arms because of their blotched procedure. I’ve also been left with decreased gripping strength secondary to pain in my right hand. My Doctors final assessment is pretty much as follows ”It’s as good as it’s going to get.” In other words, depending on physical activity I will developed significant pain and swelling intermittently in my right arm. This is characteristic of postphlebitis syndrome and is unlikely to improve.

    The American Red Cross wants all apheresis donor to think and feel safe when giving .. Very rarely does anything go wrong during a procedure, to cause personal injury or harm to donors as a result of a apheresis donation. Lets face it , other than a small sting from the needle, they claim their procedure to be safe and easy.

    From personal experience I’ve learned the very hard and painful truth. This ARC claim of a Safe & Easy procedure is completely bogus and a misrepresentation of the truth . It would be more appropriate and relevant if the ARC changed their claim of a safe & easy procedure to read.

    ” The apheresis procedure is generally a safe and easy procedure . But due to possible serious post donor health complication, Short & Long Term medical out of pocket expenses , lose wages and possible financial ruin. Your willingness to except all responsibility for these and all other unforeseen risks is a requirement to donate.”

    This claim to a safe & easy procedure would be more ethically true with very relevant information a donor can easily comprehend . Donors should understand the decision to donate may lead to post donor complications with adverted effects. Not only to them but also to their families or loved ones. It shouldn’t not be a decision to be made on your own if you have dependence you care for. Your family needs you more then the Red Cross does. Give money, you’ll be much safer and still be helping the American Red Cross if you still want to. There’s nothing wrong in doing that.

    My doctor factually stated that my post reaction was from the American Red Cross plasmapheresis procedure. The Red Cross very quickly refused to acknowledge his diagnoses and as quickly refereed my case to their outsourced risk management company. This is when my opinion of the American Red Cross started sliding into the toilet. I can not possibly describe to you the total betrayal and humiliation I experienced when the American Red Cross threw me out like the evening trash. It also was very obvious that this risk management company lacked the full facts of my case when they took charge of my claim against the ARC.

    They demonstrated complete lack of professionalism with inaccurate information and false assumptions that were charged against me . They also because very hostile by showing their contempt and distrust of me and my doctors diagnoses.

    On occasions this risk management company would deliberately withhold requested information I deemed RELIVENT. Misinformation and withholding documents were just another of their ploys to confuse and discourage me from pursuing my case against the American Red Cross.

    One day I had to contact my local Red Cross Chapter Safety Officer to request some information because the risk company was sand bagging information I’d requested. Later they would say this information wouldn’t relevant to the case. In actuality they were minimizing damage control for the Red Cross. Once I identified myself to The Red Cross Official his replied he was to busy answering his emails to discuss anything with me and didn’t have to talk with me anyway. I know he enjoyed telling me that by the way he highlighted the tone of his voice. He’d been ordered to no longer talk with me.

    That being said, I called the American Red Cross National Director of Risk Management in Washington D.C. I asked her if this risk management company the Red Cross hired to contain their risk liabilities. Represent the values and integrity of the American Red Cross and if so, you have a major public relation crisis on your hands.

    I filled her in on my case and told her I couldn’t believe the ARC treats their dedicated and loyal donor so immorally wrong. This was totally unacceptable under any circumstances to be handled so inappreciable. I do hope a few within the American Red Cross Organization will remember my comments next time the Risk company’s contact is up.

    We donors so graciously and unselfishly allow them to use our dedication, loyalty and empathy every time a donation is made. The average donor does not perceive the donor consent form for what it actually is. A release from any and all foreseen & unforeseen risks from donor complications.

    Unfortunately the truth be know that many of us see this consent form as just additional paper work that must be completed before we can donate. I believe this actually is pretty much the way the American Red Cross hopes you see it too. It’s no secret, just ask the average donor if they are aware of any possible severe complication associated with a apheresis donation.

    Then ask them if they knew by signing they also released the ARC from all liability should any serious donor complication develop. My guess is, they wouldn’t know what you’re talking about. Imagine for a moment the consent form could talk. It would be telling the average donor relevant information about the effects a botched apheresis procedure could have on the donor and their loved ones.

    Wonder what it would say to the American Red Cross and their risk management company. I’m just guessing here now and hope I‘m completely wrong. But from the way they both kept throwing that consent form back into my face repeating the fact “you signed it“. I’m fairly confident the consent form would say something to the effect that “We could care less if you missed that short sentence. Something like 5 to 6 words in all those pages of paperwork, “Your signature is all we’re concerned with“.

    Why would the ARC take the time to review your completed donor questionnaire answers with you again and not discuss possible life-threatening complications from a post donation? Doesn’t the ARC think possible donor complications are as important to the donor as their travel and sex history is to Red Cross. Why then isn’t this Information reviewed in the same manner as the donor questionnaire is? That is completely irresponsible behavior exposing a donor to such risk without proper discussion.

    They’re not the knight in shinning armor I once perceived them to be. They’re more a deceiver and abuser of our thrust and compassion. How many of you donors actually knew the true implications of this Donor Consent form? Think your local charter of the American Red Cross Center would actually want to discuss the possible cause and effects a donor complication could pose on you and your family? If they did ,their once dedicated and loyal donors would become scarce.

    Now I will ask you some questions to see if you really understand just how unimportant the American Red Cross is concerned with your well being . When was the last time you actually read and understood what the Informed Consent For Apheresis Blood Collections form was all about. Can you even remember it. Trust me that was one of the very first forms the American Red Cross had you sign. You say it doesn’t really ring a bell, you just don’t remember that form at all. Do you even remember signing it. Don’t worry about that. The Red Cross or their out sourced Risk Management Company will be the first to jog your memory back to reality with a “well you signed it“.

    There is a very good reason why you don’t remember this consent form. Now let me see if I can get this straight myself. According to what my ARC Donation Chapter in St. Paul Minnesota said, this consent form is valid until there has been an FDA required changes made to the overall apheresis procedure. A new consent form must be signed and dated by the donor and be on the premises. If there has not been any FDA required changes made. Then only one signed copy of the consent form is all that’s required to cover the ARC if they are faced with a risk of liability from some donor complication. This form could be three ,four, or even five years old and still be enforceable by the American Red Cross.

    I’ve donating for years and found out to my surprise I has signed four consent forms over the years. This is another consent form they don’t feel the need to discuss with me either kind of like double jeopardy for yourself . Your signature is all they want. Without it, they’d have no enforceable golden parachute liability escape clause. With out that signature they’d be swimming in a sea of law suits due to post donor complications. Makes sense now doesn’t it.

    Have you ever had an open discussions about possible serious donor complications and the effects it could cause just prior to obtaining your signature on the ARC consent form . I never did because they’d never bring that topic up. So why should I be concerned about serious complications if they weren’t. Out of sight out of mind.

    I believe, we as donor should be told up front about donor complications and not have to read through the paperwork for this information. If the ARC is serious enough to review your questionnaire answers. They should be equally concerned about your safety and well being by discussing in depth possible post donor complications.

    If they don’t freely discuss this relevant information with you, I think we as donors should walk away and refuse further donations, until they start a active dialog with donors about relevant real life donor complications prior to signing the consent form. Then you can decide what’s in the best interest for yourself and your family. Instead of what is best for the ARC.

    Hopefully knowing that I’ve got your attention because there is yet another different consent form you must sign before each donation. It amounts to another scrap of paper thrown onto the bottom pile of paperwork and questionnaires you must complete every time you volunteer to donate. You don’t see this one coming neither did you? This is when I think we loyal and dedicated donors get royally screwed again by The American Red Cross.

    Once again they feel it’s not in their best interests to openly discuss with the donor any information that would suggest a rare or dangerous complications from donating. Their consent form uses less descriptive wording to soften up relevance information the donor should now. Their trifle warning of impending doom for apheresis donors is found in just one short sentence . Quote “ very rarely, loss of consciousness, nerve or artery damage.” That’s not enough “in good faith” information from the American Red Cross . The FDA has found “ LIFE – THREATNEING COMPLICATIONS” to be most appropriate wording in their industry recommended plasmas apheresis donor consent form.

    The average donor would be better served with relevance information that could effect them after a post donor complication. Cognitive decision making skills would be greatly improved with descriptive Wording such as Grave, Critical or Severe Medical Conditions. Life-Threatening , Life-Altering and Life Changing .

    All know risks plus all these other unknown or unforeseen things they don’t even know about are still risks involved in a donation and you’re taking on that responsibility instead of the American Red Cross. They can simply just walk away after screwing you royal because you gave them permission just to do that with your signature. What a dirty low down despicable way to find this out as I did. The hard way.

    I never got a satisfactory answer as to why some of my Official Red Cross Blood Records were withheld from me. There’s one more Relevant question they also failed to answer. That being the risk management company had revivified with Red Cross Officials. That the apheresis procedure performed on me was done correctly on the Aug 2nd, 2006. My question was to whom ever they performed the procedure on and revivified it was not me. My donor card and records show my donation was done on Aug 20th, 2006. Both the Red Cross and Risk management company waged a heavy handed attack on my character based on this incorrect information. The American Red Cross Public Relations Officer and the Regional Red Cross CEO don’t have an answer for this. I’m not sure they know who did what to whom or even when they did it in the first place. Get my drift. These were and still are very relevant unanswered questions. I wonder if in not answers my questions. Is this a way for them to kept from incriminating themselves.

    My donation was on 20th of Aug 2006. They revivify a procedure done to someone on the 2nd of Aug 2006. To this day both the American Red Cross and the Risk people are sticking to the revivified procedure date of 2nd of Aug 2006 being correctly done on me. To this day the Red Cross still haven’t been able to explain this. Away. The American Red Cross must think their procedures are 100% correct 100% of the time.

    I have a question for you, loyal and dedicated donor please think hard and true before deciding your answer. Maybe you’ll come up with the same conclusion I have. If the American Red Cross were as concerned with the safety of their donors as they or about blood recipient liabilities. You think they’d inform you of any possible chances of developing a grave bodily injury from one of their safe & easy donations… wouldn’t you? Aren’t we their loyal and trusting American Red Cross Donors? Didn’t take me long to answer that question. DONATORS BEWARE…..YOUR ON YOUR OWN. What you don’t know or understand is of no concern to the American Red Cross. Easy come and just as easy if not easier to get rid of. Blood is all they value and nothing else concerns them except your signed signature on that consent form. The American Red Cross Consent Forms relieve them of all responsibility for anything that happens to you. Further more The American Red Cross makes claim to this statement on their web site “The Apheresis Donation Process: Safe and Easy”. I experienced a post complication and know from actual fact. I see now that means to them. “Safe” is safe in the fact that they are completely immune to any liabilities. The “Easy” is the ease at which they can dump you as if you were a bad plague. They let their risk people handle the unethical dirty work. This has got to be the American Red Cross’s highest magnitude of injustice in subjecting a loyal thrusting donor to such a personal degrading violation.

    Out of sight and out of mine your nothing but a liability. I say to you the American Red Cross, shame on you. The way in which you take the around about way of tricking the average donor into signing the consent form is unfair, unethical and dishonest. If the apheresis procedure is as safe and easy as you claim it is on your web site. Then why in heavens name does the donors get stuck with the liability. You ask far to much of us and return nothing back to the donor if they fall victim to a post apheresis donor complication.

Comments are closed.